Remembering to Learn
Although drill is a four-letter word to educators, here is conclusive proof that children should be drilled to automaticity in their number facts. By having their number facts at their fingertips, the children's brains are freed up for higher-order thinking. In a terrible irony, progressive educators try to justify their abandonment of drill by saying that a focus on drill and memorization detracts from conceptual understanding and higher-order thinking. Here are some examples of their drivel.
And we needn't stop at number facts either. There are other facets of math, like many formulas and algorithms, that benefit from memorization to automaticity. In language arts, children benefit from memorizing things like spelling and punctuation, leaving their brains free to focus on the content of their writing. In history, dates should be memorized, in science, formulas, and so it goes.
Quoting from the article, "while the study focuses on math, Mann Koepke said cognitive development in general probably works the same way. After all, kids who match sounds to letters earlier learn to read faster."