What’s the difference between remembering and memorising?

...to the real.

Memorisation is an active process.  Remembering is passive.  At least this is my inexpert claim; I would like to hear other people’s thoughts, based on what they’ve read.

Ah distinctly I remember, it was in the bleak December…


In this line from Poe’s ‘The Raven’ it would make no sense for the narrator to be remarking ‘Ah distinctly I memorise…’  Not least that it would rupture the astounding internal rhyme and carefully measured meter of this masterpiece, with which I’m clearly a little bit in love, but it’s just not the right verb.  Memorisation implies an action or series of actions which we control, in an attempt to build the strength of a new memory.  While remembering is also an action, it feels rather more passive – do we have much choice over what we remember, and when?  Sometimes it almost feels as though it is something that is being…

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About Kris Boulton

Teach First 2011 maths teacher, focussed on curriculum design.
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