Chris Baird


In Jeremiah 31:34 the LORD declares, “No longer will a man teach his neighbour, or a man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest… For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more” (The NIV Study Bible, 1995, p.1170). It is not the intention of this paper to enter into a theological discussion as to whether or not God is capable of forgetting; however, at very least He chooses the metaphor of forgetting to display his forgiveness for his people. This seems to conflict with a commonly held negative stigma attached to forgetting. It has long been the case, specifically in the classroom, that remembering is considered a positive activity while forgetting is considered a negative one. It is the purpose of this paper to question this assumption by consolidating research done on multiple advantages of forgetting as well as many disadvantages connected to remembering. The discussion will begin with a glimpse at the direction our world could be moving towards in terms of collected memory, an emerging world which brings with it many problems that seem to be solvable only through intentional forgetting. Keeping in mind the theoretical disadvantages of complete memory, one must also recognize the flaws of memory today as well as the possible dangers that memory poses. Last, the research will be made applicable to the classroom and methods of forgetting will be proposed in order to benefit student-learning. This discussion is leading one towards the final conclusion that, at specific times, forgetting is beneficial, ethical, and necessary for advancing student learning.