Essay: Learning and Education

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Personal Reflections on Learning and Education

My Visit to the Holocaust Museum

As a high school student, I studied world history because it was a required course for all students. I managed to earn a good grade because I have good reading comprehension skills and because I am good at memorizing information from books. However, a recent event convinced me that it had never really occurred to me that I might not have actually been learning everything that I remembered well enough to answer questions about on my course exams. I realized that there is a big difference between just memorizing information and genuinely understanding that same information. That lesson came to me unexpectedly during my recent visit to the Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC.

When we studied the history of World War Two in class, we covered the history of the persecution of the Jews by the Nazis before and throughout the war. In fact, I managed to achieve a very high grade on the semester exam and I distinctly remember correctly answering questions about such details as what the Nuremburg Laws imposed by the Nazis in 1933 consisted of, what the 1938 Kritallnacht event referred to, who Anne Frank was and where she lived, and that the total numbers of Jews killed by the Nazis in Europe was approximately six million.

However, until my visit to the Holocaust Museum, I cannot say that I ever actually understood what I had had studied about that topic. On one hand, it was something that I could reference intelligently in a conversation if it came up and I recognized references to it in contemporary news reports or comparisons. On the other hand, I am now almost embarrassed that my studying the topic well enough to answer basic questions about it never really caused me to think much about what I had studied. To a great degree, that changed for me after my visit to the Holocaust Museum and it also changed the way that I now think about other historical events that I studied but never really understood either. I realized that it is possible to study without actually learning and to learn facts without understanding what they really mean or what their significance is.

The displays at the museum were very graphic in some respects; in other respects, even they failed to really help me realize the significance of what I was seeing. Naturally, all of us were appalled at the pictures depicting naked prisoners marched at gun point to gas chambers and at the fake shower facilities disguising gas chambers, as well as at the piles and piles of human bodies stacked like wooden logs outside of crematoria. However, possibly because almost all of the pictures were in black and white instead of color, the events seemed almost too long ago to have the same effect on me as they might have if they had happened closer to my lifetime. That entire perspective changed for me after meeting Helen… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Learning and Education.  (2011, June 12).  Retrieved July 23, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/learning-education/9812207

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"Learning and Education."  Essaytown.com.  June 12, 2011.  Accessed July 23, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/learning-education/9812207.