Check out this little report, in which a neuro-scientist explains that the characteristic of an expert is less mental activity, not more.
You become an expert once you gain automaticity around the elements required for expertise.
This used to be called memory, but since ideology has piled a lot of polemic smear on this term in the educational domain, we now call it automaticity.
For the last few decades, teachers were taught that memorizing was "stupid" and that students only needed the ability to think critically and creatively.
I'm all for critical and creative thinking, obviously (who in their right mind wouldn't?). The real issue is, though, that you need a large foundation of underlying knowledge to produce good results. This foundation is largely built through review and repetitive processes. This foundation is automaticity, and it's one of education's primary responsibilities to equip every student with this toolbox.
Automaticity is a term used in neuroscience to describe the moment when you no longer have to think to retrieve knowledge, it's hardwired into your mind, so you can use it effortlessly and easily, without hesitating.
A huge selection of building blocks--in storage and readily available--is needed if you want to build a castle. All the materials have to be within easy reach if you want the architecture and design to convince. If you're busy finding or making up the building blocks "as you go" and "in context" your castle will start to look more like a shack.
Unfortunately, this is what a large groups of ideologues have been preaching in education, and I'm happy that bit by bit we get scientific data from neuroscience that proves that the brain actually works quite differently. Not logically, not rationally, and creatively in a different way than is commonly projected:
It becomes more and more evident that humans most effectively create skill through automaticity, by forming subconscious patterns.
Vocabulary more than anything else requires automaticity to be of value.
Our goal at LearnThat Foundation is to help learners build automaticity quickly and effectively.
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Before you know it, you'll be using these words confidently, without any effort.