Yesterday, we had some relatives over for a late Christmas gathering. During the meal, my niece complained about how she didn't like having to memorize stuff in high school just to forget it all after the test. My nephew complained about having to memorize math formulas with no explanation. Their conclusion? Memorizing stuff is bad. I asked them whether remembering things is bad.
Since my son was in Kindergarten, teachers have been trying to convince me that remembering knowledge and mastery of skills are not that important. My niece and nephew see real problems, but come to the wrong conclusion. My nephew wants an explanation (and he many have gotten none), but assumes that the skills would all be easy if he first had understanding.
Then the topic switched to class participation. I was surprised to find that they were all for it. My niece, in particular, liked being able to discuss topics with others in the classroom. She said that she learned better that way. I asked about shy kids and the concensus was that this would be good for them too. Unfortunately, our conversation followed a common route - it went all over the place and was used mainly as a vehicle for expressing their own opinion. All teachers and no students. They had the confidence to express their views, but little to back it up.
It could be that many kids are not shy. They just don't want to waste their time. After a short time, I changed the subject.