Archivo del Autor: englishgençana

Learning through memorization

forgettingcurve Ebbinghaus.png

‘Forgetting curve’. Hermann Ebbinghaus (German psychologist, 1850-1909)

Throughout my grandmother’s childhood, learning was seen as a process of memorization, indeed she learned by heart every chapter of Mio Cid’s epic poem. However, a new era has arrived: globalization and internationalization have given value to learners that are always open to new information and opinions and can easily adapt to any situation. However, the big question is: to what extent is learning through memorization a valid method in this day and age?

To begin with, learning this way presents what could be seen as an advantage. Every student is given the same material and no difference can be found. This is understood by some as a positive aspect since everyone has equal treatment.

Be that as it may, this method is outdated and condemned by many educational offices and boards. The main reason is that it doesn’t stimulate any of the basic skills that learning should entail: curiosity, creativity and critical thinking to name but a few. Moreover, learning through memorization is based on the conception that intelligence is the ability to absorb knowledge. Nevertheless, intelligence is an addition of originality and perceptive observation as well as an organized and structured way of thinking.

In light of the above, the unpredictable and always-changing nature of life make learning through memorization an obsolete pedagogic method since it is necessary to give the student freedom of expression and the chance to investigate the world.

Alberto A.

You have probably been in the middle of an exam, head between your hands, trying to recall that vast amount of information that you tried to memorize the night before. I’ll tell you why you can’t recall it: because memorization does not work.

Now, I’m not saying it doesn’t have advantages: it can get you out of a pickle if you forgot to study the week before an exam, if you don’t go blank in the middle of it. Because that’s basically the only advantage memorization has. It’s a process that, if done incorrectly –like most people do-, never holds information in your brain for extended periods of time, so you may not even be able to recall things and blackouts happen more often than not.

The thing is, memorizing works at times, but it sure isn’t the most effective way, especially since people often do it wrong and try to cram everything in one night because they haven’t bothered to review from day one. Memorizing and studying take a lot of time. Learning in general does. However, there are better ways to learn, such as mental image mapping.

Paco S.



Still waiting for Godot?

godot.jpgCreative text based on ‘Waiting for Godot’ (tragicomedy in two acts written by Samuel Beckett, 1953).

Vladimir: Well? Shall we go?

Estragon: Yes, let´s go.

[They meet next day. Vladimir stares at the rising of the sun while a tear drops from his right eye]

Estragon: Well, it seems Godot hasn´t shown up.

Vladimir: I think we should wait until nightfall.

Estragon: Indeed, and when the moment comes, you know what will happen.

Vladimir: What!

Estragon: Don´t you remember?

Vladimir: Clearly not.

Estragon: [murmuring] how stupid can you be?

Vladimir: [stands up and begins yelling] O, now you´ve done it. Are you happy?

Estragon: What do you mean?

[Vladimir stares angrily at Estragon but decides it´s too early in the morning to start an argument. Hours pass quickly, and Estragon notices that Vladimir is getting nervous]

Vladimir: I can´t believe it´s noon already.

Estragon: You´re right.

Estragon: Look, I´m sorry for what I did before, it was completely out of place, you´re not that dumb.

Vladimir: [smiles] Thank you, you are not that annoying either.

Estragon: Did you bring the rope?


Vladimir: Yes, I did.

Estragon: It´s time.

Vladimir: Bring the rope.

[They start climbing the tree]

Vladimir: I think we should do it at the same time.

Estragon: I was thinking the same.


Vladimir: [sighs] It´s fine.

Estragon: [silently agrees]

Vladimir: Let´s make a countdown.

Vladimir and Estragon: One, two, three, …


Jordi L.

Pride and Prejudice have not left us

pride.jpgTitle: Pride and Prejudice

Author: Jane Austen

Publication date: 1813

Genre: Romance novel

Jane Austen was born on 16th December 1775, in Hampshire (Hants), southern England. As the seventh of eight children, she received a very complete education in the internship of Steventon, where kids were instructed and prepared for college. She wrote other books such as “Sense and Sensibility” and “Emma”.

“Pride and Prejudice” narrates the situation and problems that the Bennet family will have to face in order to keep their small fortune, with the help from a rich, singular man who falls in love with one of the five daughters of Mr. Bennet (Elizabeth).

The novel represents a fierce criticism on the social conventions and the big abyss that existed between classes at the beginning of the 19th century. In it we can find the protagonist determined to marry for love, but at the same time she assumes without drama the treatment that single women received, showing she was proud of being what she was… a woman.

I think this novel inspired many writers and even film directors to use women as powerful characters who become independent, strong and educated, having the possibility to succeed in life as much as any man.

Julia V.

What’s that smell?

perfume.jpgTitle: Perfume – The Story of a Murderer

Author: Patrick Süskind

Publication date: 1985

Genre: Magic realism, horror fiction

“Perfume: the Story of a Murderer” is a 1985 novel by the best-selling German author Patrick Süskind. It follows a young orphan born in Paris during the late modern times who has an extraordinary sense of smell that allows him to sense objects and things that other people could only imagine. It comes to a point when he doesn’t need his sight to guide himself around the city, as he easily recognizes the smell of everything around him. One day, he crosses paths with a virgin girl whose scent he’d never come across before and becomes obsessed with it. From then on, Grenouille begins murdering young girls with a similar fragrance in order to preserve them.

“Perfume” is a book that absorbed and fascinated me in ways others haven’t in years. I’d watched the film a few years ago but, either it didn’t succeed in capturing the novel’s essence, or I was too little for it to significantly mark me.

“Perfume” is written in a way that not only seizes your attention, but physically immerses you into the story too. There were passages where the different smells were so beautifully written that you thought you might be able to feel them in real life. I think my favourite element from the novel was Grenouille’s characterization. In my opinion, “Perfume” is more about his inner journey than about the serial killings, even if these are sold as the main focus of the story.

In conclusion, Süskind’s “Perfume: the Story of a Murderer” is a fantastic book that covered every expectation I had and managed to secure a spot among my favourites.

Elena A.


The Eyre inside of us

jane eyre.jpgTitle: Jane Eyre

Author: Charlotte Brontë

Publication date: 1847

Genre: Bildungsroman (‘coming-of-age’ story)

The book that I’m going to comment on was written in 1847 by Charlotte Brontë, a famous novelist born in England in 1816. The novel, called “Jane Eyre”, is one of her most renowned works.

The book tells us about Jane and her complicated life. As an orphan, she has a hard childhood, she also has to live with her poorly affectionate aunt. Then, when she becomes a teen, Jane goes to Lowood school, since she gets a job in Thornfield Hall, in which she had to serve Mr. Rochester’s daughter. Jane starts a relationship with this mysterious man until she discovers more about the secrets that the house and the family conceal.

It doesn’t come as a surprise that the main themes that Brontë develops are love and intrigue. The author also immerses us into the social organization of the Victorian Era, making us understand that it was a period characterized by an attempt to improve social organization, closely related with industrial and scientific growth. Those are some of the themes that make “Jane Eyre” one of the most representative in its period, but it’s necessary to say that Brontë includes other essential themes in her literature, such as feminism, depicted by Jane’s attitude toward Mr Rochester.

Moreover, the book teaches us a lot about the context and the author’s background, as “Jane Eyre” is a kind of biography that Brontë wrote about herself. I think what makes the book keep you hooked is the perfect combination between romance and mystery, which allows the reader to be always interested in the following scene or chapter.

Aitana V.

Who is The Thin Man?

thin man.jpgTitle: The Thin Man

Author: Dashiell Hammett

Publication date: 1933

Genre: Detective fiction

The Thin Man is a detective novel written by Dashiell Hammett which, published in 1933 by Alfred A. Knopf. It is important to highlight that this novel was the last one he ever published before his death and its great success led to a six-part film series which also had a lot of popularity back then.

This book, Hammett´s fifth novel, is a return to first-person narration, following Nick Charles as he tells the story of a case he´s forced to take on while vacationing, six years after he left the Detective Agency. The story is set in the early 1930s in Manhattan, New York City, where Nick investigates the murder of Julia Wolf, the secretary of Nick´s old client, Clyde Wynant.

I would say I have found this detective novel a very exciting one from my inexperienced point of view on the genre, since I have paid careful attention all along the storyline, which is the reason why I´d highly recommend  this book to any reader.

Miguel C.

“I’d just be the catcher in the rye and all” (Holden Caulfield)

catcher in the rye.jpgTitle: The Catcher in the Rye

Author: J.D. Salinger

Publisher: Little, Brown and company

Genre: Social novel

Year: 1945

Pages: 214

“I mean, how do you know what you´re going to do till you do it? The answer is, you don’t. I think I am, but how do I know? I swear it´s a stupid question.” This is one of the hundreds of thoughts young Holden Caulfield has. Many people feel drown to him because he feels alienated, lonely and responsible for kids who are still innocent and not fake, unlike teenagers and adults. He makes a critique of society from a very identifiable point of view.

Holden Caulfield is a young adult from a rich family. He doesn´t seem to fit in any of the schools he goes to, and at Christmas he decides to go home after he is expelled again. While he wanders around New York many situations happen, which trigger deep critiques about how fake everyone seems to be, or how aloof he is from other people… except for children. He thinks of himself as the one who has to protect children from losing their innocence. He pictures it as a rye field next to a cliff, and he has to catch the kids who get too close to it, making himself become “the catcher in the rye”.

María M. A.