Another dot in the blogosphere?

No pain, no brain?

Posted on: April 30, 2016

I noticed my son writing an English comprehension sentence over and over again. He said that his teacher required it for correction work.

This reminded me of decontextualised practice when students repeatedly write Chinese characters.

While the writing of new Chinese characters by practice makes some sense, it is only for memorisation. There is no contextual need or use for the characters. The practice is not meaningful.

Likewise for the repetitive writing of sentences for English comprehension. Writing and rewriting a sentence repeatedly is pointless in the absence of feedback, an awareness of one or more answering strategies, and a lack of context.

Both are like pretending to ride a bicycle instead of actually riding a bicycle. It only looks ridiculous when you are not the one doing this and can see it from an outsider’s perspective.

When I asked my son if he knew why he was doing this, he simply replied, “No pain, no gain.”

Then he added, “The only thing that hurts is my hand.”

What is the point of pain if there is no gain in the brain?

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