Funny expression that, “learning by heart“. Have you ever thought about its meaning?
I found this online:
How does it happen we say we learn things ‘by heart’ instead of ‘by head’? It’s because of a mistaken analysis of anatomical functions made by the ancient Greeks. They placed the seat of thought in the heart.
Now hold on a moment! Who’s to say the seat of thought is not in the heart? Let’s give those Greeks some credit here!!
Learning by heart. Or I could say, with the heart.
You’ll also be familiar with the expression learning ‘by rote’. It hasn’t been made clear to me what ‘rote’ means (route?) but the implication of this form of learning is that it’s done through constant repetition.
We all know that once we have learned how to ride a bike, thereafter we never forget how to do it; we can go for ages without practicing and then when a bike appears we know exactly how to ride it. Hey, I hadn’t been on a bike in years and then I rode one around Seville – a challenge in one of Spain’s biggest cities but at least they have cycle lanes (-:
Learning to ride a bike is done through constant repetition, by rote, and after that it’s an instinctive action. You might also do it with the heart, which I imagine would make you a particularly expert bike rider rather than one who just knows how to do it.
These homesvhooled girls from the USA learned Spanish through watching Speekee repeatedly. That experience allowed them to mimic one of the songs to a very high standard:
Compare that to the original:
Well done girls! And here they are again reproducing scenes from various Speekee episodes from Season 1:
Now, what do you think? Did the girls learn all that Spanish by rote, by heart, or perhaps both ways?
Learning by rote implies a certain necessity. Learning by heart impies a love for learning itself.
[I think those Greeks were onto something].
It has been my privilege over the years to have seen so many children enjoy learning Spanish with Speekee. The magical world of a child lends itself to equally magical ‘heart’ learning, so you can imagine what a joy it has always been for me to see children having fun and learning with Speekee at the same time..
What experiences do you have with your own child’s learning?
Jim Porter is a co-founder of Speekee®, the most comprehensive Spanish for kids learning program ever to appear online. Jim’s work includes this homeschool Spanish curriculum and this homeschool Spanish curriculum (not a misprint – he wrote two!)
Jim began his Spanish learning journey in 1990. He has been a language teacher since 1994 and he lives in sunny southern Spain with his two bilingual children. Loves it! More…