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Creativity and memorization are both important but if I had to choose one I would choose creativity. It is easier for me to learn material with a creative spin to it. Memorization, honestly, can become quite boring although memorization skills are very important and essential.
We remember what we want to remember. Both short-term memory and long-term memory have uses in the classroom, just as they have in real life. I remember my social security number in long-term since I know I will need that info forever. The phone numbers I had in college and in moving around the country with my military husband? Not so much. They are discarded along with the directions around each of those towns...no longer need them, making room for other knowledge.
The classroom is no different. Creativity is HUGE in helping with long-term learning that will stick with the kids since when you're having fun, you tend to remember it. However, they still need to memorize the parts of speech, literature terms, etc. which they will use in their academic life and on standardized tests...and maybe even on Who Wants to be a Millionaire. :)
I would choose creativity because I think the breadth of it's uses are broader than memorizing. With creativity, I can look at problems from a wide variety of perspectives. With memorization, I'm limited to the facts.
I have an example that's actually the opposite of that experienced by poster #4 above. When I have students that have not memorized their multiplication tables--but are very creative--they often demonstrate the capacity to be better "mathematical thinkers" than the peers who can rote memorize. The creative students can approach a multiplication problem--any problem--from a wide variety of different mathematical strategies. In contrast, the "memorizer" may be limited (if we're truly thinking either/or here) to just the memorized facts. If that student encounters a problem formatted in a slightly different way, or happens to forget an algorithm, he may struggle a lot more than the student who can creatively use many strategies.
Both are important, but for different reasons. For example, sometimes I teach math and have some students who have not memorized the multiplication tables. They cannot achieve any kind of math creativity until they are able to master this most basic of operations through memorization. Similarly, while I am not all that big on "date" oriented history, the fact of the matter is that unless one knows when the Reformation took place or when the Gutenberg press was invented, making a connection between them is impossible. Memorized knowledge is not deep knowledge, but it is a kind of knowledge that may be used as a springboard for the making of new connections, which is a form of creativity the human mind is meant to achieve.
I believe more in creativity. Even though I was a good student, I do not really remember things that I learned in high school. What I do remember is the sort of skills I learned over the years -- how to read and understand and think. I don't know if this is creativity, but it is certainly more important than trying to remember many facts because students will inevitably forget those facts unless they are reminded of them in later years.
Both have their uses, but in terms of the long term retention of my subject matter - history - creativity always works more effectively.
As I tell my students, memorizing has its place - you have to learn the alphabet before you can make words and sentences, but creativity is much more thought-provoking and involves much higher level learning processes. That being said, as a teacher I often feel like I have little creative energy at key points throughout the year.
I enjoy doing things that require use of creativity and innovation., and therefor if I had to choose between doing work that requires use of creativity or memory, with all other things being equal , I would go for creativity. But unfortunately in life all other things are generally not equal and we must consider so many other factors in choosing the work we do. think the most important consideration is the objective to be achieved by the work.
Different objectives may require different work to be performed and the type of work influence the the extent to which memory and creativity need to be used.
Both are important, but creativity may even help to keep in mind some complicated issues. One can say that they are complementary.
Memorizing is the basis for almost all forms of education, even social requirements such as remembering names, times, dates and so forth. You don't learn multiplying or dividing numbers from instinct, you have to memorize tables of numbers. Every class no matter how creative it is requires memorized data for analysis whether written or in any test format.
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