Greetings world citizens. As we all know, when America is in trouble the world is in trouble. In my previous post I provided one potential plan to lift America’s floundering education system from the bottom of the cesspool, but it is possible, however unlikely, that the plan may not work. Breaking lesson plans into engagement fragments so the students don’t have to focus or sit still for too long might have unexpected consequences. Also, while highly improbable, it is possible that demanding teachers attend to an impossible number of tasks at once while being highly critical of their performance and paying them peanuts might discourage highly intelligent, educated, or talented people from choosing a career in teaching. I know it sounds crazy, but it’s best to be prepared.
The first solution to America’s education woes was a sensible one. In the movies, when someone proposes a plan B it’s usually a radical long shot. My plan B is no exception.
Let’s imagine that repeating something, either out loud, or in thoughts, increases the likelihood that it will be remembered or believed. I know there’s no evidence to suggest that this is true. It doesn’t work for advertisers. It’s a useless political campaign tool. When the Bush administration kept mentioning Saddam Hussien and Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda together, over and over again, nobody got confused about the relationships between them. It’s suspected to be a useless strategy. No one would ever repeat a new phone number to themselves when paper, pen, and computer weren’t around.
Did you know fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent or more on car insurance?
Humor me. Let’s pretend that repetition is the first step towards remembrance. Even if you don’t entirely understand what you’re repeating, it may be possible that repetition is the first step towards remembrance. I know it’s hard, but try and believe that repetition is the first step towards remembrance. Go with it.
Repetition is the first step towards remembrance, but remembering isn’t learning.
America would likely struggle if we equated remembering with learning.
Repetition is the first step towards remembrance, but understanding is the first step towards retention. Creating understanding is harder than making something memorable, but that doesn’t mean that remembering is an impediment to understanding and I posit that, in some rare instances, remembering might make understanding a concept easier. It’s a big leap of faith, but that’s the way plan Bs work.
If we imagine repetition is the first step towards remembrance, there is a way to infuse a repetition of useful tidbits into the daily lives of average, American youths. Has anyone ever heard of commercials?
Imagine if, at the end of every commercial, a useful factoid was repeated. If, after encouraging people to taste the rainbow, Mars inc. blurted, “The squared length of the hypotenuse is equal to the sum of the squares of the remaining two sides” a few people might remember in time. Skittles could even incorporate a prism into its logo. After all prisms split light, and they have angles. It’s all unavoidably relevant to the product.
Why let Mars rake in all the public service kudos? Other companies owe it to themselves and to the American people to hop on board the factoid infusion train. Reese’s peanut butter cups, owned by Hershey’s, have an opportunity to cash in with their flexible slogan, “There’s no wrong way to eat a Reese’s”. Below is a rough sketch to infuse education with candy advertisement.
Here’s an idea for Reese’s:
Picture if you will, a middle school youth hunched over a ponderous tome. The youth is clearly agitated. He’s running his fingers through his hair in confusion. Finally, embroiled with academic frustration. He slams the tome shut. We see on its front cover the title impossible math problems. There is a package of four uneaten Reese’s peanut butter cups on his left hand side. He looks over at them and sighs.
His mother enters. “What’s the matter, honey?” she asks.
Son: “I promised myself I wouldn’t eat my Reese’s until I finished the polynomial assignment, but I can’t figure out this last problem.”
Mother: “Oh, let me see” She says while opening the tome. “No worries, this one’s easy. I’ll show you on our whiteboard. The book is asking you to multiply two binomials.” She points to the problem after it’s written on the whiteboard. “When multiplying binomials there’s a well known strategy. I’ll use a visual aid to help you understand.” She picks up his Reese’s. “You multiply the first terms together.” The camera cuts to a shot of her cramming the first buttercup into her mouth next to the product of the first step. “Then you multiply the outside terms together.” She eats the outside circumference of one of the middle buttercups next to the product of the second step. “Next you multiply the inside terms” She eats an interior circumference of the other untouched peanut butter cup next to product of the third step. “Then you multiply the last terms together” She crams the last peanut butter cup in her mouth next to the product. “Then finally, you combine like terms and simplify the expression.” She places the uneaten interior circumference inside the uneaten exterior circumference and consumes the remaining tidbits of peanut butter cup. “Problem solved!” Shot of solved math problem.
Final shot of son looking dumbfounded and aghast.
Cut to product placement and slogan reaffirmation.
Dramatic voice: “First. Outside. Inside. Last. Simplify. There’s no wrong way to eat a Reese’s”
The infusion can also extend beyond math and candy. Science and music go well together. It’s an opportunity for Rhapsody.
Here’s an idea for Rhapsody:
Scene of two young woman clearly enjoying some popular tune.
Woman 1: “This is great, but let’s turn up the volume.
Woman 2: walks over to her music player poised to turn the volume dial, but before she can, woman two grabs her wrist.
Woman 2: “No, what are you doing?”
Woman 1:”Turning up the volume.”
Woman 2:”No! No! No! That’s not volume; it’s amplitude, the measurement of wave crests. Volume is the measurement of occupied space. Let me show you.”
Cut to scene of house filled with people and a DJ with an arsenal of music selection from rhapsody.
Woman 2:”With the endless selection of music titles available at rhapsody, it’s easy to turn up the volume!” Cut to slogan.
Dramatic voice: “Volume, a measurement of occupied space. Turn up the volume with Rhapsody.”
An idea for Nike:
Finally no discussion of shameless advertisement would be complete without Nike. An immediate educational ad comes to mind. Math and science aren’t the only subjects that could benefit from corporate fortification. Below is a little prose that fits all kinds of inspirational sports related cinematography.
“at the park
on the court
in the bank
through the forest
beneath the sky
under the clouds
up the mountain
down the cliff
before the sun
with the rain
past your opponent
near your friend
Nike will take you anywhere
Prepositional phrases brought to you by Nike.”
Each of these prepositional phrases could fit all kinds of sports imagery.
These are just a few examples of how corporate interests could bolster public education.