A Victorian-Style Rote Learning System, Pt. 4
Of course, rote learning systems for multiplication tables are a little different from poetry. You’ll probably use multiplication your entire life; you won’t necessarily need to pull out Shelley’s “To a Skylark” at any particular moment. Donald R. Tippit, principal of Junior High School 164 in the Washington Heights area of Manhattan, articulated what many educators are saying: “Instead of memorizing, we emphasize mastery of concepts and skills.”
But there are some hidden and important benefits to rote poetry learning systems for children.
According to Michael Knox Beran, whose “In Defense of Memorization” was featured in The Manhattan Institute’s City Journal, rote learning systems offer distinct cognitive benefits.
The memorization and recitation of poetry and prose dates back to the ancient Greeks, who “discovered that words and sounds–and the rhythmic patterns by which they were bound together in poetry–awakened the mind and shaped character.”
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