A Victorian-Style Rote Learning System, Pt. 1


A Victorian-Style Rote Learning System, Pt. 1

With all the attention spent in classroom learning systems on problem-solving, collaboration, inter-personal and other 21st century skills, is there a space for good old memorization skills as well? Some educators think memorization continues to merit inclusion in their learning systems.

Take Daisy Goodwin, organizer of Off By Heart, a Victorian-style rote learning competition in the UK. Over 1,000 schools have signed up for the competition so far, which will see primary school children reciting poems such as “Daffodils” by William Wordsworth, and “The Owl and The Pussycat” by Edward Lear. Organizers are hoping to reproduce the same success that the BBC’s spelling bee competition, Hard Spell, saw with its 100,000 participants in 2004.

But what’s the purpose of a learning system that has students memorize poetry, or anything else for that matter? (See the next post.)


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