Functional Academics Vs Rote Academics: Dr. Pradnya Wakpainjan

Pradnya pakwaijan

Learning is a continuous process that takes place at every moment of an organism.A child learns many things by observing things around. Learning can be defined as relatively permanent change in behaviour. Learning can be in formal, informal or non-formal ways or modes. In any formal education system learning experience is designed systematically so that learning takes place.

It is observed that today learning is associated with memorizing content which is seen through the statements of parents like that child is so brilliant that he/she chant shloka or table etc. I strongly feel that this situation is alarming because rote learning limits the thinking of an individual and ultimately develops a culture of silence.  In the context of globalization, we expect a child to be a creator, problem solver and not simply a rote learner who just mugs up things without understanding.

Generally, the term academics is used to describe things that are related to work done in schools and universities. It mainly involves studying and reasoning rather than practical or technical skills. Unfortunately, today academics is related to marks and therefore thinking, reasoning are neglected and parents, students are running after marks.

Rote learning is a memorization technique based on repetition. The idea is that one will be able to quickly recall the meaning of the material the more one repeats it. Rote learning helps in getting good numbers so it has become very popular. The other aspect that propagates rote learning is the type of examination system. The examination system does not allow child to exhibit his/her understanding, thinking, reasoning and creative thoughts.

On the other hand, Functional academics is the academics functionally designed to teach skills, which allow each student to succeed in real-life situations at home, school, work and in the community. Functional academics can be understood by the work of David Asubel on meaningful learning.

The theoretical approach of meaningful verbal learning was developed by Ausubel in the 1960s as a contrast to rote learning. Ausubel made the very important distinction between rote learning and meaningful learning. Every subject has concepts which are the base of the understanding of the knowledge of the subject. The clarity in concept certainly helps in developing meaningful learning and understanding complex knowledge. For example if child understand the concept of addition then will also understand that the multiplication is repeated addition. Meaningful verbal learning involves the functional internalization of the verbal material presented to learners and occurs through progressive differentiation and integrative reconciliation. The basic assumption of meaningful learning is that concepts are organized hierarchically in the mind and that the most inclusive concepts at the apex subsume progressively less inclusive and more differentiated sub concepts. Asubel further mentioned in the subsumption theory that the individual’s cognitive structure is the principle factor which influences learning and retention of meaningful new material. The cognitive structure means the organization, stability and clarity of knowledge in a particular subject. In other words, if child has some related knowledge about anything then can make connections with the new content or knowledge presented but his or her earlier knowledge should have clarity and stability.

Dr.Pradnya Wakpainjan

Working in the field of teacher education from 23 years. The main focus is on researches in the field of Education which includes the range from developing training packages for enhancing teacher competencies to the development of online modules to integrate pedagogy with technology. She believes that scientific thinking of the students should be enhanced. The scientific person is the one who thinks rationally is always free from prejudices and therefore contribute to the societal development to a large extent. The most important prerequisite for it to break ‘culture of silence’ which is possible only through the scientific thinking.


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