|When you tell people about rote learning, this is, more often that not, their reaction.|
Thursday, July 31, 2014
Occasionally when I teach students, you tell them to do certain things but they will counter by saying that they won't do it now but will remember to do it during exams. It's always those seemingly small and minute details like writing some key words in their answers, or writing a + or - sign before their answers. It seems that this minute details are so painful for them to do it on a routine basis that they will only do so in very rare and sanctified time like during exams.
It seldom work out this way. From what I see, if they forget to do so in routine practice, they will forget to do so in exams. Examination time doesn't immediately make the students aware of things that they always forget or neglect to do during practice time. But students don't see it, and no matter how often I remind them, they will use the same counter argument that they won't do it now, but will remember to do so during exams.
Okay, so I'll let them do what they want. But I'll give them a test and tell them to treat it as one, showing all that is necessary to secure the marks in their answers. 9 out of 10 will forget to do the things that I remind them about and that's the opportunity for me to come in and tell them that their counter arguments do NOT work and they are better off sticking to it even during routine practice. You can't just tell them straight away - you'll have to do better to convince them that their beliefs don't work. You have to show them the folly of their ways, so to speak.
I believe that if you don't practice stuff all the time, when it comes to the real deal, and when you really need to use it, you'll fumble. There's value in repetition but alas, the youngsters these days believe only in efficiency and just-on-time delivery (meaning that they study just the day before the exams).
We need to practice a thousand times so that when we really need to use it, we can snap our fingers and get right to the zone. You train so many times that your body and mind precedes your conscious thinking, thus building what they call 'muscle memory'. You do without thinking and you feel it. You think with your guts. Your instincts. So many phrases to describe a person operating in the zone but only one way to achieve it - just plain ol' practicing.
This might sound old fashioned especially in these times, but I welcome rote learning. The ability to memorise chunks of texts in this fast paced world is not a disadvantage. There's value in sitting down and committing will power and discipline to practice the same questions again and again. However, some say this runs against the trend of creativity in the education domain.
Nonsense. There is nothing to create when there is nothing in your mind. So how do we get stuff in your mind in the first place? Rote learning, of course.