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Memory Skills

Discussion in 'Further Education' started by Re-Mind, Dec 9, 2017.

  1. Re-Mind

    Re-Mind New commenter

    There is one critical aspect of teaching and learning that is missing….Teaching students how to remember.

    From an early age we bombard learners with information but at no time do we ever teach students how to remember efficiently or effectively. I believe that teaching students, of any age memory skills is a cost effective way of improving attainment and empowering young minds. Having a good memory increases the attention span, improves confidence and encourages positive social interaction.

    I'm on a crusade to get classrooms, schools, colleges and local authorities to introduce memory skills into the curriculum. I would be interested to hear F.E. staffs' thoughts, ideas and questions regarding this idea.
    cys2017 likes this.
  2. elder_cat

    elder_cat Established commenter

    In my experience, students only memorise things they think are important. Which explains why they 'forget' to turn up to classes if the time/venue has had to be reorganised, bring the required items with them, do homework, etc, etc. IMHO, for most students actually remembering isn't a problem, but they choose to select which things to remember and which to forget.
    pepper5 and Vince_Ulam like this.
  3. Re-Mind

    Re-Mind New commenter

    I think I'd have to disagree with almost all of that.
  4. Stiltskin

    Stiltskin Star commenter

    What are you advocating? Looking at recent research, exercise and taking an afternoon nap is linked to improving memory.

    You disagree with what parts of @elder_cat's post? People are (consciously and sub) selective in what they remember, which is a combination of a variety of factors.
    pepper5 likes this.
  5. gogogulliver

    gogogulliver New commenter

    Do we? Don't we?

    Bearing in mind that the the National Curriculum only applies in England up to KS4, what do you propose should be done in FE?

    I think your idea is very interesting but lacking in any real information or suggestions as to how this can be done. Do you want to improve long-term recall, short-term memory or working memory? All three or only some of them or other kinds of memory?
    In what way? Motivation to learn something (including finding something important) is relevant and selecting which information to use and what to forget can be an unconscious choice that learners (and people generally) make on a daily basis. I definitely agree that there is an element of skill involved, which can be improved, so it would be interesting to hear what exactly you disagree with any why.

    For people with sensory intake and control problems, selecting information that is relevant can be a challenge as their understanding of relevance may be different from the teacher/lecturer's. Again, learning strategies to deal with this can be very useful and I would be interested in learning more about this.

    I think your goal is well-intended and genuinely interesting, but you've asked for our opinions on something very, very vague.
    ATfan and Re-Mind like this.
  6. JosieWhitehead

    JosieWhitehead Star commenter

    Yes, I've been an FE teacher all my life. I taught Pitman's shorthand, a very difficult subject. I would teach a new principle, give examples, get the students to read passages which would clearly show them how it was applied. The figure 3 was the rule. Read something three times. I'd get my students to copy the outlines, leaving 2 lines in between. Then we'd read and copy the second line and again the third time. The next day was the test - - - and most had learnt the new material. The students then had a blank page and had to apply what they learnt (dictation). On checking, most of them would have thoroughly learnt this and new material would be added to what had been learnt the day before.
    Now I'm a children's poet and I cannot emphasize enough the importance of getting children to learn poetry by heart and to also perform it well. This stimulates the brain into remembering, and helps with spoken English too. You need poems that have rhyme and rhythm/metre because they are easier to memorize. The blank verse, or sentences split into short lines, are not so good.
  7. Stiltskin

    Stiltskin Star commenter

    Simonides of Ceos would be happy to hear this, I'm sure!
    JosieWhitehead likes this.
  8. elder_cat

    elder_cat Established commenter

    You're entitled to do that. My post was based on my own experiences in FE, although with hindsight, and in light of subsequent posts, perhaps I could have given a better explanation of why I feel that way.

    If memory had no element of choice involved, they would be unable to actively choose to 'block' memory of unpleasant or traumatic experiences. (I am not talking about amnesia, which could occur as a result of some physical injury.)

    When I was at Uni we had reading lists. Attempting to memorise all the content of each book recommended would have been a futile exercise. So the student has to make conscious decisions on which parts of which texts they consider to be relevant and important to their overall objective of gaining a good knowledge of the subject. Different students, reading the same boks, might make very different assessments of 'which bits are the important bits to remember'.

    This illustrates the difference between 'memory' and 'learning'. To my mind, 'learning' is a combination of 'remembering' and 'understanding'. In this case the end result came about through the combination of short term memory, and the ability to apply what had been remembered in a context. Developing students' ability to commit facts to memory has value. But simply improving their abilty to remember something, without really knowing how to apply it in a given context, is of limited use.

    This probably works supremely well for Poetry and English. I am not sure it would work so well for other areas, eg Computing, where for example the wording and syntax used in computer programs frequently consists of short statements.

    This is why most computer programmers have collections of relevant works, they can reference when needed. In their case the ability to 'apply' is probably more important than the ability to 'remember'.

    IMHO I don't think there is likely to be a 'one size fits all' technique, rather a case of 'horses for courses'.
    ATfan and Re-Mind like this.
  9. Stiltskin

    Stiltskin Star commenter

    I'm not entirely sure what you're trying to say here?

    What I was trying to say is that we are unable to remember everything (at least, it has never been proven) therefore what we remember is selective. This is through a combination of conscious choice (e.g. revising for a test) or subconsciously. What causes something to be remembered then is open to a whole host of factors. Coming back, this concurs with your original point that students sometimes choose not to remember some things, as the weigh up their perceived relative importance. (There's a whole nature/nurture debate in this).
    ATfan and elder_cat like this.
  10. elder_cat

    elder_cat Established commenter

    Pretty much just that...except you said it far more eloquently that I.:D
    Stiltskin likes this.
  11. JosieWhitehead

    JosieWhitehead Star commenter

    Yes, I've just been reading about him. I quote: "He inferred that persons desiring to train this faculty must select localities and form mental images of the facts they wish to remember and store those images in the localities, with the result that the arrangement of the localities will preserve the order of the facts, and the images of the facts will designate the facts themselves, and we shall employ the localities and images respectively as a wax writing tablet and the letters written on it." In fact they tell you that when you put anything down in the house, garage, garden etc, you look at it and take a mental snapshot of the place where you've put it. Then your mind finds it easier to find it again. Now, where did I put those car keys? ha ha
    ATfan likes this.
  12. elder_cat

    elder_cat Established commenter

    I could never manage to do those tests where you had a number of items on a tray, which were covered up after a set amount of time, then you had to list all the items. Failed every time :(
  13. Re-Mind

    Re-Mind New commenter

    I'm really enjoying the comments - lots of good input here.

    What Simonides of Ceos describes here is recognised as The Method of Loci or The Journey Method. It is still used and is a very powerful memory technique.

    I'm busy right mow but hope to chime in later. Thank you your input is much appreciated.
  14. I agree memory skills are not taught in schools. Please have a look at memorypower.org
  15. Re-Mind

    Re-Mind New commenter

    Nice site
    [This comment/section/image has been removed for breaching our Community Guidelines/Terms and conditions]
  16. ATfan

    ATfan Star commenter

    @elder_cat That’s right! Diversion of attention is indeed an obstacle to remembering according to Atkinson and Shiffrin’s (1968) multi-storey model of memory. This is because we have a limited mental capacity and therefore use schemata to organise and understand information. Invariably, this also means that our memories become distorted, as you said.

    By the way, I teach memory skills all the time because I am a Psychology Teacher, so will politely decline Re-Mind’s offer to visit my college, if only because getting me to do it is the cheapest option.
  17. ATfan

    ATfan Star commenter

    One of many.
  18. Flanks

    Flanks Senior commenter

    We don't teach a curriculum which supports memory skills. Horse and cart are wrong way around I am afraid.

    We have a curriculum (and a majority of the teachers within that curriculum in my opinion) who believe memory is a matter of rote. However, decades of research shows the opposite, that learning is associative, and in its best form multisensory.

    In practice what do we do? Use a classroom, with a predominant pedagogy of the teacher/lecturer speaking and students listening with the odd activity thrown in which is really just more talking dressed up as something else.

    Lecturers/teachers resist cross curricula teaching, because it isn't their job. Very few teachers/lecturers genuinely believe that we are all teachers of literacy and numeracy. Very few schools are brave enough to reduce the hours for english and maths to support other subjects which would actually support associative learning and then enhance all other subjects.

    The final cherry on the cake, is the actual hours of school. It is well known that sleep is a requirement for all learning, not just a certain number of hours but what hours of sleep are had. Further than that, it is also well known that good sleep over successive nights is a requirement for learning, i.e. if you learn something day 1, you will need to sleep well night 1, 2, 3 and probably 4 and 5 as well before it really transfers. If sleep is missed/reduced/inadequate, then the quality of memory which is retained the next day is significantly diminished. This is true for both propositional knowledge and also (bizarrely) motor skills learning. Furthermore, teenagers require more sleep than adults, on average 9-10hours, yet we insist on a school day starting at 8.30 when biologically teenagers should only just be waking up. We then complain at them for being surly, grumpy, forgetful and moody, and blame social media for a rise in mental health difficulties when half the puzzle is inadequate sleep.

    As a final parting point: Anyone who advocates for any form of online/app memory training software is either in the pay of that app/company, or has done extremely limited researching into the topic. Time and again, academic reviews of the data supporting these websites and apps finds zero long term memory benefit. Minor placebo in short term, quickly eroded, and at best simple learning of the games/tests which are actually in the app over time. Nothing transfers to other learning/memory skills.
    ATfan likes this.
  19. taisiya_wolker

    taisiya_wolker New commenter

    First things first. Memory, like muscular strength, is a “use it or lose it” proposition. The more you work out your brain, the better you’ll be able to process and remember information. Reading books won't help your memory very much, but it does expands your knowledge and your vocabulary a lot. It also expands your conscience about the outside world and other's feelings.To improve your memory skills, try playing some memory games, word building games etc . . . Improving your memory skills involves various complex processes: -
    Pay attention.
    Involve as many senses as possible.
    Relate information to what you already know.
    Organize information.
    Understand and be able to interpret complex material.
    Rehearse information frequently and “over-learn”.
    Be motivated and keep a positive attitude.

    Healthy Methods To Improve Your Memory Include :-

    * Increases oxygen to your brain. Reduces the risk for disorders that lead to memory loss, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. May enhance the effects of helpful brain chemicals and protect brain cells.

    * Cortisones, the stress hormones, can damage the hippo campus if the stress is unrelieved.Stress makes it difficult to concentrate.

    * Sleep is necessary for memory consolidation. Sleep disorders like insomnia and sleep apnea leave you tired and unable to concentrate during the day.

    * Smoking heightens the risk of vascular disorders that can cause stroke and constrict arteries that deliver oxygen to the brain. All these habits are healthy habits and techniques that improve memory.

    It may sound weird but trust me it has helped me in improving my memory and I sure hope it does in helping yours.
  20. thin_ice

    thin_ice Occasional commenter

    OK, but have you got any referenced evidence for this?

    Interesting, but as it stands it’s just popular psychology stuff based on opinion.
    NoSuchThingAsNormal likes this.

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