Glenrich International School

Shift from rote learning to holistic approach.

EDUCATION has been a keystone of success in life for generations. As our understanding of learning and education evolves, so should our methods of educating and teaching our children. On that note, the government finally took the initiative to abolish rote learning from the system by adopting a new national curriculum. It is a praiseworthy step as the earlier approach failed to generate enough curiosity among the learners and keep rote learning at bay, ultimately restricting the scope of creativity.

The shift to a new method has become the talk of the town now, as most parents are confused and anxious about it. As an individual who has worked in the education sector for a long time, I can tell you that rote learning has not been helping any children, especially in modern times. Bangladesh is transforming to keep pace with the fast-changing world and the education sector must adopt new methods for the economy to succeed. The economy will only grow when we, as a community, evolve and rote learning will not allow our children to grow, especially in the era defined by technological supremacies and artificial intelligence.


Learning should always be a two-way process where children actively participate. However, this was not the case in rote learning-based approach as it prioritises memorisation of information over conceptual understanding. Doing this restricts the opportunity for healthy, creative discussions among children and teachers. Children will only exhibit their innovative ideas when they are motivated and encouraged to speak up about their perspective, not when they are asked to memorise concepts without understanding them because they need to pass examinations. When the actual two-way process of learning takes place, it also helps improve students’ critical thinking skills. Critical thinking skills have become a must soft skill as they will enable our children to succeed in all their life endeavours.

Rote learning allows little scope for practical application. The foundation of learning is to develop conceptual understanding. Unfortunately, that is not aided by rote memory. Children cannot use ideas in real-world settings if they do not have a clear understanding of them. Memorisation can only help people to a certain point. After that, it has no value. Memorisation limits children’s ability to learn and understand concepts fully. Students have to engage in meaningful learning to make the practical application possible. The hands-on learning approach will help children learn and understand concepts clearly and will motivate them to participate actively in lessons. The combination of understanding concepts clearly and critical thinking skills will help the children tackle numerous problems and think creatively.

In the rote learning environment, students are seen memorising facts and spewing them out in the examinations. After that, they tend to forget most of what they have learned. Unfortunately, in rote learning, scores are the yardstick for gauging students’ intelligence. However, it has been repeatedly proved that students’ scores have nothing to do with their intelligence. Moreover, the rote learning system enforces a one-size-fits-all approach, assuming that all students retain and learn information the same way. However, we all know this is not the case; not everyone learns or retains information the same way.

The time has come for us all to understand that education is a multi-faceted journey that goes beyond memorisation, a one-size-fits-all approach, and exam scores. We must realise that for the betterment of our children’s future, we should nurture a deep understanding of concepts, critical thinking skills, and creativity. We should emphasise a holistic approach that combines traditional methods with innovative teaching. A balanced education will prepare students for the challenges of the modern world.

In a holistic classroom, children will feel supported, allowing them to focus on learning. They will be encouraged to ask questions and participate in classes actively. Developing effective communication and motivational skills enables students to attain confidence, increase their willingness to engage in learning process and enhance academic achievements. The holistic approach will promote improved relationships between students and educators, strengthening the school community. A nurtured and strong school community makes children feel valued and understood, which will positively affect their well-being and academic success.

Holistic education will also encourage children to understand and appreciate diverse perspectives while cultivating respect and compassion for others. Developing empathy and understanding of diversity is crucial for children in the modern world.

When a child attends a school that embraces holistic education, parents and guardians can see various positive outcomes like enhanced relationships with educators and the school community, improved confidence in academic abilities, increased respect and compassion for others, heightened communication and motivational skills, and a deeper understanding of the world and its diversity. The approach not only fosters academic progress but it will also cultivate essential values like resilience, respect, and responsibility.

Rote learning is an archaic approach and will not help our children to succeed in life in the modern world. So, parents should be patient with the new national curriculum as it is too early to make any judgement. Moreover, the government needs to ensure that the educators and staff are adequately trained to follow the new curriculum. The schools that are already implementing holistic approach for imparting knowledge could offer necessary guidance in this connection.

The experience of following a holistic approach for years and the challenges faced during the implementation could serve as a guiding principle for thousands of teachers working in the educational institutions throughout the country. For instance, some schools are committed to nurturing and empowering students to realise their full potential. In a holistic approach, every child gets valued regardless of the unique needs. The most profound impact of the holistic approach is its focus on lifelong learning. When we instil the love of learning and skills needed to attain knowledge independently, children get better equipped for the opportunities and challenges they will encounter throughout their lives.

Education is not about memorising and passing examinations but about preparing people to thrive in an increasingly complex and interconnected world. The world will continue to change at an unprecedented pace, and shifting towards a holistic approach is a promising sign.


Dr Shivananda C S is the principal of Delhi Public School Dhaka.


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