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Why Students Shouldn’t Just Memorize

“Memorizing is a strategy for taking in material that has no personal meaning.” – Ellen Langer, “The Power of Mindful Learning.”

Mindfulness is a recently important topic in learning. Mindfulness is being conscientious, being aware of environments, and paying attention to conversations as well as body language and feelings. By being mindful, students are able to relate their learning experience to their own life. As they do this, information takes on meaning and becomes memorable.

By simply trying to memorize something, words are simply flow into and out of the mind. Memorization is often necessary, and strategies like “House of Memory,” where words are assigned a place in an imagined house, can help. Repetition of words is also important.

However, words that have meaning are much more easily memorized. By understanding the context of a word and relating it to a learner’s life, words have more meaning and are more memorable. In essence, active learning and trying to understand context is necessary. For example, reading as well as creating sentences based on words, rather than using flash cards to remember words, although Japanese culture has trained students to memorize fairly well.

What’s also important is having learning goals that can be used to guide learners through appropriate contexts and situations.

By using s variety of active learning techniques, students and teachers will find more success in education.


Source: Mindful Learning and Second Language Acquisition" by Houston, Tony, Turner, Paige K. – Academic Exchange Quarterly, Vol. 11, Issue 1, Spring 2007 | Online Research Library: Questia.

Image: Weliveonanisland.

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