Content-type: text/html; charset=utf-8 ~ Stephen's Web

Re: Things You Really Need to Learn

I assume you are referring to this paragraph:

"Thus, when learning anything - from '2+2=4' to the principles of quantum mechanics - you need to repeat it over and over, in order to grow this neural connection. Sometimes people learn by repeating the words aloud - this form of rote learning was popular not so long ago. Taking notes when someone talks is also good, because you hear it once, and then repeat it when you write it down."

But - it's not wrong. When you need to remember somethi g that is disconnected from the rest of your thinking, and which won't come up again in the natural course of things, you need to use rote learning.

Somebody gives you a phone number, for example. Repeating it to yourself five or six times will increase your liklihood of remembering it (whjich is exactly why people do such things). The old idea of tying a string on your finger works the same way - it brings the same thing to mind over and over again. And - yes - this is how worksheets work as well.

Do I therefore recommend worksheets? Not in the main. In general, the learning of disconnected facts by rote is not a good idea, because it works against the other things you want to do, like creating things and communicating with others. Rote learning is a focus on a single point of learning, when you could at the same time be engaged with multiple points of learning.

But sometimes you just want to drill. When I played darts, I would throw at the board, over and over. Just to drill.

But here's the other thing about worksheets - it's one thing to opt to do drill type exercises for yourself, and quite another to be told to do them. When you have not entered into such a practice voluntarily, you do not drill with the same emphasis you might otherwise. I think the personal choice to drill is important. Which means that worksheets must remain only an option, and not something assigned to students.
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