When I was younger and in school, repetition annoyed me. I mean, I already learned this! Why do I have to do the same thing over and over? I already understand it. Go away, I wanna do something interesting. I GET this. I don't need to do it sixteen times.
And this was true. At least to an extent, and as long as it involved something interesting. I have a good memory. For things I find interesting. Which was much of the stuff in school, so I really didn't need to do things a dozen times to get them. Well, usually.
For things I don't find interesting though, not so much. Like people's names. Though that may not be interest, that may just be, I dunno. Something else. But when I noticed this the most in school was with languages. Like Spanish. I had bad teachers all the years I took Spanish, and never enjoyed it, and I'd rather be doing something other than memorizing vocabulary and so on, so I did the bare minimum to get by. And at this point, almost all of the Spanish I can remember comes from Sesame Street.
Now that I'm older, and given some of the stuff I've read, I understand the purpose of repetition now. You need repetition to etch things into your long-term memory, make the neurons grow to mark them. It's one thing to remember the general rule, the structure, that I'm good at. But the specifics can be another matter. In this case, with Arabic, which we've gotten past much of the basic structural grammar stuff, which is fairly easy for me, since it's practically math. Now we're into vocabulary and things, and I don't remember the words until I've used them regularly. So I'm making flash cards. Because for the past couple weeks, I've been not doing much on it at home, and as a result I've been struggling again. So I need the repetition. Need to drive it home and etch the words in my memory. Eventually, I suppose, they'll have meaning on their own, but for now the best I can do is connect them to their English equivalents. I have to think about what the words mean, and translate in my head to make any sense. And it's frustrating, because as I mentioned before, I look at Arabic words, there's just squiggles. There's no sense of meaning, like there is with English, before I even read it.
Maybe my brain's changed as I've gotten older, and doesn't absorb things quite so quickly. But on the other hand, I can recall the most pointless crap about many things that I find interesting. Like a mental database of what Magic cards do, but that's reinforced by seeing them regularly in play, repetition again. Whatever the case, it means I have to actually do some work, and not just sit here posting to LJ.Technorati Tags: Language, Mindscribbles, Me