Let’s quit knocking the idea of repetition and memorization as a valid teaching tool. It is still one of the best ways to “cement” any concept or information into the human brain. Scientists practice “programming” the brain through repetition and most claim that the brain thrives on it. Everything we learn as a child revolves around repetition, from walking and talking to learning our own name and brushing our teeth. The astounding success of the AWANA program is based on repetition of verses, pledges, and songs. Is it any wonder that so many young people who attend church regularly and hear the Gospel over and over get saved at a young age? The new “philosophers” taunt Christians that this repetitive teaching is brainwashing. Of course it is; it is the foundation of most learning. Because the disciples never ceased teaching and preaching (Acts 5:42), many were saved. God has repeated Himself throughout the heavens and the earth (Romans 1:20) so that no one is without knowledge of God. Every society and philosophy survives on brainwashing. The basic precepts are recited; the grasp of concepts follows as the person matures. It’s just a matter of which philosophy you want your child’s brain washed with!
I’m quite baffled that education “experts” have thrown out memorization and repetition as a learning tool. Why does a musician repeat scales and play his recital piece over and over? Why not just wait until the day of the performance and play it then? Why does an athlete repeat and practice his race time and time again? Shouldn’t he save his energy and just run on the day of the event? Should the actor not strut and fret his hour on the stage? The audience can just suffer while the director reads every cue to him. Every expertise, whether mental, verbal, or hands-on, is learned by repetition. Yet the teacher who asks students to memorize dates for a history class or the Preamble to the Constitution is beset upon by unhappy parents who think this is too harsh or not good teaching. Ask that parent what procedures, processes, calculations, or manual repetitions he has to remember or perform on his job. How does he remember his phone number or his address, or his social security number? Obviously, he remembers by either the repetition of recitation or by use.
We repeat the same exercises in our daily lives without any hesitation and most of us like it that way. We even get aggravated when some of that repetition is interrupted-like when the garbage truck fails to pick up on its appointed day, or the key you turn in the car ignition fails to do what it has done over and over for many years. How much of our lives depends on machinery and items that repeat a performance thousands of times? If my computer keys fail to enter the letters I have always used in their familiar places and it suddenly decides that the keys will be entered in a different order, I’ll be unhappy and you’ll be confused! What’s so wrong with repetition and memorization?