CHOICE: Rote or Real

Posted: May 28, 2013

I am most intrigued by how young people learn. In the most basic of terms, do young people best learn by rote or real experiences? In truth, I believe it is both; however, too often the rote experience is taking precedent, and real experiences are being diminished. To what end?

Rote learning is often by memory without thought or meaning. It is more often than not delivered using a passive lecture/telling style. Activities and operations are carried out by a teacher giving out information. As such, one may be able to “pass” by the nature of memorization but without understanding.

Real, authentic experiences in the learning process call for young people to actually and actively participate. This process provides fertile ground for deeper understanding and meaning beyond memorization. Skills such as critical thinking and problem solving are inherently involved in such collaborative and interactive experiences. Real experiences are student oriented — seeking and receiving information.

Rote — far too much in our current systems.
Real — far too little in our current systems.

The formula for success is compromised without a good dose of both. Camp is a part of the antidote: Real experiences!

Photo courtesy of Trailside Discovery Camp, Anchorage, Alaska