Rote learning

What is rote learning?

Rote learning is defined as a memorization technique which is based on the concept of learning through the process of repetition. Memorization refers to the process by which information is received, encoded, stored and then recalled in the brain. There are numerous forms of memorization and memorization is used in a countless number of contexts, including school education, the workplace, and everyday activities and even everyday functions. Rote learning is a particular type of memorization which focuses on the concept of learning through the use of repetition, or the repeating of information or knowledge until someone is able to recall that information from memory. Rote learning is especially popular in the field of education and learning; early education, in particular, often uses a significant amount of rote learning to teach students to remember specific information.

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What is rote learning used for?

Rote learning is a very common type of learning technique which is used around the world. It is used for any task which requires repetition. Even everyday memorization, such as remembering a phone number which was just given, can be done through rote learning techniques such as repetition. It is particularly helpful for, and thus popular for, the quick memorization of something which can be repeated numerous times until it can be recalled easily from memory.

Rote learning techniques are most well-known when they are used in a school setting, where information must sometimes be quickly processed, memorized, and then utilized by students. For example, rote learning techniques are commonly used to teach young children multiplication tables. In this context, children are usually required to repeat the multiplication tables—often out loud in class, such as “Two times two is four, two times three is six,” and so on—and then later tested on their ability to have memorized these tables through repetition. There are countless examples of where rote learning may be used in a classroom setting. Biology students often use rote learning techniques to memorize the names of anatomical parts in humans and animals; foreign language students use repetition to remember the meanings of certain words; English students use repetition to remember lists of vocabulary words; history students use repetition to remember the dates and outcomes of certain wars—and so on. It is important to note that although rote learning is commonly used for the memorization of lists of information, such as multiplication tables or the years of certain wars, it can also be used for non-linear information as well. For example, the memorization of boiling points of various liquids can also be done using one or more rote learning techniques, even though the boiling points are not necessarily connected like a list of vocabulary words or multiplication tables.

Rote learning can also be used outside of an educational school setting. Because repetition allows for fairly easy memorization, at least for those who are easily affected by rote learning techniques, it is a common staple in the industries of live theater as well as film and television. Theater requires the memorization of numerous factors which may comprise a theatrical production; lines, songs, music, dance steps, and stage movements must all be memorized by an actor for a successful theater production. Theater rehearsals often involve the use of one or more rote learning techniques in order to allow the actors—and any other people involved in the production—to memorize their lines, music, dance steps, and so on. Many theater companies have weeks of rehearsals—a rote learning technique which involves continued repetition of lines, stage movements, etc.—before actors perform in front of an audience. The film and television industries are much faster paced than that of the theater world. Actors in the film and television industries must often memorize their lines only a few days or even a few hours before they are due to perform in front of a camera. In this context, rote learning is best used over other forms of learning or memorization because it has consistently been shown to be the quickest way to memorize information.

In other fields, such as mathematics and sciences, rote learning plays a similar part to the rote learning used in elementary schools and other pre-college educational settings. Mathematicians must often remember hundreds of different formulas, which are much easier to learn through consistentrepetition and other methods of rote learning.

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Some studies have indicated that rote learning is not always a conscious process. Conscious rote learning occurs when an individual or group is deliberately and specifically repeating information in order to remember it for later use. But some recent studies have shown that it is possible people unintentionally use rote learning techniques and memorize information which they did not specifically try to memorize. For example: The performance of the American National Anthem is a common feature at countless sports events in the United States. Most people attending these performances, as well as those watching them at home through the television, would likely report that they know the lyrics to the American National Anthem when it is being performed by the singer. Line mistakes or alterations are easily picked up by live audiences and audiences at home, and often dissected later on through news or online commentary. However, it is unlikely that the majority of the people who report that they know the lyrics to this song have deliberately sat down and used rote learning techniques, such as verbal repetition, in order to memorize it. The reason that they do know the lyrics of the song is through unconscious rote learning: they have heard the song so many times that the lyrics have been memorized, just as if they person had deliberately sat down and repeated the lyrics on their own. This type of unconscious rote learning may even occur on a regular basis; television theme songs, movie or television catch phrases, popular songs—and so on—can all be memorized without any deliberate action on the part of an individual who has memorized the song.

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