• TheDMonline.com Staff Member?
  • Log In
Share |

The potential benefit of 'Schoolhouse Rock'-style learning

BY EMILY CEGIELSKI | Special to The DM

This past weekend I rode home with one of my newfound college friends.

We were blasting music and grooving down Highway 6 when she turned to me and yelled that we were about to “break it down.”

“This next song’s a CLASSIC,” she said.

At the first note, I knew I had great taste in friends.

Shortly after I heard the start of an ‘N Sync song blaring through the stereo, Justin’s voice came alive as my friend and I belted out the words.

“Dirty Pop.”

“Bye Bye Bye.”

We couldn’t stop ourselves.

We claimed that as children of the ‘90s we couldn’t be blamed for knowing every single lyric to every single song.

Old habits just die hard.

That is when it hit me: Schoolhouse Rock got it right.

I probably remember one-tenth of what I learned in high school, but I can recall the words to hundreds and hundreds of songs.

Even songs that I haven’t heard in about a decade come back to me as soon as I hear that opening beat.

My road trip proved it.

But why?

Why can I remember musical nonsense but not the year of the start of the Civil
War?

I don’t know and I’m not about to research it, but it’s obviously a given fact that most people remember things put to music.

With this new realization, I cannot help wondering why classes with an emphasis in memorization aren’t taught by song.

I can’t help believing that every single person in my political science class would have aced our last test if we had a catchy tune to hum along with the information.

I know I would have loved biology if I could have done some internal choreography to a song about mitosis.

And to reinforce this idea, I have to admit the only things I remember from American History are the preamble to the Constitution and how a bill becomes a law.

How did I learn these?

School House Rock!

So what if I have to sing the preamble before calmly repeating it without lyrical intonation?

Everyone loved sing-alongs in elementary school, but for some unknown reason high school left singing to choirs and drama clubs.

A stigma was placed on easy learning.

High school teachers and college professors sometimes get too caught up with “sounding smart” as opposed to making sure we remember what we need to know.

Okay, before you jump down my back, I know that singing in classes is not always practical for subjects such as math or a foreign language.

But honestly, my roommate had to memorize all of the oxidation numbers for the periodic table the other day, and I bet she would have loved a song to help her.

When I was studying for my journalism test the other day, I would have been elated to have a song to hum that kept track of trends in media.

And who wouldn’t kill to see his or her professor tearing up the charts instead of droning on about something we really don’t care about?

Class attendance would skyrocket, I’m sure.

So did I completely solve all of higher education’s problems with my one road trip?

Maybe not all, but I came pretty darn close.

Okay, maybe not even close.

But my idea is still pretty good if you stop to think about all the songs you know, especially old songs you had no idea you still remembered.

So if there is a lesson to be learned, professors, start putting your lessons to music!

I’m pretty sure no one will complain about karaoke as homework.