I am an English Teacher in China, and recently I've heard more and more parents and students in China complaining about word memorization when learning English. They feel that kids would be more motivated if they could learn words "naturally", say, through reading or using them in real life contexts. Well, personally I am entirely for the movement of making English Education more function-geared and less test-oriented, and I am really happy to see that Chinese people are changing their mentality towards English learning. However, I am also concerned that people might be in danger of swinging into the other extreme through ignoring the role of active leaning and memorizing in language learning.
So my questions are:
1) Do native speakers need to memorize new vocabulary when they are reading more challenging texts (e.g. an eighteenth century novel or some founding documents);
2) Have you ever done rote memorization for standardized tests, such as SSAT, SAT, ACT, GRE, and so forth?