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Cramming - A popular curse of education in Nigeria

In education, cramming is the practice of working intensively to absorb large volumes of information and facts in short amounts of time. It is usually done by students in preparation for upcoming tests or exams, especially at the last minute. Educators discourage the use if cramming because the hurried coverage of material often results in poor long-term retention of material and leads to mediocrity. Rote learning is

I feel it is very important for students to memorize some math facts such as multiplication tables in younger children. The issue that often arises here is the method applied in the teaching process. I know it’s very important for primary school children to learn math facts and spelling words so that when they get older, they can easily pass through tests which often helps in building confidence. However, memorization or cramming does not have to come just by pure recitations which does not allow for critical thinking and in depth understanding.  For example, multiplication tables can be learnt using templates of  classic nursery rhymes and even rap songs. Spellings should be taught using visual aids because the brain is known to absorb what is seen often easier.

 Cramming is becoming quite common among students at the primary, secondary and post-secondary level and I consider it a negative study technique. The pressure to perform well in the classroom often results in the cramming method of studying and Students are often forced to cram after improper time utilization or in efforts to understand information shortly before being tested. Improper time management is usually the cause for last-minute cramming sessions, and many study techniques have been developed to help students succeed instead of cramming. Active learning and critical thinking are great methods which emphasize the retention of material and facts through the use of class discussions, study groups and individual thinking.

For a long time, cramming or memorization has been used and is still used in many classrooms but they now belong in the past. Teaching students what to think instead of how to think keeps generations at a higher level of ignorance which seems to be apparent in our society these days. If children are made to think through active participation, they develop conceptual and analytical skills needed to help them excel in secondary and post secondary school.

“We forget those things if they’re just learned for the sake of the test.”
Neurologist Judy Willis of Edutopia goes even further saying that over-emphasis on rote memorization over-stresses the brain and detours our thinking away from the ‘rational, prefrontal cortex’ where higher-order thinking occurs.

We need to re-strategize our teaching methods. Technology is fast creeping in on us and we have to go with the tide. Two key strategies: ACTIVE LEARNING AND CRITICAL THINKING