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At what age would you expect a child to be asked to learn this off by heart?

(97 Posts)
Greythorne Sun 02-Dec-12 11:07:26

...and be asked to recite it in front of the class?

The Hare and the Tortoise

Rushing is useless; one has to leave on time. To such
Truth witness is given by the Tortoise and the Hare.
"Let’s make a bet," the former once said, "that you won’t touch
That line as soon as I." "As soon? Are you all there,
Neighbor?" said the rapid beast.
"You need a purge: four grains at least
Of hellebore, you’re now so far gone."
"All there or not, the bet’s still on."
So it was done; the wagers of the two
Were placed at the finish, in view.
It doesn’t matter what was down at stake,
Nor who was the judge that they got.
Our Hare had, at most, four steps or so to take.
I mean the kind he takes when, on the verge of being caught,
He outruns dogs sent to the calends for their pains,
Making them run all over the plains.
Having, I say, time to spare, sleep, browse around,
Listen to where the wind was bound,
He let the Tortoise leave the starting place
In stately steps, wide-spaced.
Straining, she commenced the race:
Going slow was how she made haste.
He, meanwhile, thought such a win derogatory,
Judged the bet to be devoid of glory,
Believed his honor was all based
On leaving late. He browsed, lolled like a king,
Amused himself with everything
But the bet. When at last he took a look,
Saw that she’d almost arrived at the end of the course,
He shot off like a bolt. But all of the leaps he took
Were in vain; the Tortoise was first perforce.
"Well, now!" she cried out to him. "Was I wrong?
What good is all your speed to you?
The winner is me! And how would you do
If you also carried a house along?"

IndigoBelle Sun 02-Dec-12 12:39:14

Never smile

Never in the UK system.......

Sugarbeach Sun 02-Dec-12 12:49:31

No way.

But if it had to be done, I'd say around 7 years old. When i used to be in primary school in Hong Kong, I used to have to learn and recite passages by heart...I think my memory was best at 7 years old.....I would not be able to do that now.

LindyHemming Sun 02-Dec-12 13:06:52

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SummerRain Sun 02-Dec-12 13:12:13

We had to memorize stuff like that from about 8/9 yo here, shorter stuff in earlier years. And at that age slightly shorter stuff in Irish too.

Dd is 7 and not a huge amount of memorizing tv happening yet tbh so it's probably changed a bit since I was in school.

redskyatnight Sun 02-Dec-12 13:20:24

Lead characters in the Y3 play had more lines that that to learn (realise that's not quite the same thing) so I'd say from 7/8 upwards would be ok.

Greythorne Sun 02-Dec-12 13:30:32

We are not in the UK and where we are, there's a deeply ingrained culture of rote learning.

Greythorne Sun 02-Dec-12 13:32:00

i find it surprising on many levels:

-- the concept of rote learning
-- the level of language
-- the length of the piece

......I am struggling to learn it myself. And DD struggling, too. 16 days to go before Recitation Day.

LindyHemming Sun 02-Dec-12 13:42:31

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

learnandsay Sun 02-Dec-12 13:43:43

I have an appalling memory. When I used to have to remember great big chunks of text for exams I used to cut it up into small chunks which I could remember easily. Then I'd create a an initial for each small chunk and a mnemonic for all the chunks together. When I'd get to the exam room at turn your paper over time I'd scribble all the mnemonics down manically. Then during the exam (at my leisure, I'd expand them as required.) I did acting and had to remember lines too, but that was so long ago I can't remember how I did that. I've heard memory experts saying things a bit similar to my mnemonic idea where you write nothing down. But imagine each chunk to be associated with somewhere you're familiar with, (like your house.) Then as you progress through your house you identify each object and with it the chunk of text. I've never tried it. But I can see how it might work.

Greythorne Sun 02-Dec-12 13:48:03

She is 5

Year 1

Sugarbeach Sun 02-Dec-12 13:53:46

It's a difficult and clumsy piece to learn, if it was rhyming all the way through it'd be easier but the rhymes are very irregular.

And what country is this?

LoopsInHoops Sun 02-Dec-12 13:55:53

Crikey, what country are you in? And is it to be learnt in English?

Also, is it 'rapid beast' or 'rabid beast'?

LoopsInHoops Sun 02-Dec-12 13:56:49

No way at 5. Just no way. They are setting her up to fail. sad And for what?

Greythorne Sun 02-Dec-12 14:00:38

Well, we are in France.

The piece is in French, that's the translation I found on the internet, but it is a pretty good representation of the level of difficulty, the rhyme scheme is irregular in French, too.

Goldmandra Sun 02-Dec-12 14:02:05

I would approach the teacher as if this was a very funny misunderstanding and expect him/her to clarify it and have a good old chuckle that anyone would expect a 5 year old to learn something like that.

LoopsInHoops Sun 02-Dec-12 14:02:20

Thought so, that's why I asked about the language. Does she go to a local primaire?

I'd be thinking of ways to let the school know it isn't going to happen, to be honest. Poor DD sad

rhetorician Sun 02-Dec-12 14:03:59

5! dd occasionally learns little rhymes at nursery 4-6 lines - she is almost 4 and finds it fairly easy. But this is very difficult. What's the point of it? I mean there are things that it is useful to know by heart, but this cannot be construed as useful, surely? If they want them to be able to memorize, surely there are better things to do it with (I am slightly old-fashioned and do think that there's a place for the skill of rote-learning - e.g. it's handy to be able to do it - but it isn't a way of teaching anything but how to learn by rote, IYSWIM)

Greythorne Sun 02-Dec-12 14:04:52

Rapid beast

learnandsay Sun 02-Dec-12 14:06:40

I think the point is to get used to having to remember great big chunks of things for school. My understanding of the French system is that it's big on remembering lots of stuff.

Narked Sun 02-Dec-12 14:08:24

You need people with experience of the French system. I knew they were big on rote learning, but that at 5 is shock

MrsMushroom Sun 02-Dec-12 14:09:51

My DD (shy) narrated the entire nativity at her prep school aged 6 with no notes. She did. She's not there now....she's at a state primary..(lot less pressure)

A child CAN do such a thing but it's a lot of work.

MrsMushroom Sun 02-Dec-12 14:10:53

Learn it one line at a time.

She can memorise a line....then once it's in her head add the next ad infinitum,

BabyGiraffes Sun 02-Dec-12 14:14:09


Greythorne Sun 02-Dec-12 14:14:22

French verb conjugation and grammar being what it is, you have to learn by rote, ther's no other way.

So the move away from rote kearning as a conceot has never happened here. So i was prepared for rote learning......i just wasn't prepared for this level of rote learning at age 5.

It is all to be learned at home, (they don't practise at school, AFAIK) so we are in for a crappy two weeks whilst I hassle DD to learn it.

I studied French literature to degree level and I love French literature. So i can't believe I am coming over all anti-French lit, but I think this is stoooopid to expect of a 5 yo.

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