In in his Viewpoint (TNT, 3-29), Tacoma School Superintendent Art Jarvis assumes basic knowledge is best learned through critical thinking. He criticizes teacher Mike Jankanish’s viewpoint (TNT, 3-23) that claims learning core subjects is best through rote memorization and like methods.
Both men are incorrect in some areas. Jankanish assumes that core knowledge is best learned in one or two ways, and memorization is core to this. Jarvis assumes core knowledge is best learned through open-ended critical-thinking process.
Not all students learn through rote or critical thinking. Each has to be used together to build that sound foundation of knowledge. Students must have mastered the concepts, but they also must be able to apply those concepts in multiple ways.