The Problem with Rote Learning (1 Viewer)

Kiraken

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Why would there need to exist rote learners in the first place? Just people wanting to take the easy way out and not learning content properly. If we want education to have its true impact and benefits on society, people need to be actually educated properly. Not told to memorise 1200 words and rewrite in 40 minutes.
To be fair, there are some things you just *have* to memorise

Like ATM I'm studying anatomy as one of my subjects in uni and a lot of it is just pure memorisation of where such and such is located and what it is called. Some aspects of certain hsc courses probably have similar parts to them. I don't think rote learning is inherently bad. However, I think rote learning entire concepts that have a logic behind them is inferior to critical thinking
 

GoldyOrNugget

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There's no contradiction there -- you can hold a belief about an objective matter. I might also believe that God exists, or that the roosters are better than the sharks (disclaimer: I actually know nothing about sport).
 

golgo13

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I haven't followed the thread but so far i guess everyone believes rote learning is bad and i would agree but here's my take on it.
HSC is a game.
As simple as the statement is, it is true. You do the HSC to gain entry you don't necessarily care about the concepts (most students anyway). Like i agree that it should be more concept based exams and there is a slow transition towards that in exams, but there's so many ways you can re-invent the wheel before you start changing the actual syllabus. I'm quite sure a few member here would agree that at some stage during the HSC they would of been thankful the papers were similar to what they had rote learn.
 

study-freak

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I agree that excessive rote-learning (i.e. beyond that required to learn the basic definitions, etc) is cancerous towards education, but I don't think the curriculum is in general at fault in creating rote-learning students. It's rather the way kids are brought up/taught/trained from early education - it's the attitude, I believe. For example, I always try to make sense of everything when I learn it, but I know some people are more than happy to just memorise the answers because they cbb and probably don't have passion towards the area anyway.

But the curriculum is indeed at fault in areas where kids are FORCED to rote-learn concepts that shouldn't be rote-learnt because they are impossible to understand with the students' current background knowledge. E.g. BCS theory in HSC Physics. These should be wiped out imo.
 

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There's no contradiction there -- you can hold a belief about an objective matter. I might also believe that God exists, or that the roosters are better than the sharks (disclaimer: I actually know nothing about sport).
But it's kind of redundant though.
 
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Sy123

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I agree.
I haven't been following this thread so excuse me if anything I'm stating has already been stated before.

When exams start catering start catering towards those who don't rote learn I'm sure students will alter their studying methods accordingly once they find that bluntly memorizing the syllabus won't cut it. Right now (lol, I'm still in my junior years of high school so correct me if I'm wrong) most of our exams don't force us to think critically- all they require is knowledge of the syllabus , which is easiest acquired by rote learning. So a student who comes into an exam after having only memorized the syllabus content before (doable in just a day) will most often (speaking from my personal experience) do just as well, and sometimes even better than a student who has spent their whole year paying attention in class trying to understand the concepts behind the theory. In cases like these it is quite off-putting to know that all this effort you've put in this subject has acquired you the same mark as someone who you know hasn't tried half as hard as you.
(oh but then there are those who actually love learning which is great and all... but when it comes to exams like the HSC where your future is at risk why spend ample time and effort trying to understand the basis of a formula when its application is entirely possible without it? )
Students won't give up rote learning for the sake of learning. They need incentive to do so , and what better way to do that than to construct our exams around critical thinking (I think this is already being done? I don't know).
You misunderstand the point of this thread, I never denied that rote learning can get you good marks for most subjects. The fact that this is true is WHY it needs to change. If students find out that rote learning will no longer help them, then they switch to understanding which is better for the purpose of education and better for society as a whole. There will still exist stubborn rote learners but in the end they should always get mediocre compared to those willing to learn.

The incentive to give up rote learning is marks - And to create such an incentive the syllabus needs to change/or the exam style must change. In English, 3 long responses in 2 hours will make rote learning seem a more attractive option. In Chemistry less emphasis on social impacts/socio-economics will greatly help people who try to understand.


I haven't followed the thread but so far i guess everyone believes rote learning is bad and i would agree but here's my take on it.
HSC is a game.
As simple as the statement is, it is true. You do the HSC to gain entry you don't necessarily care about the concepts
(most students anyway). Like i agree that it should be more concept based exams and there is a slow transition towards that in exams, but there's so many ways you can re-invent the wheel before you start changing the actual syllabus. I'm quite sure a few member here would agree that at some stage during the HSC they would of been thankful the papers were similar to what they had rote learn.
Again a misunderstanding of the purpose of this thread, I do not deny the truth of that statement. But that is the reason why it must change, it defeats the whole purpose of education.

Every time I get an exam paper extremely similar to what I have seen before, I am not happy. Why? Because I don't learn anything. And the exam then becomes piss easy and its hard for me to stand out.
 

golgo13

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Again a misunderstanding of the purpose of this thread, I do not deny the truth of that statement. But that is the reason why it must change, it defeats the whole purpose of education.

Every time I get an exam paper extremely similar to what I have seen before, I am not happy. Why? Because I don't learn anything. And the exam then becomes piss easy and its hard for me to stand out.
But then my argument changes to the idea are you saying then the exams should change, because if that's the case then its already begun as seen through the english papers. Education itself the process of learning but the exam at the end of the day just churns out a number it doesn't necessarily tell you what you have learnt. it tells people your ability to tell them what they want to hear. Also if the exams deviated too much from the norm it would produce wild answers which is good don't get me wrong but then again how would you be able to differentiate yourself if many others produced methods which are equally valid and good as yours
 

Sy123

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But then my argument changes to the idea are you saying then the exams should change, because if that's the case then its already begun as seen through the english papers. Education itself the process of learning but the exam at the end of the day just churns out a number it doesn't necessarily tell you what you have learnt. it tells people your ability to tell them what they want to hear. Also if the exams deviated too much from the norm it would produce wild answers which is good don't get me wrong but then again how would you be able to differentiate yourself if many others produced methods which are equally valid and good as yours
Yes English is starting to change as they are placing less emphasis on techniques and trying to combat the culture of rote learning, which is good, however the exam format still needs to change for them to achieve anything. 3 essays in 2 hours is too much. A 3 hour exam would be much better, it will produce much more deeper responses and stronger essays.
But Chemistry and Physics still haven't changed that much, still the same old nonsense.
The way exams should differentiate between students are the more different questions testing the student's understanding. As Trebla gave an excellent example on Trapezium Rule approximation. There is usually 1 or 2 marks at the end of every 2U and 3U paper that the large majority of students don't solve and this again differentiates between students. Examiners can play around with difficulty in many ways to differentiate between students.
 

golgo13

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I believe the time limit is fair, 3 hours becomes excessive although it produces better responses it would defeat the exam itself. Take the 4u math paper given extra times the raw marks exponentially increase but because it isn't people have to prioritise. To what you may think chem and phys are both adopting similar approaches you have to integrate the changes slowly, there are changes but there has to be subtle changes otherwise you get backlash like the 2011 3u math paper
 

Magical Kebab

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Well, don't be so stubborn on hating on rote-learning.

tbh, I cannot escape understanding. There has always been times where I had to embrace understanding.

But obviously that doesn't happen too often.
lol, its like reading a book blindfolded.
 

Magical Kebab

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To be fair, there are some things you just *have* to memorise

Like ATM I'm studying anatomy as one of my subjects in uni and a lot of it is just pure memorisation of where such and such is located and what it is called. Some aspects of certain hsc courses probably have similar parts to them. I don't think rote learning is inherently bad. However, I think rote learning entire concepts that have a logic behind them is inferior to critical thinking
i dont do any, but id assume thatd be the histories.
 

Magical Kebab

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Yes English is starting to change as they are placing less emphasis on techniques and trying to combat the culture of rote learning, which is good, however the exam format still needs to change for them to achieve anything. 3 essays in 2 hours is too much. A 3 hour exam would be much better, it will produce much more deeper responses and stronger essays.
But Chemistry and Physics still haven't changed that much, still the same old nonsense.
The way exams should differentiate between students are the more different questions testing the student's understanding. As Trebla gave an excellent example on Trapezium Rule approximation. There is usually 1 or 2 marks at the end of every 2U and 3U paper that the large majority of students don't solve and this again differentiates between students. Examiners can play around with difficulty in many ways to differentiate between students.
Not really...some can write quality essays in that time, some cant, hence that standard separates the retards from the ones who know their shit.
 

Sy123

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Not really...some can write quality essays in that time, some cant, hence that standard separates the retards from the ones who know their shit.
Proper essays need more time to be given, if you want a deep analysis and constructive arguments following an original thesis than you need more than 40 minutes. Otherwise they become a list of points.
 

theind1996

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Proper essays need more time to be given, if you want a deep analysis and constructive arguments following an original thesis than you need more than 40 minutes. Otherwise they become a list of points.
People will still rote learn essays, just better and longer ones lol. Your average prepared essay will be 1500 words rather than 1000.
 

Sy123

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People will still rote learn essays, just better and longer ones lol. Your average prepared essay will be 1500 words rather than 1000.
But as said previously there is a way around this through the questions that can be asked by the board of studies.
 

theind1996

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But as said previously there is a way around this through the questions that can be asked by the board of studies.
Yes, but even now, the better English students have contingency plans - preparing a few quotes and techniques for each other speech along with your prepared essay, so there's no way the BOS can get around that.

And I believe that creative writing should DEFINITELY be open to rote learning.
 

golgo13

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1500 if you've got the speed to write, but more realistically around the 1000-1200
 

Magical Kebab

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Proper essays need more time to be given, if you want a deep analysis and constructive arguments following an original thesis than you need more than 40 minutes. Otherwise they become a list of points.
depends what u mean by 'proper'. Obviously the more time u have to construct a coherent argument the better it will be, but i personally think 40 mins is sufficient.
 

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