Vedaaranya Heritage Arts and Healing Festival 2016

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Dr. Asha Pandey

Dr.Asha L. Pandey

Dr. Asha L. Pandey is the chairperson of the Sanskrit Department at Delhi Public School (R.K. Puram) in New Delhi, India. Her teaching and research is focused on broad topics which include Veda-related subjects and also on the role and view of Hindu women. She has authored and presented several papers in India and abroad.

Dr. Pandey is a recipient of the Maharishi Patanjali Rashtriya Shikshak Samman - (a National Award); the Vidyaliya Sanskrit Sewa Samman; and the Sanskrit – Samaaraadhak-Sammaan by the Delhi Sanskrit Academy. Dr. Pandey was awarded a Phd in Sanskrit from Lucknow University on " The Fifth Mandala of the Rigveda:A Linguistic study".

She is a life member and one of the founder members of WAVES (Wider Association of Vedic Studies), life member of FLO (FICCI Ladies Organisation) and Hon. Secretary of Shruti Foundation.
 
Rote-learning in Modern Context – Abstract - Dr. Asha Pandey
Rote learning is a learning technique, which focuses on memorization. The major practice involved in rote learning is by repetition. The very first words that a child learns from the mother are on “Rote-pattern”. In an effort to teach the child to say certain words like mother and father or the names of the objects, birds and colors, particular words are often repeated to him and the child is made to reproduce them again and again. Thus the very first learning of a child starts with “Rote”.
 
At the age of three or four, when the child starts going to school in nursery class, teachers often teach the child alphabets and numbers through interesting poems. They make the whole class recite the poems together. Reading and writing comes later. This collective recitation is fun and easy learning which a person always remembers.
 
Our evaluation system is also such that it demands to reproduce and write what the student has learnt. Which can be a method other than rote learning to reproduce and write the formulas, dates, names and definitions?
In fact, the most ancient literature of the world, a huge Sanskrit literature, has been kept alive through generations by the system of rote learning; the art of writing and printing came much later. In the Rigveda(7.103.5), there is a beautiful reference of pupils reciting like mandooks (frogs)-
 
Yadeshaamanyo anyasya vaacham shaaktasyeva vadati shikshmaanah,
Sarvam tadeshaam smridheva parva yatsuvaacho vadathanaadhyapsu.
(…like a student repeats the words after the teacher, similarly frogs copy each other by oral repetition……).
 
We still have village schools where students are taught tables through rote learning, as it is a quicker learning than other methods of learning. Sometimes the student does not learn the tables in a correct manner. For instance, sometimes instead of learning the table horizontally students learn it vertically and make the understanding very difficult and confusing. Learning the table through rote method in the correct way becomes helpful here.
 
Unfortunately, in modern education, rote learning is not given importance. By the introduction of CCE (Continuous Comprehensive Education) in the curriculum in India, the rote learning is fast disappearing. As a result, the student is not willing to retain much in his mind.
 
Those who criticize rote learning assert that it involves learning facts without developing an understanding of them. This lack of understanding makes it impossible to grasp meaning and apply and transfer the knowledge to other areas. They argue that memorizing the vocabulary without understanding the meaning of words is pointless. Rote learning has its minus points where the student does it without following and understanding the text. Otherwise, what is learnt through rote learning during the school always remains fresh in minds.
 
The best way of learning in modern context would be a balanced mix of rote learning with the understanding of the subject.
 
Dr. Asha Lata Pandey,Chairperson Sanskrit Department
Delhi Public School, RK Puram,New Delhi-22, INDIA