Rote learning messed me up as an Adult
So, if you have ever been to school in India, you would have probably heard some of these statements- “I have mugged it all up, now I just have to go for the exam and vomit it out”. “I answered the question word-by -word”. “I studied cove to cover, I will definitely pass.” This happens because across boards and state lines, we’ve only been subjected to rote learning in India. But truth be told it kinda pretty much messed me up as an adult.
As opposed to other countries, our teachers didn’t give us pop quizzes, there were no debates and discussions. Literally all I did in my school was come in, read out of a text book highlight some paragraphs, and basically note down what was going to come for the exams and write down key notes. Rote learning as a sole source of education has pretty adverse effects on adults, who let’s face it, coasted through their schooling years by memorising some facts and some dates.
What primarily the Indian educational system focuses on is rote learning, which means learning with repetition. So, you learn a piece of information and you keep repeating it till the time you learn it, and then you write down. So, these are test, in most schools, where you will just learn the information, produce it in the paper, and in most cases, students have forgotten it by the next semester. As compared to this, we have meaningful learning or some may call practical learning which has to do with learning by doing assignments or project work, by going to museums, by doing science experiments, or by interactive discussions.
It feels like Hunger games no matter who wins, you are still losing. Now for a person like me sometimes it is so difficult to sit in the class. I find the class under stimulating. There are three kinds of learning styles, auditory, visual and kinaesthetic. A lot of people, like me who have a kinaesthetic learning style, they do best when they’re doing. So, they put in the best while doing a project work, on exploration, on tasks where they have to do an experiment, go and look out for information. For a lot of them, rote learning defeats the purpose.
Rote learning primarily caters to the left brain. So, people with the right brain, primarily who are creative, who are intuitive, they don’t fit in under the realm of rote learning. So, because of this some students’ self-esteem is really, really low. All through out their school life they are made to feel either average or failure. This leads to people reaching out to a stage where they want to drop out of the education system since they feel that they cannot survive this system. The rote learning system does not really prepare adults for the real world. In fact, a lot of people end up feeling like imposters.
We’ve been told that right now in school/college you will do well it is when you pass out you will know how tough it is going to be. The very reason behind this is in school/ colleges we are taught to mug up, and grasping things is our superpower. A lot of people do well in real life when their social and emotional skills are highly developed or they have been worked upon. And rote learning takes away from that, as compared to meaningful learning, which allows us to interact on projects, do problem solving, learn to co-operate with others, be assertive, find your won way, which rote learning doesn’t focus on at all.
In our current education system by the tine the students are about 18, or maybe even earlier like 5-16 they start sensing a lot of disillusionment. They feel like they’re already tuned in, because of the pressure it puts on just cramming information. There was once a time in school, where I legit mugged up my mathematic sums that I thought were really important and I thought I could just re produce them in the paper the next day. My paper went okay, but I felt a huge sense of disillusionment about how prepared I was for the exam I had to take. I really wondered if this was the way forward.
We have started mistaking that those kids who do well in the exams are the intelligent kids and the others are average or week. And it’s a huge myth. Everybody who does well in exams is not necessarily intelligent. They are only good at mugging information, cramming whatever is provided to them. What I am trying to say is the narrative of who we consider intelligent needs to undergo a change. We see examples of kids who may have not necessarily be children who have topped the classes but are really doing great in their lives.
Ideally, our educational system requires on overhall. There needs to be an environment in schools, where kids get to learn real life things. Get to do them in real world. Get to do projects, assignments, visual learning a whole bunch of things. Other than going to class, looking at a text book, mugging it up and topping the exam and not knowing how to survive the world.