The Urban Word of the Day today was “cerebral bulimia,” defined as “binging and purging of the brain.”
Doesn’t that sound familiar? It calls to mind all the useless studying in which facts are crammed into temporary storage in the brain, dumped out on paper (or computer) for a test, and promptly forgotten. This can, of course, include math algorithms and formulas.
How different it is when, like an athlete learning what works best for her body, we learn the fundamental concepts behind new ideas first. Then the algorithms and formulas follow logically. It can even be possible to recreate them if they are forgotten. This builds long-lasting skill and “muscle” to handle even the most difficult challenges.