Thursday, September 9, 2010

Seven Keys To Memory...

**Seven Keys To Memory...**
By Karen Boyes

Communication starts and finishes at the brain. But how much do we know about how this amazing organ works? Imagine if you were given a car, the keys and some petrol but you had no idea what to do with them. You might put the keys in the petrol tank and pour the petrol over the roof!?
Up until now this is how you may have used your brain because over 95% of the world’s knowledge about the brain has only been around for the past 10 to 20 years.
Now is an exciting time to be living as far as our brain potential is concerned... for the first time in the history of the universe, brain researchers are discovering how to communicate effectively to the brain. So what are the best ways to teach to the brain? How can you get students to remember the concepts and content easily? Outlined below are 7 keys to memory and ways to teach to the brain...

**1. Primacy or firsts.**
Do you remember your first day at school? Your first day teaching? What you were wearing and who you talked to that day? What about your first kiss? Or your first car? Do you remember the 47th day teaching or the 11th kiss? Probably not as these aren’t as memorable as the first. In general students will recall and remember the first time they did something. Provide as many firsts as possible. Students will also recall the beginnings of your lessons - so put your key information at the start...

**2. Recency or lasts.**
Which part of a movie is most remembered? Usually the ending. What about a novel? Again it is most often the end that the reader remembers. The same is true of your lessons... by placing important or key information at the end of a lesson or day your students are more likely to remember it.
Keep your lessons short as this allows for more firsts and lasts. I work on 20 minute intervals in my teaching, providing a break or discussion time for five minutes before I continue with more content...

**3. Repetition**
Reviewing or periodic revision of material is needed to reactivate the stored memory and prevent it from being buried under other information... The more recent, regular and fun the review is, the easier information can be recalled...
Information can be reviewed visually, by reading it, auditorily, talking about the key information and playing games (kinesthetically.) There are many games that can be adapted in the classroom to provide rapid, fun reviewing of a topic, from simple card and board games to involved game shows...

Anything that is funny, different or has a novelty value will stand out in a student’s mind. Any one offs will be memorable. Often the sillier the more memorable it will be. I have strong memories of a teacher who stood on his chair while teaching us about height and sat under his desk when teaching about earthquakes. It was very memorable. What do you remember teachers doing to make information stand out? How could you make your information stand out in your student’s memory?

**5. Chunking**
Have you ever heard the saying, ‘How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time’... The short term memory can remember up to seven (plus or minus 2) bits of information in one chunk. When the brain is given too many pieces of information to remember it installs amnesia...for example... Read the following sequence of numbers, then turn away and write them down... 4, 12, 76, 34, 23, 87, 3, 67, 92, 88, 94, 5, 10. Did you feel your brain go fuzzy? This is what happens to students when we give them too much information at once.
When remembering a telephone number, we often break this into smaller chunks to remember it. The smaller more manageable the chunks the faster your students will pick up the information. Break up your lesson content into small pieces so your students find it easy to recall...

**6. Association**
Research shows that when learning new information if the student links it to previous knowledge, recall is greatly improved. Providing “concrete” or “real life” examples that students can relate to is useful. For example, when teaching the 3 parts to an essay I’ve seen a teacher link or associate this information to a hamburger. The top bun is the introduction, the meat is the body of the essay - the more filling the better the hamburger (and essay) and the bottom bun is the conclusion or summary. If you miss out one part, you don't have a hamburger or an essay. Provide your students with an overview of the key concepts at the beginning of a lesson so they can hook learning to this as they learn. Give students opportunities to discuss concepts and how they relate to themselves...

**7. Visuals**
Visual recall is the one of the fastest recall the brain has. Pictures are also located in the same area of the brain as the long term memory. Encourage students to turn concepts into pictures. The first picture they draw or think of is always the most memorable (primacy), and the sillier the picture the better (stands out). The more colourful the pictures often the easier they are to remember. Visuals can be imagined, drawn or made.

**Check out our website at [] and shop online for books and educational resources. **

No comments:

Post a Comment