In Praise of Off By Heart

A Chemical Orthodoxy

I recently shared to Facebook Tom Bennett’s excellent dismantling of a ridiculous video which did the rounds about a year ago. A teacher friend duly shared my post, which was critiqued by a friend of theirs (a complete stranger to me). One of the things they wrote was:

“I’ve also seen the other side of things, super disciplined classrooms, endless textbooks and worksheets, learning by rote, and they haven’t always worked and haven’t necessarily encouraged meaningful learning.”

There are a lot of assumptions here that I disagree with as well as a blatant mischaracterisation of the type of classroom that Tom would advocate (what is an endless textbook?). But I wanted to focus on one aspect –  “learning by rote” – and dwell on two examples from my life of where this is relevant.

Generally by “rote learning” people mean when students learn something off by heart completely devoid of…

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About teachingbattleground

I teach
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