CREATIVITY AND ROTE LEARNING.
Syed Mustafa Ahmad
There are many terms associated with education. Information, knowledge, learning, pedagogy, etc., are relevant to education. The best definition says that education is a systematic learning . If we focus on the word “ systematic”, it becomes clear that any experience in life can be a process of learning, provided that a person is ready to learn it. In other way, it can be understood that the whole life is a process of learning, if there are suitable educational environments. But the point that is worthy to discuss is that education has been narrowly understood. Learning some basic facts without knowing them deeply is not education. Some persons are genius in memorizing the facts or things. They easily win the day when it comes to rote-learning during the exams. The persons who are creative in nature, have to lose the day because they can’t write an answer without having a solid proof. In this atmosphere, rote learners with no intellect, get passed with flying colors while those who want to know things deeply and develop their own thoughts, are left behind. They can’t do anything more but wait for the divinity to interrupt. What are the causes responsible for this? How can a genius person loses the day while another person with no intellect becomes the master? There should be apparent flaws in the process of learning that make it possible to have this degeneration. It is not an issue of some years. But centuries are required for this malaise. So, I would like to throw some light over the basic causes responsible for this. First is our educational system hates innovation. The word “ innovation” is not in our dictionaries. Status quo has been the order of the day for a long period of time. Every year, barren minds are produced. They follow the centuries old ways of living, understanding, learning, etc. Their minds don’t see light at the end of the tunnel. The light that welcomes innovation. Innovative minds always look out for the solutions that can break the status quo and place the society on the path of innovation. Rote learning is abhorred. Its nature is questioned. Evaluation takes place. It is this evaluation that makes a learning society. Second is that our educational system is dominated by exams. We only have this parameter to judge intelligence of students. The creator of exams has advised that exams should be ended sooner or later. It is not the best way of judging any person’s ability. Exams halt the intellectual process of a learner. He or she is not in a position to see above the existing exams. His or her mind gets habitual to looking at the same process that has not left us for centuries. In this situation, rote learning rules the roost, creativity has to fail and beat its head against the wall. Third is that our educational system is corrupted. Money does what creativity doesn’t. Learning some questions without understanding them provide an opportunity to qualify an exam. It doesn’t matter whether a student has understood it or not. In this situation, creativity still waits for answers to soothe his or her nerves. He or she hates the existing situation. In this atmosphere, he or she follows others or is forced to stop learning and become intellectually barren, with no purpose of living. Creativity hates corruption while rote learning loves it. In this tussle of opposite things, it is rote learning that wins because the worldly set up is administered by rote learners. How can they accept creativity? They call it an alien concept. Fourth is that we need instant gratification. Results should come in a day. We hate long term planning. We invest for days and want result in days as well. We are impatient. In this atmosphere, rote learning will give the best results. It is because as mentioned above, they are under the supervision of those, who themselves are the products of short term gains. When a rote learner passes an exam with distinctions, he or she is praised by one and all. In the same breath, when a creative person doesn’t pass an exam for three years due to his or her creative or curious nature, he or she is not taken into account by the society. They generally are hated. Their views are rejected. They are called useless persons. Fifth is that we never bother to look at the divine plan. If a divine book is received without knowing its deep meaning and its relevance with the present, it is of no use to recite it. When the Creator hates rote learning, how can the creation of His feel delighted in rote-learning. He wants us to understand what you are reciting. Why have I revealed these books to you? Which way is to follow and which not? Who is your friend and foe? These things are discussed in a holy book. But still we love to recite it for the sake of good deeds and never bother to ponder over the real objective of revelation. Sixth is materialism. Rote learning is the basic foundation of materialism. When this is the case, why it is necessary to hack behind the ways of creative learning. Enjoy the moments of rote learning and the best will come in the form of materialistic things. What can we expect from this thinking? Every where there will be donkeys ruling. Creativity will hang its head in shame. The need of the hour is to understand students and plan accordingly. It can be prove beneficial at the end of the day. We have suffered a lot and cannot afford to suffer more in the future. Let us pledge that there should be a reasonable change on the ground level. Hope good sense prevails.