Speaking Up for Rote Learning

An interesting article from the BBC posing many of the questions that we have asked as educators about the relevance of rote learning in the digital ‘information on tap’ world.

BBC Article on Rote Learning

I find the overall conclusions of the article appealing. Somewhere along the way, it worries me when people try to reduce education to simplistic generalizations. Yes, differentiation is a good thing (some of the time). Yes, group learning is a great thing (some of the time). Yes, learning through enquiry is a good thing (some of the time). However, we probably have to conclude that if you’re advocating for everything in the classroom to be done one ‘new way’, suggesting that everything that went before is always universally bad, then it’s safe to say you’re over simplifying.

I believe one of the potentially biggest benefits to flow out of incorporating some rote learning is the child acquiring awareness that not everything in life is meant to be easy, exciting, ‘fun’ or effortless. As said by Seth Godin in the article I posted earlier today – it’s important that our young people learn the value of hard work and effort. Rote learning can play a part in that learning.


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