In the modern day, we have all but thrown repetition, aka rote learning, out of our education system, favouring understanding. However, could the two actually co-exist? How can anyone possibly fathom the deeper intricacies of a problem when they are still struggling with the basic mechanics? There are certain building blocks in every level of learning and life that must be learnt before they can be internalised and then exploited. Some things just have to be learnt.
Our minds need the basic facts, rules and applications of both literacy and numeracy drummed in so that they become second nature. How can you understand what you don’t know? If you have knowledge then understanding is just a heartbeat away. After all, knowledge is the beginning of understanding. How do we retain this knowledge except by constant usage? Are students required to write sentences to demonstrate they have an understanding of the meaning and usage of words? What has happened to the mental arithmetic of yesteryear whereby our knowledge and interpretative ability was pitted against the clock? How can students make intelligent conclusions, have informed opinions and enter into meaningful discussions if they are unsure of the meaning of words or the context of a passage? All of this understanding begins with the repetition of facts and so understanding follows.
Oh but repetition is so boring. Don’t I know it – washing, ironing, cooking, cleaning but it still has to be done and once done you can indulge in more exciting, challenging activities. I know how it goes with young children – you look, you say, you cover, you write and then you check or some such rhetoric. This just does not cut it. Mundane repetition can be innovative. There can be some humorous, even risqué rhymes, songs and dances invented to enhance the rote learning process. Games, both physical and static can be altered to suit the necessary learning. And this is the sphere that is being sadly neglected in schools and relegated to the home front. In order to make rote learning and practice fun and productive it requires a mix of madness and genius not to mention an arsenal of resources. Your personal tutor has these skills and resources on hand and will ensure that knowledge and understanding co-exist as the learning curve is conquered.