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Be that as it may, this method is outdated and condemned by many educational offices and boards.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.
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.