August 19, 2016

Understanding trumps memorising

IN Myanmar, students get through their exams just by memorising facts in each grade. Today’s schooling has been described as a system of learning without knowing, and the exam, as a way of answering without understanding. It is time that educators and students in this country learn that passing an exam is one thing, and being qualified to complete a grade is another.
Now that the government has vowed to reform the education system, teachers and educators alike should prepare to swim with the tide. The time is ripe for our country to exert great effort to plant the seeds of a dramatic reform in education. As the lifeblood of development, education is central to the political, social, economic and cultural health of our country.
Nowadays, with the learner-centred approach coming to the fore in the world of education, rote learning should become a thing of the past. The onus is on teachers to discourage students from monotonous recitation. In addition, they should encourage children to exercise their brains in order to fuel imagination and insight. Memorisation itself is harmless; but putting too much emphasis on memorisation can obstruct real learning.
Undoubtedly, knowledge matters, especially in this age of information and technology. A teacher trainer once said a head full of facts, even memorised facts, is better than an empty one. However, it should be noted that the facts we memorise are not half as useful as those we understand. In fact, education means more than learning facts out of a textbook. It means analysing those facts and gaining the ability to incorporate them into our lives.


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