RIP Rote Learning

Strange are the ways of the world. If you belong to the middle aged generation, like I am, chances are that your schooling would not have been a cakewalk. I don’t know if anyone’s is though, but that’s beside the point. During my school years, which were much before we, as a society got sensitized to modern forms of education and child psychology, IQ was equated to the amount of memorizing skills that one had. Period. If you don’t know, you got to either remain standing inside or outside the class, get hit by the duster, stand up on the bench, hold your ears, and what not. The sky, and the imagination of the teacher, was the limit.

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Naturally, during those days I always had this idea built into my head that the ones who are good at rote learning have some special powers or recognition techniques(yes, because they have invariably looked at a question and while I’m still trying to place it in the appropriate channel in the brain, they have their hands raised). While all the processing goes on, maybe my face becomes devoid of all the blood or something, because the teachers are trained to recognize the look and would invariably ask the white-faced idiot, whose face will get all the color back, and more in a sudden rush.

But this experience has helped me critique these situations and I have developed my own theory in praise of rote learning. Personally speaking, if I could build a monument for such people, I would.

Axiom 1: Teachers cannot say no.

Teacher’s have no excuse to cut your marks in the exams. Why? This is because you would have written exactly what the textbook says or even maybe much better. If you do get fewer marks, you can promptly present the book as your defense. Case closed.

I have seen a lot of people haggle their way around like this. I wish I could be a part of that brigade, but maybe I was meant for bigger things.

Axiom 2: Apple of the eye

I’m yet to meet a student who doesn’t gloat on the opportunity to be in this position, where a teacher simply adores you, for your existence. You’re the most attentive in class, you learn your stuff, and you’re usually the first few to raise your hands to answer a question, not necessarily in that order though.

The teacher is also very pleased to hear an echo of what has been taught in class. If you’re the kind who has tried to explain the concept or the answer in your own words, you can be sure that it would have been interpreted as trying to be one up over her and the natural consequences would follow.

Axiom 3: Ability to walk on air.

Remember Shakuntala Devi? That woman could crunch numbers, man. If you have ever been in the company of people like that, you would understand my pain.

These are the people and I’m reasonably convinced that every class has one. These are in the modern day definitions, the nerds. They are the first ones to take the additional papers, have their heads glued to the papers, give a complex to people just by their virtue of existence.

Axiom 4: Confidence building

People who do rote learning are confident of themselves. They don’t go back and check their answers. They just know they are right.

The other part of the civilization worries about making a ‘silly mistake’ and has to go combing through the paper after it’s done.

So when you meet the next guy who tells you that rote learning is frowned upon, tell them the advantages. Of course these are just my views. You may agree or disagree with them at will. However, a caveat to it is that one should not ignore concepts and fundamentals – because that’s what they are and later in life, when your school and teachers are gone and you need to weigh things in life, your ability to understand would depend on how you studied your subjects.

Fortunately, there are tools and techniques available today that let you blend different forms of learning to ensure that you get the best of both worlds. While you have the instructional mode being provided in the schools and rote learning through guide books and tuition centers, a fresh relief is brought in by Zigya where apart from online NCERT solutions you get the advantage of a superior platform that brings the reins of learning in the hands of the student themselves. You get the answers to all questions related to you curriculum where you get to know how an answer ought to be articulated. It’s a learning platform that is poised to revolutionize the education industry through democratization of education. The content is provided free of cost in order to make it possible for one and all to access quality content across cities and geographies.

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