Toxic memory

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This is a stub of a missing page from "I would never send my kids to school" by Piotr Wozniak (2017). This e-book is being uploaded incrementally, and some pages are still missing. Please come back in a month or two. If the text is still not there mail me!

For the purpose of this e-book, I propose new terms to describe unwelcome memories formed in the learning process:

  • futile memory is memory of abstract concepts that have a poor grounding in student's current knowledge network
  • persistent memory is memory with high stability that is hard to displace via interference (e.g. established in early childhood)
  • parasitic memory is a persistent memory that is false and does not want to go away, i.e. it cannot be easily forgotten
  • toxic memory is parasitic memory that becomes associated with fears or anxiety

Futile memories are poorly formed and too irrelevant to be easily remembered, even with SuperMemo. Parasitic memories may be perpetuated by SuperMemo. Toxic memories are most dangerous as they may result in fear of learning, fear of schools, and, possibly, some learning disorders.

Users of SuperMemo may recognize futile, persistent, or parasitic memories as leeches.

The problem of toxic memory in education shows on a massive scale when students, under heavy pressure of deadlines, grades, and exams, use cramming without understanding. This can lead to many splinters of meaningless abstract memories that get associated with the state of anxiety. As a result, evoking those memories may lead to anxiety.

Math anxiety is a term often used for the phenomenon that comes with toxic memories related to mathematics.

The introduction of the term toxic memory is important as this type of memory may lead to a lifelong inability to learn seemingly simple things like multiplication table, sequence of the months, map navigation, etc. It is possible that dyslexia or stuttering, may in part be explained by toxic memory. It is also possible that strong toxic memories or a large number of toxic memories play a role in developing depression.

Toxic memory is essential for understanding that early and accelerated education can be dangerous!