Post by Peter Moylan
On Thursday, November 28, 2019 at 9:53:07 PM UTC-8,
Post by firstname.lastname@example.org
Is there a word for someone who is not very bright, studies hard,
but learns almost everything by heart without really understanding
Nerds and geeks are usually bright, if I am not mistaken. But is
there a word that describes the kind of student I mentioned.
I have a feeling that I once came across a word that had that
meaning and wrote it down somewhere, but I can't find a trace of
it. Maybe it was in a dream!
I don't think there is a word that meets all of your criteria, but
"plodder" comes closer than anything else in my vocabulary.
Another possibility, with a different meaning from "plodder", is
"crammer". A crammer memorises great masses of facts, but does not
necessarily organise those facts into a logical system the way a bright
student does. (The bright students see how those facts are
interconnected, so they have less need to memorise.) Cramming is
actually a pretty good strategy for passing exams. The downside is that
the knowledge often evaporates after the exam is over.
Something that always amazed me, as a university lecturer, was how many
students felt that what they had to learn the year before was no longer
relevant. An example that sticks in my mind was when I was teaching
second year electrical circuit theory, and reached the point of
introducing phasors. (A technique that uses complex numbers to represent
AC voltages and currents.) I started my lecture with "Now, I know you
know how to do arithmetic with complex numbers", and then noticed a sea
of blank faces. Nobody, it appears, knew what a complex number was. I
insisted that I'd seen the topic on the first year mathematics syllabus.
Still no response. Then someone said "Oh yes, we did that in Maths 112."
A few others remembered the same thing. But then someone objected "But
that was mathematics, not engineering." Somehow the students had picked
up the idea that Maths 112 was over and done with, and the things learnt
there would never be needed again.
Peter Moylan http://www.pmoylan.org
Newcastle, NSW, Australia
To me, cram means to do a lot of learning in a short time. You do intensive
work in a little time. To me, cramming doesn't connote that the learning
easier than what has been learned gradually.
are a strange breed though.