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Rote Learning

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Definition:

Rote memorization is a term for fixing information to your memory through sheer repetition. Rote learning is often viewed as bad practice, although some would argue that rote memorization is a necessary first step in learning some subjects.

Those who criticize rote learning assert that it involves learning facts without developing a deep understanding of them. This lack of understanding makes it impossible to grasp meaning and apply and transfer the knowledge to other areas. Memorizing vocabulary words is pointless, for example, without understanding how to use them in conversation.

Those who defend rote learning suggest that it is simply necessary in some areas. A young child learns the ABCs by rote learning, long before he or she knows why. The memorization of letters is a first step, and one that provides a foundation for the deeper understanding that follows at a later time.

Other occasions when students may utilize rote memorization:

  • multiplication tables
  • state capitals
  • foreign language vocabulary
  • sight words in elementary school
  • steps in a complex process or equation

Pronunciation:

ROTE

Also Known As:

Memorization by repetition

Examples:

Students of the Chinese language utilize rote learning to memorize thousands of non-alphabetic symbols.

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