Rote Learning Is Counterproductive

Guest blogger:George Pappas

The ability of a child to learn when inspired cannot be beaten. Of course, one can teach a young person by rote but, but this by definition is counterproductive.

rote, noun.

1: the use of memory usually with little intelligence

<learn by rote>

2: mechanical or unthinking routine or repetition

<a joyless sense of order, rote, and commercial hustle Ñ L.L. King>


1: learned or memorised by rote

2: mechanical

Though much emphasis has been placed on this way of learning in the past, choosing to teach in a way – only useful for passing tests and completing exams does little for the overall education of a child.

A love of learning is something that should be impressed at a young age. It is a facility that will enable a child to get through more difficult areas of study, simply because they’re enjoying the process. A child’s curiosity is a wonderful thing to behold – tapping into their need to know why some things are whilst others are not will provide the corner stone for their educational careers.

It is always good idea to create connections between what is learnt in the classroom and discoveries being made outside.

Be they present day or historical, reminding a child that the information they are learning was once absorbed by practitioners that went on to discover and create will provide context for their own areas of study.

Not simply learning for learning’s sake…

Science teachers are very lucky in this regard, in that the benefits of scientific knowledge are clear. The industry’s importance cannot be denied. Many of the leaps and bounds being made in technology, for example can be directly traced back to scientific research.

Ed balls is the UK’s current Secretary of State for Schools, recently questioned in regard to how best to enhance the interest of youth, he said:

“Science is one of our country’s great strengths and the jobs of the future are increasingly going to be hi-tech and science based. That’s why we need all young people getting excited, doing experiments and learning about science in primary schools and going on to study science in more depth at secondary school… Experiments teach children practical methods and skills and also how to test hypotheses, but they are also fun and challenging and make learning come alive.”

The benefits of experimenting in the classroom are unmistakeable the world over and it doesn’t have to be limited to the classroom either…

Together with your charge, you can create and follow step-by-step plans – planting and monitoring seeds for example. By using trial and error, whilst making notes about your collective discoveries – you can teach the children about the importance of research.

Play and explore

There are so many great toys that can be purchased to bring learning to life. Here are some examples:

1. The Telescope

The Telescope is a great place to begin this list. We’re thinking about encouraging children to consider the possibilities learning about Science will open up. What better instrument could there be for doing this, than one that allows the viewer to observe objects from a distance. As well as introducing ideas about astronomy – you will be able to remind your class that a whole world of knowledge is available to them, no matter how remote it may seem.

2. The Microscope

They’ll have so much fun setting their telescope up and taking it apart again at the end of every session. Many microscopes also come with books designed to advance learning and further understanding of the unit as a research tool.

3. Chemistry Set

Before they advance to high school, you can introduce chemistry as more than a concept. By allowing them to play with chemistry sets, you’ll be able to introduce the theatre of science. There are models to suit all age-groups and levels of understanding.

By allowing young people to utilise toys, gadgets and gizmos to aid learning – you’ll be providing them with a sense of ownership over their learning – reinforcing their potential to discover and create.

Author Bio

George Papas regularly contributes to leading scientific publications around the web. You can read his contributions on sites like Jeffrey Epstein and collegepuzzle.standard.

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