Reconceptualising memorisation for effective language learning practice

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This article examines memorisation as a form of language learning practice subject to conflicting attitudes in academic discourse, that is, receiving both support and criticism. While some scholars recognise it as a sensible tool for learning, others view the efficiency of memorisation with scepticism. While some researchers offer empirical evidence of learning accomplishment through students' practice of learning by heart, others argue that there is no way to isolate memorisation as a success factor. Stimulated by such controversy, the discussion raises the question: If the impact of a learning process has been viewed with doubt and disagreement, why does it continue to persist and survive in the practice of numerous language learners? Pursuing this inquiry is important because it helps unpack the teaching learning tension. Although some teachers criticise memorisation as a superficial approach to learning, many learners enjoy it in keeping track of language knowledge and skills. In addition, this article will look at what exactly should be regarded as helpful in memorisation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-45
Number of pages17
JournalThe European Journal of Applied Linguistics and TEFL
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Memorisation
  • rote learning
  • learning strategies
  • task design

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