ROTE LEARNING. In the UK rote learning has gone out of fashion, but French children are expected to commit many lessons to heart. I must say that I was impressed that one student had had to learn the names of British Prime Ministers and their chancellors. However, the downside is that things are learnt by heart with no understanding. Our friend’s young daughter was doing her homework which consisted of learning the definitions of geographical features. ‘A plateau is a hill with sloping sides and a flat top’. I asked her if she could draw one. ‘I don’t need to do that; I just have to learn the definition’. I was not convinced that she would recognise a plateau if she saw one.