>Some of us are saying that memorizing the definitions by rote >is stupid, instead the student should learn the definitions by >using them, the way we do when we learn a new topic. This >is missing the point: _regardless_ of _how_ one learns those >definitions, "we" all agree that one _does_ need to _know_ >the definitions eventually in order to be able to do the >things one is supposed to be able to do.
Right. But I still think it's possible to know the definition of something *without* being able to state or explain the definition clearly. For example, the word "the". We all know what it means and when it can and can't be used. But, can any of us actually define it? Probably not. In fact, I'd be willing to argue that we actually understand things *better* when we know what they're used for and how to use them, and we can do that without defining them.