These guidelines are from my 7-page article, Memory Strategies to Help Students Remember what they See and Hear in the Classroom. To read the complete article, click on the link at the bottom.
- Short memorizing rehearsals are more productive than longer ones. Make sure that each practice is no longer than 30 minutes at a time.
- It is better to have five weekly rehearsals of 30 minutes each than one longer weekly practice (e.g. three or more hours in a row).
- Memory improves when students use multiple sensory pathways to learn the material. For example, when students are learning visual material, they need to elaborate verbally on what they are seeing. On the other hand, if students are trying to consolidate verbal material, for example, from the history textbook, memorization is easier if they draw a diagram or write smaller bits of information on index cards that they can study visually.
- When the learning material is both meaningful and organized is always easier to remember. When studying, children need to use organization aids such as timelines, outlines, bullet lists, flowcharts, cause and effect diagrams, and/or comparing and contrasting diagrams.
- Practice children in highlighting, outlining, and summarizing important information.
- Students can remember definitions better if they use their own words and/or paraphrase, rather than trying to memorize exactly what the teacher said or what they read in the book.
- Memorization improves when students think of something that connects with the new information, and link the new concept, topic or theme to what they already know.
- Teach students to think of examples of what they are trying to remember. The more connections they make, the more details they add to the concept or topic, and the more examples they can think of, the better their chances of memorizing and learning the information.
- Teach students to group the information, placing similar items together. For example, from a grocery list with 23 items, the child creates the fruits group, the vegetables group, and the meats group. Students need to know how many items they need to remember (23) and how many groups of items are in the list (3). It is harder to remember 23 isolated items from the longer list, but the same items are easier to recall if we group them in three groups, e.g. eight meats, six vegetables, and nine fruits.
A Call to All Teachers:
Proudly announcing our new group for educators worldwide, “We Teach the World.” Our aim is to connect teachers and related school personnel all over the world, so that we can share much-needed ideas, strategies, and lesson plans as well as all kinds of resources in classroom management and in student discipline. Coordinating our effort worldwide, we can tell each other where to find important resources and information. If you administer a teaching blog or have created educational resources to facilitate our job, you are welcome to share them here. As long as they contribute to education, we want to know of your business. Teachers with questions, post them here; mentors and seasoned teachers, your valuable experience and unique perspective matter to us, so make your voices heard. Because isolated, we teachers are imaginative, resourceful and resilient, but connected, connected we are imaginative, resourceful, resilient AND powerful. To join us, click on, “We Teach the World.”