As students maneuver their way through each school year, many find themselves memorizing the information they learned in class for their upcoming test. Memorization is how most students go about studying, but throwing a few flash cards in their face doesn’t really cut it. Over the years, there has been a large focus on memorization, it being fueled predominately by standardized testing. But in truth, it’s not as beneficial as one may think; memorization doesn’t promote critical thinking and communication.
A majority of students use memorization in school. They try to drill the information in their brains, hoping they won’t forget what they need to know for tomorrow’s quiz or Tuesday’s exam. In doing so, most don’t realize that simply retaining the information isn’t enough to fully grasp the concepts. Students need to be able to analyze the material and understand what they are being taught.
Another issue is that merely recalling information doesn’t necessarily provide proper application. Students need to interpret and make sense of what is taught to them in order to actually use them in real-world situations. It’s important for students to go through the “deeper learning” process that fuses context knowledge with external tasks.
Every student’s learning process differs even in the slightest, but they can’t develop knowledge by simply cramming information in their heads and later regurgitating it. This uniform way of learning has become like a product manufactured in a factory. Memorization doesn’t encourage higher thinking, it instead stifles creativity and students’ interest in learning.
The main way students try to remember facts is through raw rehearsal, but that’s probably the worst way to learn. It requires no real thinking and takes up an unnecessary amount of time.
Many students have under-developed thinking skills from just listening what they’re told and never asking why. Too many kids simply parrot what others have to say, instead of thinking for themselves because they can’t analyze situations on their own.
The main thing that separates memorization and learning is the grasp of meaning. When one memorizes a fact, it can become arbitrary; when one truly learns a fact, the chances of it weaving its way into your brain are higher.
Despite the negatives that memorization has developed, it’s still important to a student’s learning experience. When it comes to most subjects, a student must first retain basic information before venturing into deeper thinking. Memorizing has to come before the interpretation; students can’t think with an empty head. Even though memorization can be necessary, it shouldn’t be solely relied on.
The majority of students today have unknowingly developed an over-reliance on memorization. It caters greatly to short-term knowledge, while students need to be able to retain information long-term. Memorization has a contribution to an overall beneficial education, but shouldn’t be the predominant way to learn.
Elena Melikian // Staff Writer