Thoughts on ‘Rote learning’

Posted in Teaching on May 7th, 2019 by steve

IrelandExamples of rote learning. A student writing ‘menagerie lion’ while explaining what the equator is. A student saying ‘5.cerivisiae’ instead of ‘S.cerevisiae’ when answering a question on yeast biology …” (more)

[An Irish Blog about Education, 7 May]


Is there a role for rote learning?

Posted in Teaching on May 7th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“So here we are, then, back to work here in Maynooth for the last week of teaching. Or, to be precise, the last four days – yesterday was a Bank Holiday. With university and school examinations looming, it is no surprise to find an article griping about the Irish Leaving Certificate examinations …” (more)

[In the Dark, 7 May]


Age, Memory and Learning

Posted in Teaching on August 20th, 2018 by steve

Ireland“Today’s a big day for prospective students at Irish universities. It’s the day when the Central Applications Office (CAO, the equivalent of the UK’s UCAS) makes offers of places to students based the Leaving Certificate results that were announced last week …” (more)

[In the Dark, 20 August]

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Leaving Cert and rote memorisation

Posted in Teaching on August 16th, 2018 by steve

Ireland“Sir, – Your Editorial (‘A signpost, not a destination’, August 15th) says in relation to our two-year Leaving Cert course: ‘A new study by Dr Denise Burns of DCU indicates that rote learning (sic) continues to dominate over critical thinking’. It’s true that rote memorisation dominance exists. It’s also true that critical thinking shortcomings can be rectified easily – and ought to be, for level-playing field purposes – during the first semesters of third-level courses …” (more)

[Joe Foyle, Irish Times, 16 August]

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Maths, memorisation and understanding

Posted in Teaching on October 9th, 2016 by steve

Ireland“Much of the debate around the Leaving Certificate in Ireland centres on the issue of ‘rote learning’. Many commentators will express a desire that education should emphasise ‘understanding’, ‘critical thinking’ and ‘creativity’, the implication being that ‘skills’ like these can be developed in a way that doesn’t involve memorisation of some kind …” (more)

[educationandstuff, 8 October]

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Rote learning is failing science students

Posted in Teaching on October 13th, 2015 by steve

Ireland“One of the strongest predictors of a science student’s academic performance is their level of engagement with their learning. There is considerable published evidence showing how inquiry-based, student- centred teaching can create and sustain engaged students who are motivated to learn. All levels of our education system should reflect this …” (more)

[Shane Bergin, Irish Times, 12 October]

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Rote learning and education

Posted in Teaching on May 16th, 2015 by steve

Ireland“Sir, – Prof Ted Hurley highlights a key advantage associated with the accumulation of information, including rote learning of facts (‘The war on rote learning just doesn’t add up’, May 12th) …” (more)

[Brian Kelleher, Irish Times, 16 May]


Jobs that don’t exist and all that xxxxx

Posted in Teaching on March 19th, 2015 by steve

Ireland“Foolishly (I should be doing other things), I’ve just been watching some of the talks from the Global Education and Skills Forum summit being held in some exclusive resort in Dubai where everyone was sitting in nice white armchairs …” (more)

[educationandstuff, 19 March]

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Beyond the points race?

Posted in Fees, access and admissions on October 28th, 2014 by steve

Ireland“Sir, – The Leaving Certificate is not structured to allow for creative thought, rather it is a two-year cycle focused on a two-week regurgitation of what has been ‘learned’. Teachers are not to be blamed for this, rather it is those who structure education towards rote learning …” (more)

[Rory Whelan, Irish Times, 28 October]

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The Leaving Cert and ‘rote learning’

Posted in Teaching on August 18th, 2014 by steve

“Sir, – In line with what is now an annual event the ‘Girls beat boys to the honour in all but nine of the 59 Leaving Cert papers’ article (August 15th) will probably evoke the usual explanatory speculation …” (more)

[Joe Foyle, Irish Times, 18 August]

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Rote learning and fostering of memory

Posted in Teaching on May 16th, 2014 by steve

“Sir, – Daisy Christodoulou’s observations, as reported by Gráinne Faller (‘Maybe rote learning is not such a bad thing’, Education, May 13th) on the importance of rote learning and of the fostering of memory, are borne out by studies showing a clear correlation between working memory capacity and fluid intelligence …” (more)

[Anne Jordan, Irish Times, 16 May]


Rote learning is bad – and other myths about education

Posted in Teaching on May 13th, 2014 by steve

“There are all sorts of statements in education that are taken as fact: rote learning is a bad thing; the 21st century changes everything when it comes to education; we should teach transferable skills; knowing facts is less important now because you can always look them up. But what if those statements are wrong? …” (more)

[Grainne Faller, Irish Times, 13 May]


The Future of Third Level Education in Ireland – 4. The second level link

Posted in Teaching on April 22nd, 2014 by steve

“The media is full of discussion about the proposed changes to the grading scale to be employed in the Leaving Certificate, essentially back to the 1992 situation. So, I’m going to focus today on the link between second and third level, a link that we have never managed to get right …” (more)

[educationandstuff, 22 April]

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What the Minister could learn from Third Level

Posted in Teaching on March 25th, 2014 by steve

“The Minister is hell-bent on making an impact as he winds down his time in politics. He talks a lot about rote learning – in fact he tends to lecture us in an annoying kind of way on the evils of it …” (more)

[educationandstuff, 25 March]

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Focus on rote learning causes problems for Leaving Cert students

Posted in Teaching on March 5th, 2014 by steve

“The focus on accumulating CAO points causes Leaving Certificate students to struggle with the transition to third level education, a conference has heard …” (more)

[Dan Griffin, Irish Times, 4 March]

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Rote learning for the Leaving

Posted in Teaching on December 28th, 2011 by steve

“Sir, – The education specialists who composed a recent Higher Education Authority and National Council for Curriculum and Assessment report say: ‘The notion that Leaving Certificate questions are predictable has ‘resulted in reports of candidates memorising pre-packaged answers and essays …'” (more)

[Joseph F Foyle, Irish Times, 28 December]

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Rote learning for the Leaving

Posted in Teaching on December 27th, 2011 by steve

“Sir, – It is now widely accepted that the Leaving Cert motivates and rewards rote learning (Joe Durkan quoted in “Europe facing ‘1930s rerun’ if ECB fails to act”, Home News, December 15th) …” (more)

[H McBride, Irish Times, 27 December]

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Lotteries and the points system

Posted in Fees, access and admissions on May 11th, 2011 by steve

“Madam, – A university head, Ferdinand von Prondzynski, tells us (Education Today, May 10th) that the Leaving Certificate ‘isn’t fit for purpose’, ‘doesn’t attract any respect’ and that ‘rote learning is what examiners are looking for’. What Prof von Prondzynski does not explain is how his stark views are compatible with the fact that research shows that Leaving Certificate results, as measured by points, are strongly correlated to success, performance and persistence at university studies …” (more)

[Seán McDonagh, Irish Times, 11 May]

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In memoriam

Posted in Teaching on May 11th, 2011 by steve

“If you were to ask me whether I applaud the key learning methodology of many school examinations – learning by rote – I would argue strongly that it is counter-productive and dangerous and doesn’t prepare students for what will happen in higher education. On the other hand, if you ask me whether students should be encouraged to memorise some things, I would immediately say yes. Contradiction? Perhaps …” (more)

[Ferdinand von Prondzynski, University Blog, 11 May]

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US firms call for overhaul of Irish education

Posted in Teaching on January 5th, 2010 by steve

“American multinational employers have delivered a stinging attack on the Irish education system and called for a fundamental change to the Leaving Certificate points system. The US companies want problem-solving capabilities rewarded in the exam to encourage the innovation and creativity needed in the economy …” (more)

[Katherine Donnelly, Independent, 5 January]

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