I came across two blog posts with polar opposite views on rote memorisation today.
This blog post reconsiders the value of rote memorisation and repeated reading as a method of increasing understanding with each reading, where as this post includes rote memorisation as one amongst a whole list of things that don’t work for learning Chinese.
Funnily enough, I think both posts have some valuable ideas, and helpful suggestions. The key being that if you are seeking to memorise texts, it is for the sake of fully understanding them and being able to effectively create new content as a result, rather than being constrained to only ever repeat the original text.
Of all the comments I found these comments by Tyson to be the most helpful (especially his point #2 which is that you want to find a teacher who correct your pronunciation – a strength of all our teachers, and a weaknesses of many big group classes).
My personal experience of learning Chinese, and what we encourage all our students to do is to ignore any of the hype that says that you can be fully fluent in 3 months if you just buy this package, use this technique etc. Chinese is always going to be a hard language to learn, and there aren’t any foolproof short cuts, however there are lots of tools and techniques that work in different situations. We encourage all our students to experiment with all the different tools / techniques and find out what works for them given their personality and learning style.