Thursday, 1 March 2018

The beauty of learning facts feat Sherlock Holmes

I watched five seasons of this show called 'Elementary'. It is about Sherlock Holmes but set in 21st century New York. The show is only slightly above average but this is not a review. In the show, in typical Sherlock fashion, he solves cases using deduction. He calls it the science of deduction. Normal people can call it Critical Thinking. It is about finding patterns and finding clues in these patterns sometimes. 

Sherlock is a master at deduction. How does he do it? What enables such a higher level of deduction? Can my deduction technique also become above average? Those are questions that kept me busy while watching the show. In the show, he even trains one person to become an above average detective. 

One day, it hit me. Sherlock can deduce so much so quickly because he knows a lot of facts about a lot of things. His secret weapon is his ability to memorize facts and then applying those facts to real life problems. 

It might seem like a small thing. After all, it is just remembering facts. But the breadth and the depth of Sherlock's knowledge is mind blowing. It is the base on which his entire work is based. You can have the ability to find patterns and trends and anomalies in them but that won't help a lot when you don't know what you are looking for. 

Usually when you talk to someone who works in the education field or has an opinion about the education field, you will usually hear a generic, "I don't want children to memorize facts. I want them to learn real life application."  Well, I agree that memorizing facts should not be the be all and end all of learning but lets not ostracize it. Learning facts is as important as learning application. This is especially true for subjects like Math, EVS and Social Sciences. 

Any profession that you want to master will require you to remember facts or processes. Your memory will be as important as your analytical ability. Are you building both in students when you teach them? Are you focusing on both when you learn something new? 

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