THE DOODLING & COLORING BOOK CRAZE: WHAT IS HAPPENING ????

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What is happening in the current craze with doodling and coloring for adults????? Since last year it has been impossible to go into a bookstore, an art store or craft establishment without encountering adult coloring books, doodling books, zen tangle materials or mandala coloring materials. In the last 6 months without really searching I have encountered at least 300 different titles available in Canada, the US.  and Britain.When watching current TV programs I have noticed that several have included this trend in their programs.  One Chicago Fire Episode had a firefighter explaining to a colleague what he was doing as he was working on an adult coloring book. He was coloring while waiting for the next fire. In addition an episode of “The Chew” recently had the enthusiastic Carla explaining how to make a scrumptious dish in such a manner that you could have lots of time left to work on your “coloring books”

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We are seeing news programs responding to this trend offering speculation and expert opinions. Art therapists, psychologists and news anchors, in addition, news  and magazine stories are starting to ask questions or study the trend.  In Jan.6/2016 CBC NEWS / THE CALGARY EYEOPENER did a program suggesting that 6 months ago this trend did not exist and now it has taken North America by storm ( maybe farther afield). They suggested that this coloring/zen tangle trend was calming to the mind and  helped in dealing with stress. Several reports suggested  that this trend is a response to being frenzied and overwhelmed. One article suggested that as a response to our frenzied, hurried lives we are craving ways to slow down, take time to move,  think and interact with color while being in a calm almost meditative state. The ARTS WRITER for the Huffington Post wrote an article entitled “Why Coloring Could Be the New Alternative to Meditation” The Huffington Post Live did a piece entitled “The Cognitive Benefits of Coloring”  There is  even a University class in Wisconsin entitled ” The Benefits of Doodling.”

Each time I have gone into a bookstore, art store etc ( in both Canada ,the USA & London England)  in the last few months I have taken an informal survey and asked the proprietor or person who does the ordering who is buying all these coloring books.  The answers are as varied as the hundreds of coloring books available.  There are teens, and business men & women, grandmothers, book club enthusiasts, families wanting to sit around the table to just chat and color. In London several books store owners suggested the same variety but also mentioned many people who travel long distances on to tube or by train are using the time to color, do something creative and while away the hours on the train in a creative way. Coloring events in trendy bars with doodle walls and social events organized around a coloring activity are popping up in bars, bookstores and coffee houses. The list goes on and on and on. The swiftness of this phenomenon is amazing. It appears to have no age limits or socioeconomic boundaries.  When mentioning this trend at a small bookstore in Canada a young woman piped up and shared that she worked at the jail and remand center in the city and the staff  were using the coloring books as a calming influence for inmates.

Scottish illustrator Johanna Basford’s books have sold over 1 million copies to date.  She suggests her books ‘make people unplug’ giving them a chance to unwind suggesting the side effect is stress relief. The philosophy encourages time together helping a busy life slow down.  The trend is almost meditative allowing individuals to lose themselves, unplugging from the internet, their phones or other technology. The activity calms a busy brain overloaded and inundated 24/7 by the information highway. Families are unplugging, coloring and chatting while doing it.

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Obviously there is a market for these books as stores do not invest revenue in trends that are not lucrative( as we all realize when we look for sections at our bookstore which have disappeared due to lack of interest from large numbers of patrons). We need to look a little more closely at the brain researchers and see what need this craze is offering to our minds. When we see how much time individuals are spending on their computers, smart phones, tablets and other devices we may have the clues we need. We are connected 24/7 and it seems that the coloring trend slows us down, disconnects us, allows us to sit around the table and actually unplug and talk.

 

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Whether  you are 8 or 80 the doodling or coloring craze is meeting the needs of our frenzied, hurried lifestyle. It is quicker than creating your own patterns while still allowing freedom to create with colors. No matter what age or stage we are at , it might be beneficial to see what all the excitement is about. As my Mom  aged  and confusion began to erode the activities she was able to continue doing many old familiar pastimes and  other creative projects she used to do became too complicated but coloring allowed her to continue to choose colors and create a unique product. It continued to support her need to do something creative and allowed her to work for hours and hours on a task that was still able to stimulate and interest her.

 

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SEE ALSO:  Hurry Sickness, The World We Live In & Endangered Minds

 

Temperament

Temperament

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People are the school’s greatest resource. They are something that, if treated properly, budget cuts can’t destroy and change in policy can’t defeat. The maximum utilization of the individual differences of people within a school organization is a worthy goal for all its inhabitants and one which is easy to believe in, but more difficult to implement. Honouring the expertise and strengths of the individual, within the organization, would tap an often overlooked and sometimes unused natural resource, whether the individual strengths be those of an administrator, teacher, parent or student. “Education is a people business. Perhaps every issue that we deal with in schools is basically a human relations situation. The effectiveness of curriculum, instruction, discipline, management, community relationships and the degree of academic achievement can often be traced to the ability of people to identify common purposes and work productively together. where we find open communication, high morale, positive climate, commitment of community and parents and enthusiastic caring professionals we find excellence in learning and teaching.” (Guild and Granger p5)
Our personalities / temperament profoundly govern choices made within the structure of our lives and then of course within the school system. Having an accurate understanding of a person’s temperament gives the onlooker ways to recognize the strengths or blind spots that a certain type of learning, teaching or supervisory style might have. Often we are talking to another individual but are we really communicating? Are we speaking the same language? Our own style often limits our view and blinds our full understanding of another’s style. The balancing act becomes extremely delicate when attempting to honour the diverse need of individuals within the complex structure of a school system. The study of temperament offers a deeper look into our ability to anticipate what motivates individuals. We see that a scientifically developed style instrument does effectively predict preferences choices, communication styles or educational belief systems. It also gives us insight into organizational or philosophical preferences and various processing styles. “Style (temperament) is at the core of what it means to be a person. It is an old concept that has been explored for centuries, but recently infused with new energy and direction. It is essential to any educators philosophy. It touches on classroom practice, administration and curriculum development. It relates to staff development and to students study habits. Perhaps more importantly it calls upon educators to recognize actively that people are different, and these differences inevitably surface when people learn, teach, supervise and develop programs.” (Guild & Garger pVIII-IX)

The application of temperament theory in an educational institution can be effectively applied in staff relationships where collegiality needs to be encouraged or where the teaching/learning relationships must be improved or where conflicting educational philosophies exist. The use of a style instrument assists in opening lines of communication. The information gained can aid in helping to prepare any group for changes that must be made. There are definite temperament differences that are not always obvious through observation alone, and understanding these differences can aid people of different types to built bridges between themselves and others, between individuals and representatives of an organizational system. “Those who are sensitive to others preferences in a way have privileged information. this privileged information cannot be faked and must be treated with respect and courtesy. If you know what internal processes someone is using you can tail or your words to fit his or her representational system.” (Laborde p59)

Given the premise that individuals display identifiable behavioral patterns, a style instrument like the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) becomes a valuable tool in helping people predict strengths, needs, concerns or potential problem areas in any human relations situations. Research sets up a framework that recommends that our behavior is shaped or at least profoundly influenced by our natural style characteristics, and that the natural progression of development in situations would be to diagnose, understand, relate and finally, generalize to situation with the school system.The brain researchers, now,are becoming aware that a persons temperament dramatically affects his/her approach and reaction to the surrounding world. They also are very aware that biology has a greater affect than they previously thought when considering an individuals reaction to events. Scientists are beginning to mention temperament in addition to other influences that have significant impact on the development of an individual. Dr. Herbert Melter of Case Western University Medical School in Cleveland suggests, “It’s quite possible that by the twenty-first century there will be a biology of temperament and character that can help us understand ourselves as a species”(Kotuluk p106)
“Put to the test, this traditional nursery rhyme (Monday’s Child is fair of face,Tuesday’s Child is full of grace, etc.) would be a poor predictor of a child’s personality or temperament. However, its underlying notion-that we are somehow born to be ‘full of woe’ or bonny, and blithe’ -turns out to have some basis in biology. Neuroscientists and psychologists are producing a growing body of evidence that one’s predisposition to view the glass as half full or half empty, or to be shy or outgoing, may have biological determinants…Research conducted during the course of more that two decades by DR. Jerome Kagan, a professor of psychology at Harvard University and the director of the MInd-Brain- Behavior Initiative at Harvard University, suggests that our individual brain chemistries bias us, even as infants, to react to the events of life with equanimity or fear. kagan and a number of other investigators have found striking correlations between, on the one hand, such physiological measurements as heart rate and brain activity and, on the other, observably timid or fearless behavior. These studies offer fascinating clues to the question of how we become who we are. But biology is not necessarily destiny, Kagan emphasizes. Parents, society, and we ourselves have a hand in shaping the way we react to what life throws our way.” (Conlan p29,30)

Temperament research suggests that, through the use of an individual style instrument, like the Myers Briggs Type Indicator, we are given an accurate understanding of a person’s temperament thus we are able to make accurate predictions about motivation and choices to be made in relation to preferred ways of dealing within the structure of any situation. Whether adult or student, the suggestion from researchers is that, our most profound choices are governed by our personality/temperament. Although each individual with the structure is unique there exists a very complex framework by which predictions can be made. Style/temperament instruments provide a wealth of information about the complexity of the individual and the unique variations within patterns of temperament that clearly exist. These theories go on to explain how this information can be used to humanize organizations.

“The theory and data on type differences in education helps explain underachievement and overachievement. Type (temperament) theory permits an educated guess about the application and interest students will bring to their studies… Since the aim of education is for all types to achieve and complete their studies credibly, the importance of the data on type differences occur so that students can plan their learning and teachers their instruction to maximize the aptitude, interest and application of all…” (Myers & Mc Caulley, p96)

Although we acknowledge the concept of individual learning differences in theory we very often deny it in practice. (Lawrence, Provost, Briggs-Myer) Temperament theory not only helps predict ways of keeping the communication process open it also allows staff to anticipate and then create more effective learning situations for all students. Temperament/personality theory is especially useful in offering insight into fragile disconnected students and suggests strategies for supporting their development both academically and personally; however, it has also been suggested that fragile students might not have been so fragile if their learning preferences had been anticipated and honoured to begin with.

Our educational systems profess and even require through policy the acceptance of and recognition of individual differences but “drop outs, push outs and disruptions are symptoms of problems in our educational system and in our society.” (McCaulley & Natter p99) We cannot continue to lose large numbers of students whose difficulty in school is not that they are intellectually incapable but rather that their style/type/ temperament is in direct opposition to the structure and existing organization of the classes they find themselves in. Isabel Briggs Myers explains that her type instrument does not measure the ‘quantitative differences’ in students but rather it measures ‘qualitative differences’ in their preferences. Theorists stress that students definitely react very differently to formal education, to studying situations, to instructional methods and to the organizational structure of a school system. We as educators, cannot afford to ignore the wealth of potential, we might be wasting, in many of our young people.

Researchers have consistently suggested that “temperament is primary, and predisposes the person to certain ways of thinking, wanting, emoting and acting. Thus, each of the personality styles has its own way of learning, its own way of being motivated, its own way of relating to others and its own way of being satisfied.” (Golay p25) As schools assess their understanding of students brains, hearts and temperament we will be better able to aid individuals to cope with the organizational structure of educational institutions whether those individuals be administrator, teachers, support staff, students or parents.

The following visual shows the types of individuals a style instrument like the MBTI indicates and how they are interacting in a regular classroom setting. This type of information  is significant in that it strongly suggests we are able to predict accurately that certain temperament types do make very significant choices is an educational setting. They choose drama or music or science or they choose to drop out of school or get help before they hit the wall.

When doing some graduate work many years ago (1988-91) I set out to study some of the most notable predictions MBTI researchers were making at the time, relating to temperament and the learning process. Over a 20 year period the theory proved itself when looking at staff profiles, student and parent profiles.

The most notable predictions based on the learning process seem to often revolve around the S – N scale, the J-P scale IN – ES differences and SJ, SP, NF, NT temperaments. It has been suggested (Briggs-Myers , Chillenden, Bussis, Amarel, Courtney , Hammer, McCaulley & Natter ) that Sensing types (S) get behind in school almost instantly because of their natural tendency to be accurate, tackling one word at a time never skimming, often not using context clues or phrasing techniques. Intuitive (N) types get ahead instantly because of their ability to sacrifice accuracy for the sake of getting on with reading. N is associated with comprehension, inferred meaning and abstract concepts rather than the S’s practical, seeing all the facts, never missing a detail approach to reading. Little S’s remain on word one or two of the story, waiting for the teacher to help with word three, while N’s have read only half the words but understand the story is about a dog. The researchers suggestion was that S’s often stay behind in school for the remainder of their lives and N’s progress much more quickly because of a predisposition for symbolic/abstract learning.

The other prediction that researchers suggested be explored was the relationship between J and P. As you can see from the charts( see Statistics section). J’s rarely ever leave school and P’s leave on mass. This trend is extensively studied in the PLP section of this manual. Another very interesting type related speculation suggests that schools are in fact biased to IN types and that the bias must be corrected through instruction. “Recognizing that biases are largely unconscious and unintended it must be pointed out, however, that intellectual success is usually determined by IN types. The writers of textbooks, standardized tests and intellectual tests are mostly IN’s and their standards seem to be held sacred even by the opposite but most commonly found teacher types ESFJ. There are other ways of assessing intelligence, for promoting learning and growth, and for recognizing the abilities of EN and other types. It is time to stop neglecting the learning style and developmental needs of the majority of the students.” (Hoffman, Betkowski 22) Given that IN’s control much of the structure of the learning in schools, administered by SJ’s, the above Hoffman Betkowski view is quite frightening given the prediction of Keirsey and Bates who have suggest that IN’s comprise only a small percentage of the general population.

One other rather frightening prediction that comes out of the research on temperament and type (Brownsword Golay , Keirsey & Bates ) is the suggestion that of four temperament styles SJ, SP, NF, NT one group will leave school more often than other types. All three theorists predict that SP’s will leave school more often than other types. This I have confirmed in the studies I have done over the years. SJ’s predominate in the teaching profession, SP’s leave more readily than other temperament groups and NF’s are at risk most often but they ask for help and access any alternate program that is offered. Please the attached statistical views  in the STATISTICS SECTION referring to many of the above predictions.

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#1 The above visual represents  a classroom of 35 students each with very different characteristics.This classroom grid further describes the visual to follow.

#2 Please notice that in a class of 35 students the interests your students have is quite mind numbing. The top left corner group SJ’s want to follow all your rules. They will be on time and arrive with flowers and good wishes. The bottom left group are also SJ’s but a more out going variety. They need their friends but they too will arrive to class on time and be ready to work. The center left are the SP’s . They really need their freedom and even at this age they are beginning to feel restless within the structure of school. They will amuse,charm and entertain you or fix anything in the room that is broken. Keep them busy and they will be so pleased. They have difficulty seeing the practical reason why they should in school. The top right quadrant are the IN’s they love school and intellectual pursuits however they are very private and would much prefer to be reading or doing a solitary task. The middle left group love to act, create invent or discover and the bottom left group will lead your group even if no one wants to follow. They are so sure of the vision they rarely look back to see if anyone is following, however, they always have a crowd to play to and their self esteem rarely is ruffled.

Also look very carefully at the J and P scale.This scale holds and enormous clue to why students leave school. The FP combination also is significant. See the statistics section to observe real choices of real students.

Addtional Research Suggests:

Several researchers have, in fact, measured differences in a baby’s frontal lobe, depending on temperament, emotional response, and even his or her mother’s mood…All of these new findings on babies’ temperaments help us better understand how a child’s brain develops and how we can enrich this growth and increase ability. this is because the parts of the brain that process emotion grow and mature relatively early in a child and are very sensitive to parental feedback and handling. (Diamond & Hopson p123,124)

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“Students of the brain know a great deal about the roles of …brain regions, and know a substantial amount, as well, about how these emotional structures and circuits unfold as the infant grows…They know that the reticula system ( a set of nerve tracks in the brain stem) is fairly mature at birth, since the baby’s brain stem is itself already fully functioning to regulate the newborn’s heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, and calmness or anxiety” (Diamond & Hopson125)

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“Most neuroscientists now argue that the biological organ inside our skulls is both source and repository of our elusive identity and of all aspects of cognition and emotion. The balance of chemicals in our individual brains may predispose us to react to life’s ups and downs with a characteristic tranquillity or agitation. disturbances of that chemical balance can trigger mood disorders and mental illness. And burgeoning research into the connection between the brain and the body is reinforcing the idea that the influence flows in both directions-that is, our attitudes and emotions, once regarded as purely a function of ‘mind’ can affect the health of the body, and vice versa…Your particular array of genes we were born with may make us susceptive to manic-depressive illness or alcoholism, for example, but an environmental trigger, or ‘second hit,’ must activate the genes in question in order to make us ill or alcoholic. So although we may not be able to modify our genetic inheritance, Hyman reminds us that the brain is phenomenally responsive to experience. If the brain can learn addition, for example, it can also be taught to unlearn it.”(Conlan ed p3,4)

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“…any predisposition conferred by our genetic endowment is far from being a life sentence;there is no inevitable adult outcome of a particular infant temperament. As neruoscientists are discovering, the brain is a remarkably adaptable and malleable organ, especially early in life. Even though research suggests that inherited neurochemistries, whatever they may turn out to be, bias young children to react in particular ways- running away from strange people and strange circumstances or embracing the new with enthusiasm- the child’s interactions with family, teachers, and peers can shape that predisposition significantly. where some event happens will-nilly, on purpose, or by accident, we learn and change in response to these interactions, to experiences of caring or abuse, even to the experience of, say, a severe childhood illness. By the time a child is only two years of age, his or her temperament is already part of a tapestry who’s biological and environmental threads are so tightly woven as to be impossible to tease apart.” (Conlan Ed p32)

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“…despite an initial temperamental bias, each child’s environment has an important influence on his or her developing profile…if subjected to trauma or abuse, or even less dramatic environmental stress, can lose their released style. but it was rare for them to become consistently inhibited…” (Conlan ED p41)

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“Underscoring the give-and-take of genes and environment is the fact that it is very difficult to change one’s inherited temperamental predisposition completely. Even though children with high-reactive temperaments can learn to overcome their fears, to the point whereby appear to be as confident and outgoing as most other children, it is extremely rare for a high-reactive child to show, over the years, the vitality, fearlessness, and emotional spontaneity that is characteristic of most low-reactive children. (Conlan Ed p 41)

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“research on the relationship between the biological underpinnings of temperament and the environmental influence of parents and society holds several implications for the developing behavior of the growing child. Depending on environmental circumstances and events, innate temperamental inclinations can have both adaptive and maladaptive outcomes. (Conlan EDp48,9)

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“Given that stress is very much an individual matter-what’s stressful for one person isn’t necessarily stressful for another person-what are the factors that determine vulnerability, distress, and allostatic load? Genetic predisposition and early trauma can contribute to a lifelong pattern of emotional responsiveness-that is, a tendency to be hypersensitive to mildly stressful events, or even to events that wouldn’t even register on most other people’s stress meter. Conversely, some people seem to thrive on stressful conditions. (Conlan Ed p99)

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“Just as studies show stress tends to blunt the body’s immune responses, making us more susceptive to infection and disease, research also shows that a supportive social environment or group therapy, by reducing stress hormone levels, can enhance immune response, including resistance to such diseases as cancer…Recognizing out individual styles of handling stress-whether we’re prone to just feel anxious, for example, or talk to a friend, or head out the door for a run-can help us modify our stress responses if necessary, and can help maintain optimal activity of the immune system and a balance of health. (Conlan Ed p121)
xxxNotes from before Mike Merzenich of the University of California, San Francisco experiment and made a significant finding notes pg174xxx “All of us- even identical twins that share the same genes-are brought up in uniquely different social environments. We interact with different people, have different experiences in the world. As we learn from each of these experiences, the genetic switches in our brain cells are turned on or off, producing structural changes that make each of our brains unique. (Conlan Ed p 176)

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****whether or not the temperament of the care giver is outgoing or reflective it is essential to be aware of the stages of child development and deal with the need of the child at any given level xxx “The traits of the care giver are often thought to be positives or negative in their own right, but in our developmental model their influence depends on the particular stage the child has reached. A child needs one sort of nurturing in the first stage, when she is learning to achieve calm attention, and quite another as she moves toward complex gestural communication or symbolism. an interactive style that teaches attention or encourages falling in love may fail to teach a capacity to think or imagine, and vice versa…Each developmental stage influences the outcome of the interactions between nature and nurture. The child’s mastery of the task at each stage depends on how well her human and physical surroundings mesh with her own physical characteristics. the nature of her needs are also affected by how well her development went at earlier stages. Neither nature nor nurture, therefore, is a fixed entity.” (Greenspan p137,8)

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“Whether children’s temperaments are innate has inspired a great deal of research over the years…Many researchers argue that a person’s basic temperament or approach to the world remains strikingly consistent through the life span… the work on temperament by the pioneers Stella Chess and Alexander Thomas and their followers has helped both families and child development experts appreciate that no method of care giving, discipline, or education suits all or even most children.” (Green span p138)

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“Children also differ in how they comprehend their world. One might have a tin ear that confuses sounds but an architect’s eye for figuring out how things relate to each other spatially. another could be just the opposite, an acute and perceptive listener who tends to find spatial relationships bewildering. some children have low muscle tone, so that even holding up their heads or turning to look in one or another direction requires extraordinary energy…these physiological patterns appear to be influenced by heredity as well as by factors in the prenatal environment…” (Greenspan p140)

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“The analogy of a lock and key helps us to understand the relationship between nature and nurture. A baby’s characteristic strengths and weaknesses are like a lock that will open only if fitted with the right key. A number of keys will work, but an even larger number wouldn’t. to help the infant progress through the stages of development, the care giver must find keys- that is to say, patterns of interaction and response-that will help the child use her biological gifts to master the tasks of the stage she has reached. Every child, of course, complicates the challenges of parenthood by periodically changing the tumblers in the lock each time she reaches anew developmental stage. whether and when her parents can repeatedly find the keys that will release her potential vastly influences the child’s emerging personality…psychological traits in themselves do not necessarily limit or define a child’s potential. Moreover, the more compromised a child’s endowment, short of massive and incapacitating damage, the more powerful and decisive the influence of the nurturing he receives. A child who is physiologically well equipped to master a given developmental task will probably succeed at it despite mediocre nurturing, whereas one with fragile abilities may not attain mastery unless his surroundings provide exactly the help he needs…with care giving geared to their individual differences, many youngsters born with even serious weakness can and do achieve healthy mental development.” (Greenspan p143)

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“…people habitually differ in how they modulate their stress-responses with psychological variables. Your style, your temperament, your personality have much to do with whether you regularly perceive opportunities for control or safety signals when they are there, whether you consistently interpret ambiguous circumstances as implying good news or bad, whether you typically seek out and take advantage of social support. Some folks are good at modulating stress in these ways, and others are terrible.” (Sapolsky p262)

SEE ALSO:  Personality Preferences  or  TV, Movie and Fictional Character Preferences

MEMORY

Memory

When asked about memory students will usually answer they have a good memory or a bad memory. When their parents or teachers are asked about the student’s memory they will invariably describe a good memory or a poor memory again, leaving it at that. To then pursue the discussion rarely takes us any deeper into what we actually understand memory to be. Memory, good or bad, is often attributed or blamed for an astounding array of qualities and circumstances. In learning situations, we claim, it is often our memory that failed the exam or saved the day. When students or educators claim bad memory it is usually assumed that memory is this one magical entity that if improved would solve an array of learning concerns. Many students who are struggling with learning in some minor or even a major way will often attribute many or all of their problems to this elusive being called ‘memory’. Students who have diagnosed difficulties with learning often claim ‘memory’ to be the culprit and students with attention difficulties will often refer to a medication that ‘fixes’ memory and wish they too could have that ‘memory drug’ in order to miraculously become a better student. Unfortunately our memory, as with most of our other gifts or challenges, exists on a continuum of strengths and weaknesses, however, it is often quite common for people to think of memory as one gift or affliction.

Often in education we lump hundreds of skills together and refer on a regular basis to them as if we were speaking of one component. Learning is one word but it represents thousands of complicated interactions. ‘Trouble learning’ could become an entire section in the library or ‘trouble reading’ might be caused by one or a combination of several hundred small idiosyncrasies of our brain’s development. A good speller is a complex mix of many,many individual components of the learning process. Memory too falls into this category. It is a complex multi-faceted process that feels like ‘one thing’. When many individual ideas are activated to encourage a memory they are activated in such a way that they “become available to consciousness as a bundle, and thus seem to be a single impression with many facets.” (Wade p88)

Students, educators and parents are not the only people to mistakenly view memory as a framework rather than a process. Educational theorists and scientists have for years been striving to understand this puzzling but very essential component of the learning process. “Research on memory has taken a significant turn in the last ten years. Memory used to be regarded as a structure; now it is seen as a process. A memory was thought of as a single unit with an identifiable place of residence somewhere in the brain, which was recalled when necessary. Now a memory is regarded as a reconstruction from many different chunks stored redundantly through the brain…..Memory is learning that sticks. When learning occurs, new synapses form, old synapses are strengthened, or both. These new or strengthened connections are the new learning. The synaptic connections are the molecular equivalent of a chunk of newly learned material, such as a telephone number…..Unless the learning is converted into long-term memory, however, it will disappear, just as new muscle fibre will break down if it is not used. Gazzaniga (1988) reports that memory occurs not just in the brain, but through the nervous system…. (Howard pg.241-242) From this emerging body of work on memory educators can find many applications to the work we do with young people. As soon as we ask students to learn on their own (grade 1 spelling words) we must prepare them with an understanding of how to learn these things on their own. As children age they take on more responsibility for completing some of their school related work at home. Learning strategies must be taught to ensure that students have all the resources necessary to prepare them for learning self sufficiency.

One of the most important facts about memory continues to bring hope to many people who claim ‘poor memories’. All the current research agrees that memory skills can and should be taught and suggests that “…once considered innate or fixed at conception, it is now recognized that memory skills are learned; and, thus, greatly impacted by environment. The implications of this finding are profound because it means if memory is mutable, it is improvable.” (Jensen & Markowitz pg. 127) It is essential that if memory is to be improved we must first understand the different types of memory and understand that storing and retrieving these various types of memory necessitates using different pathways to store memories and different ways of retrieving these memories.

It is essential to become familiar with the different types of memory and how best to access them, most efficiently. This type of information gives students concrete ways to address the issue of ‘poor memory’ and helps them take control of the issues that often go along with memory concerns. Because we now understand “…the brain clearly has multiple memory systems, each devoted to different kinds of learning and memory functions…. ” (LeDoux pg.198) Brain theorists stress that the most powerful learning happens when multiple memory lanes are activated. We have much more control over how we help our students overcome the issues that often plague them in their attempts to master the enormous amount of information they are bombarded with daily.

(Refer to the following visual prior to continuing, as an advanced organizer)

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As the map Memory Process suggests we are bombarded with thousands of bits of sensory information which the brain must initially sort and decide which to dispose of and which to send on for further consideration. Each short term buffer has an association cortex that holds information temporarily until it can be used or disposed of. “We don’t necessarily internalize all that we see. In fact, much of the sensory information we’re bombarded with minute-by-minute is ignored–out of necessity. We can’t possibly process all that life throws at us on a conscious level. Encoding information is not necessarily automatic, particularly when we are attending to internal matters that distract us from external stimuli.” (Jensen & Markowitz pg. 150) As is suggested on the map thousands of pieces of information are registered but it is impossible to retain more than a very small number at one time. Our short term memory space is developmental and many scientists confirm that the # 7 is still the magic memory number. Our developmental memory space is defined primarily by our age and by the time we are 15 that aspect of our memory is fully developed. The following chart indicates the age/memory space correlation:

Age: 3 5 7 9 11 13 15

#Memory Spaces: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
(+ or – 2 spaces)

Two spaces are added or deleted depending on interest, prior knowledge or other extenuating circumstances. The magic 7 is essential for students to understand. At times they cram and try to take a vast array of material in quickly without realizing that there are limitations to how much information can be transported through the system at one time. We also need to understand that the most dynamic and enduring learning happens when multiple memory lanes are activated regularly.
“It is now known that there are multiple memory systems in the brain, each devoted to different memory functions. The brain system that allowed me to learn to hit a baseball is different from the one that allows me to remember trying to hit the ball and failing, and this is different still from the system that made me tense and anxious when I stepped up to the plate after having been beaned the last time up. Though these are each forms of long-term memory (memory that lasts more than a few seconds), they are mediated by different neural networks. Different kinds of memory, like different kinds of emotions and different kinds of sensations, come out of different brain systems.” (LeDoux pg. 180) Because different systems are stimulated to encode and recall using different triggers or cues it is essential to understand all the avenues by which we are able to store long-term memory. Scientists warn that if we store information in one avenue and try to retrieve from another we are doomed to failure. Sprenger uses the analogy of the supermarket. If you are searching for bread you can look in the fish section for an eternity. Unless you end up trying to retrieve from the same place you encoded it becomes an impossible task. So often students know so much more than they are able to demonstrate on an examination and often it is because they are searching for the information without knowing where to look or where they initially put the lost information. It is one thing to fail an exam because you went to the movies all semester instead of working on your course but it is another thing to have spent hours every evening working just to find yourself worse off than when you began. I have worked with hundreds of students who were preparing for their diploma examinations who were so frustrated because of the numbers of hours they were working for very little gain. Ninety nine percent of these students knew their curriculum quite well but had no way of studying and controlling the large amount of information they needed to synthesize for a major examination, like a diploma exam. Studying and memory techniques often made a difference of 30 or 40 % gain in marks. I cannot stress strongly enough learning techniques must be presented along with any curriculum. “Studies conducted at various universities around the world have generally concluded that people who are asked to memorize a thirty-item list without using any learning strategies are usually capable of recalling about ten items. The number increases, however, to twenty items (100% improvement) when the subjects are taught a few basic mnemonic strategies; and those using multiple strategies are able to memorize all of the items most of the time-a 150 percent increase.” (Jensen & Markowitz pg.88) We cannot continue to leave our students on their own when it comes to learning techniques mistakenly thinking if we cover the curriculum we have completed our task!!!! “The human brain perceives and processes an astounding quantity of sensory information fuelled by about 100 billion NEURONS that have the capacity to make trillions of cellular connections. It is these cellular connections building on one another that activate learning, consciousness, intelligence, and memory. Like a snowball gathering speed and density as it travels downhill, your memory grows exponentially with use, and it is highly unlikely to ever reach full capacity. The more learning you do, the more associations your memory can grab onto. You are unconsciously improving your memory every moment that you are alive. The degree of memory enhancement you can achieve by learning about your memory and memory strategies is profound…..You will become aware of your own distinct preferences, organizational techniques, concentration abilities, and attention patterns that clearly impact your memory.” (Jensen & Markowitz pg. 16-17)

The following summary of the memory avenues scientists now recognize will assist in aiding our students record,retain and retrieve information more efficiently. ( refer  above to Memory Process Map) The following charts offer an elaboration of the section of the map related to long term memory storage and also offer more strategies that could be included in the section of the map entitled ‘3 Stage Process.’ We need to understand the areas of the memory process more clearly to ensure we can assist our students in gaining more efficient strategies. Each stage and each level requires information to be processed in such a way that it can be easily retrieved. When we do not honor the unique characteristics of our memory, we find ourselves searching for information we are positive is registered somewhere, in our mind. If we are in a situation where we must give a command performance (ie exam) we must be able to file information in such a way that it is easily retrieved.
Long Term Memory Avenues
Gateway to Stored Information
(Jensen , Jensen & Markowitz, Sapolsky, Sprenger)

Explicit (voluntary)

Semantic Episodic

*words *location driven
*symbols *events
*facts *circumstances
*abstractions *contextual/spatial
*requires practice *unlimited capacity
*consistent
rehearsal
*several
repetitions

Implicit (involuntary/compulsive)

Procedural Emotional Reflexive/ Automatic
*‘muscle memory’ *most powerful *physical skills *pleasure to trauma *nonconscious
*body learning *takes precedence *automated
*ie. riding a bicycle over all other *hot stove
memory

Sensory
Conditioning
Flashbulb
*many repetitions
*extreme emotion *flash cards
*frozen in time *alphabet
*decoding
eventually
*reading not
comprehension
Explicit/Implicit Memory

The memory avenues we have at our disposal to aid in long term memory storage contain either explicit or implicit memory. These two memory avenues are then subdivided to further fine tune our understanding of this complex process.
“…. the operation of two different memory systems …one involved in forming memories of experiences and making those memories available for conscious recollection at some later time, and another operating outside of consciousness and controlling behavior without explicit awareness of the past learning.”(LeDoux pg.181)
Explicit Implicit
Hippocampus Cerebellum
Short term Storage Becomes a natural procedure
Links to the nervous system

* learn piano * automatic
watch your fingers play naturally
count
slow

* climbing stairs when age 2 * run up and down without thought
slow,every step a thought do it while talking etc.

* learn a dance step * glide
count steps talk to your partner etc.
watch feet

(Jensen , Jensen & Markowitz, Sapolsky, Sprenger)
“Memories can be transferred between explicit and implicit forms of storage. for example, you are learning a new, difficult passage from a piece of piano music. Each time that stretch approaches, you must consciously, explicitly remember what to do-tuck you elbow in, bring your thumb way underneath after that trill. And one day, while playing, you realize you just barrelled through that section flawlessly, without having to think about it; you did it with implicit, rather than explicit, memory. Memory can be dramatically disrupted if you intermix implicit and explicit memories.”(Sapolsky p171)
3 Stage Process

As in the learning process and in dynamic assessment the three stages of processing information run parallel. We must first retain or encode the information. If you do not successfully process the incoming information it is impossible to continue. Once however the information is encoded we can begin to work with it. In the memory process retaining the information becomes a matter of working with or familiarizing other areas to make connections and associations in order for the information to be fresh and accessible. The third stage although not as time consuming is no less essential. If we are unable to retrieve the encoded information when we need it we might as well have spent our time at the movies. We need efficient strategies to assist us in finding what we often know is right on the tip of our tongues or remembering the information that was perfectly intact yesterday. “To forget something, you only have to fail at any one of the three stages–recording, retaining, or retrieving–but to remember something you have to succeed at all three of these stages. It’s a wonder we ever remember anything accurately. Even when a person’s memory seems to be distorted, they may be accurately recalling what was encoded into it….If this complex network called memory is made up of feelings, moods, thoughts, words, sensory perceptions, emotions, imagination, and intellect, can we expect it to be impervious to influence and interpretation?…” (Jensen & Markowitz pg. 147) It becomes, again, essential to be aware of strategies and unique qualities of each stage of the memory process. This is where our active involvement can really begin strengthening the knowledge base we have giving us more control over the learning process.

Record Retain Retrieve

* intend to remember * sleep * visualize
* positive attitude * learn,activity, learn * call up study map
* interact with material ie. * personalize/MI/Style * key words
doodle, map, note- * self-questioning * colors
take, tape, group * self-test- verbally * group headings
* visualize or written * retrieve by differences
* file by similarity * external aids- notes * mnemonics, rhymes…
* map while reading/ tapes, groups * ‘state’- time, place
listening * synthesize all materials situation
* multi-memory techniques combine notes, * link known to unknown
* preferred buffer system lectures, readings * recall abstract to concrete * preexposure- reading, discussion, old * group/team exam
video, experts exams * peripherals /cues
* link to prior knowledge * abstract to concrete * rehearse prior to exam,
* repetition/self recitation * link known to unknown pace, talk, sing, chant
* play with /reorganize * learning ‘chunks’
* associate to existing * create memorable
knowledge connections-unique
*team assignment funny, personally
* new learning ,exotic relevant
strange, unusual * settling time-frequent
* manipulate short breaks /
* adrenaline/new learning movement
cross-laterals
Across all three stages———————->——————->——- >
*relax-stop-water-regroup ———————————————>
* patterns————————> * prior activities——————->* students link
* time /learning takes place over time!!! ———————————————>
* abstract to concrete ———————————————>
* grouping / categories/ organize/ color/ reorganize ————————————>
* whole brain study technique ———————————————>
* color as the message ———————————————> * Ebbinghaus Review 10 minutes
48 hours
one week
one month etc. ——————————————–>
* map entire unit, year ——————————————–>
* simulation/role play ——————————————–>
* personal connection/journal/notes ——————————————–>
* thematic units and integrated curriculum
enhance memory process, multi-
memory hooks, prior knowledge,
provide more associations and
connections ——————————————–>
Convergence
Convergence is the most current explanation that scientists give to explain how our brain retrieves information to form a seemingly disorganized mass of neurons and synaptic connections into an organized thoughtful way of processing information. Dr. Robert Sapolsky (Brain Conference Jan 2000) explains simply and eloquently about convergence using the example of someone trying to remember the word ‘IMPRESSIONIST.’ Observe, following the diagram at points A, B, D & E the subject calls to memory names or characteristics of the impressionist movement. These advance the subject closer, however,the actual term is not yet established. A,B,D & E reside in a ‘bundle’ and all add some pertinent information to the thought process, however, each comes close, but does not meet what the individual is searching for. Even F helps because it reminds us what the impressionists are not. This explains why we sometimes come up with a word that is close but not exact. The brain begins to call up everything in the general vicinity until finally we hit C Impressionists. The information converges and we finally locate the exact response we were searching for.

Convergence explains why one of the most important strategies to teach students is how to group, categorize or reorganize information into meaningful chunks. Unless students learn to group the material they need to commit to long term memory they may have difficulty finding it again. Notice on the Memory Map that a multitude of information entered the buffer area of the brain but we produced, synthesized,organized and converted the beauty, color, feeling and sensations to one superb painting.

C Impressionists
Monet

B Degas D Renoir Ballet Sunlight
Pastels Shimmering light
Sparkling light

Muted ,Soft
Beyond realism E
No picturesque effects Sombre color Diaphanous Realism A Pissaro Millet F

Memory and Stress

In my role as a Resource Teacher I have had the opportunity to see hundreds of students who thought they had poor memories and most of them were under the mistaken impression that they could do nothing about the situation.They felt so overwhelmed by the amount of information they had not conquered it was as if they were buried beneath an avalanche of facts with no lifesaving equipment in sight. I often would offer a series of workshops dealing with memory issues in hopes that students would begin to reconnect with the learning process by beginning to see they could control the information being dispensed in record amounts. A number of these students had just given up.They were defeated.

One young woman I remember very clearly was a most tragic example of this ‘avalanche’ phenomenon. She had spent 12 years in school always feeling rushed, overwhelmed and eventually tactful experts had delicately suggested she was incapable of meeting even the most basic classroom requirements. She and her family were under the impression that other than her quiet compliance and unending family support she had very little else to recommend her as a student. The evidence seemed overwhelming. As a grade 12 age student she was still unable to write one page of material without having 90% of it be totally incomprehensible. If she wrote a 100 word response to a film she viewed there would be very few words even she could make out. She took everything she was working on and would continue, at home, well into the night with the help of her brother and parents. Even with those three people helping her the material she produced was often a very crude interpretation of the original assignment. We worked with her for about a year and beginning our second year together I was beginning to wonder if I would be able to make any headway at all with her. I feared we would never find a technique to help her begin to process information more efficiently. We kept valiantly encouraging her but became more puzzled daily until she joined a group of students for a five session memory workshop. I was a little worried about her because most of the students in the group were very good (probably honor students) all wishing to gain a few extra skills to help them tackle their diploma exams. I hoped she would not feel out of place. She lasted all five sessions and at the end she had the answer I had been searching for over a year. At the end of the sessions she asked “Can stress cause you to have a poor memory?” That was it!!! For twelve years we’d all been looking somewhere else. Our hearts were in the right place but this intelligent little being inside this damaged learning machine had been shrinking farther and farther away every year from an image of herself as a learner and the learning disabilities she did have became enormous obstacles rather than hurdles to be scaled. In her grade 12 year she finally could help us help her understand how to conquer her learning hurdles. By the end of the year we could actually read half of the words she was writing and she was making gains at an astoundingly quick pace. Stress had been the initial obstacle compounding, yearly, the rate at which she got behind. As Jensen so aptly explains “Sometimes even after the learner is provided with plenty of opportunity for experimentation and interaction, the memory trace is still not strong enough to be activated. Additional factors that contribute to the issue of retrievability include adequate rest, emotional intensity, context, nutrition, quality and quantity of associations, stage of development, learner states, and prior learning. All of these encoding factors play a vital role in the depth of processing and learning that occurs.” ( Jensen 2000 p37)

I have always worked with fragile learners or gifted learners wanting to understand how better to master their own learning. The difference between the two groups is often high anxiety. Many fragile learners are dealing with issues that have so eroded their confidence in themselves as learners they have just shut down. Scientists tell us that this is a natural response.“The amygdala initiates the stress response, causing the release of the stress chemicals that block thinking.” (Sprenger pg. 39)
We understand that the learning of students who live in stressful environments can adversely affect their ability to profit from the teaching and learning process and we understand that those students with learning concerns will be under relatively more stress than normally expected however we sometimes do not realize that we can unwittingly cause unacceptable stress in harmless ways. With only the best of intentions we sometime cause students to be unable to reach their full potential because of the way we approach them or the learning situation. One seemingly harmless example is the ‘infamous’ pop quiz. “Pop quizzes may easily trigger a stress response in students….Their fear of not finishing and their anger with you could have kept many of them from accessing the particular brain areas they needed for the assignment. They remained in the limbic area with their emotions rather than reaching the neocortex and their thinking and memory skills…Although much about the brain is unknown, some things are relatively easy to understand. We know that the neocortex is where we think, plan, remember, organize, and formulate sensible answers to problems. We know that the limbic area of the brain is where we deal with our feelings. Those feelings will always take priority over anything else….Emotions will always take priority over anything else…..Because our emotions may very well be the force behind what we pay attention to, it is crucial that educators understand and deal with emotions first (Sylwester, 1997a).” (Sprenger pg. 41)

Memory Strategies

The following section offers a series of quotations from current memory researchers that propose practical strategies that apply to the memory process.
Semantic Strategies Episodic Strategies

*operate word for word *location driven
*chunk, group material *return to or remember the location
*graphic organizers *retrace steps
*maps *visual overview near learning area
*time lines (peripherals)
*paraphrasing *color code
*mneumonics *field trips
*role playing
*simulations
*visual representation Procedural Strategies
*self-questioning
*peer teaching *repeated frequently enough to
*walk/talk become automatic
*color code words,equations etc. *movement & learning
*image association *role play
*linking techniques *dance, stand up, pace & recite
Emotional Strategies Automatic Strategies

*connect to self *simple associations
*engage significant associations *rhymes
*songs (curriculum content) *songs, raps, poems
*link to strong emotions both *repetition
positive & negative *celebrate beginning & end of a unit
(Jensen, Le Doux, Sprenger)

“Since it’s normal for children’s cognitive development to fluctuate by up to three years, parents and teachers should remain patient and flexible, and watch for signs of mental readiness–a precursor to learning. When a child is ready, introducing strategies, such as rehearsing, classifying things into categories, suggesting solutions to real problems, making up mnemonic associations and discussing how to remember things, can help them develop a sense of memory control….Emphasize learning from past experiences. Engage them in puzzles, games (chess is excellent), and toys that emphasize matching, discovery, and recall. Attach rhymes to concepts you want them to remember. At this stage bringing a sense of joy to the learning process is very important. Remember that the older the child is, the more “chunks” of information they can handle.” (Jensen & Markowitz pg. 97)

“Recent brain research has confirmed what experts have always claimed: Our brain is capable beyond our wildest expectations. In fact, some scientists estimate that the average brain can hold as many as one quadrillion bits (that’s 1 followed by 15 zeros) of information in long-term memory….Our brain, however, are designed to retain meaningful versus random bits of information….This strategy, called CHUNKING, demonstrates how the brain can be trained to work more efficiently-to process and recall greater quantities of data. ” (Jensen & Markowitz pg. 43-44)

“The brain is not designed to learn non-stop; it demands rest. In fact, as sort of a built-in rest mechanism the brain alternates energy consumption between the left and right hemispheres every ninety minutes or so. This body/mind rhythm is called an ultradian cycle. As a result of this alternating activity-rest cycle, tasks that are related more to the left side of the brain (sequential learning, understanding language, computing, and judgment) may be easier for you during a time when the left hemisphere is operating at peak efficiency. learning periods need to be interspersed with breaks for processing the material. it is during downtime that the brain synthesized the learning and taps into the inner wiring necessary for memory connectivity and recall…Since learning is a biological process that literally changes the brain’s configuration-making new synaptic connections and strengthening well-used ones-rest in also essential to optimal brain functioning. Thus, studying in forty-five to ninety minute segments with a fifteen-minute break in between increases learning efficiency since our daily highs and lows run about forty-five minutes apart.”
( Jensen & Markowitz p67)

As Sousa suggests “We file by similarity; we retrieve by difference.” (Sousa p72)

“The more learning is generalized, contextualized, and reframed the more the learner ‘owns’ it. Deep learning requires usage and feedback. Over time the meaning of the material expands; and the learner develops a level of expertise.” ( Jensen 2000 p112)
“We tend to remember things we recorded in a particular mood when we are in the same mood (state-dependency); likewise, our recall of information increases when the retrieval cue is accessible. If the retrieval cue is inaccessible, so is the memory. This is why going back to the scene of a crime is a good way to induce eyewitness memory. Most of us have experienced the recovery of a retrieval cue prompted by simply returning to the prior setting.” (Jensen & Markowitz pg. 149)

“Researcher Bob Stickgold at Harvard University (1997) suggests that sleep time may affect the previous day’s learning. By cutting nighttime sleep by as little as two hours, your ability to recall may be impaired the next day. The more complicated and complex the material is, the more important sleep is to the learning of it. It is believed that sleep gives your brain time to do its housekeeping- to rearrange circuits, clean out extraneous mental debris, and process emotional events.” ( Jensen 2000 p51)
“ Many psychologists believe that memories are stored in associative networks, cognitive structures in which the various components of the memory are each separately represented and linked together. In order for a memory to appear in consciousness, the associative network has to reach a certain level of activation, which occurs as a function of the number of components of the memory that are activated and the weight of each activated component. The weight of a component is the contribution that it makes to the overall memory in the network. Things that are essential aspects of a memory will have stronger weights than things that are less essential. The more cues that were present during learning that are also present during remembering, and the stronger the weights of the memory components that are activated by the cues present during remembering, the more likely it is that the memory will occur….The match between the current emotional state and the emotional state stored as part of the explicit memory facilitates the activation of the explicit memory. Co-activation of implicit emotional memory may thus help the explicit system during remembering as well as during learning.” (LeDoux pg. 212-213)
“Pay extra attention to information presented in the middle of a learning session as the natural tendency of the brain is to remember what’s presented in the beginning and end.” (Jensen & Markowitz p186)
In the book The Hippocampus as a Cognitive Map by O’Keefe and Nadel they look at two groups of learners and their retention of new material over a fourteen day period. The learners who were given only direct instruction from day one to day 14 lost approximately well over 60 % of the learning while the learners who were in the direct instruction combined with peripherals for 14 day retained double the information as they were able to relate current material to previous learning and were not only able to retain the new learning but were able to increase it.“The brain absorbs information from surrounding peripherals on a conscious and unconscious level. Although many of us commonly use peripherals (or items of visual interest in the environment), they may support learning even more than we realize. Since colors, decorative elements, ,sounds, smells,and other stimuli are processed by the brain on a priority basis,these elements should be considered important in the planning of optimal learning environments.” ( Jensen 2000 p59)

Recalling the place (e.g., a specific room in a house) in which you learned a person’s name will help access the name, because the two are connected by neural networks. This is similar to taking a photo of a person standing against a background….Be careful to learn things under conditions that are easy to replicate when you need to remember them……When you are trying to teach job-related skills, create a learning environment that approximates the conditions on the job.” (Howard pg. 250-251)
“We acquire one or two bits of information per second during concentrated study; by midlife we have acquired roughly 10 to the 9th bits. Our average brain capacity is 2.8 x 10 to the twentieth, or approximately ten million volumes (books) of a thousand pages each…..Each memory seems to be stored throughout the brain, rather than in a single confined location. Apparently, memories hook on to related networks of other memories, so that for example, redheads are all somehow loosely tied together in your storage, and you can dump out a long list of redheads upon request….So there appears to be no one location within the cortex for memory storage; instead, each memory seems to have an extensive set of backups…..After a learning episode of an hour or so, take a break and do something to pump up your epinephrine levels: walk about, do isometrics, climb some stairs, do laundry, move some boxes-anything that will generate epinephrine and norepinephrine to help fix the memory. Then go back and review the old material before going on to something new….Making the effort to reorganize new material you’ve read or heard about is, in itself, a form of stress that will help you convert the material to long-term memory….Take notes on material you wish to remember.” (Howard pg. 244-245)

The three strategies of remembering
Minninger (1984) has catagorized all the many memorization gimmicks into three categories: intend, file, and rehearse. This approach has been around for some time. Erasmus wrote in 1512, “Though I do not deny that memory can be helped by places and images, yet the best memory is based on three important things: namely study (rehearse), order (file), and care (intend).” Intend to remember something; that is, don’t assume that it’ll just stick after exposure-you need to make a point of wanting to remember it. File it by organizing it and playing with it in your own special way. And rehearse it, or practice it, as a way to showing that you intend to remember it. Do it and say it repeatedly…..Before reading an article or book, preread it by reviewing section heading, pictures, charts, graphs, figures, appendixes, and bibliography to get a feeling for how it is laid out and what it covers. This will serve as a kind of advance organizer that will make the reading more meaningful…..Before taking a course or workshop, do all you can to be ready to receive the material: review the course syllabus if it is available: familiarize yourself with the course outline, agenda, handouts, or bibliography if you can; and read relevant material suggested by a librarian, the instructor, the bibliography, graduates of the course, or common sense. Contact other prior participants to discuss what they learned…..Once you’ve decided to memorize information, one way to show your intention is to chunk it and learn the chunks. Divide and conquer.” (Howard pg. 247-248)
“The Ebbinghaus Curve was charted, which as you’ll see… suggests that over half of new information learned or assimilated is already forgotten one hour later; and a month later, 80 percent of it has evaporated (Ebbinghaus 1964). One key to memory accuracy, therefore, may be its timely retrieval. This is why repetition in learning is so important.” (Jensen & Markowitz pg. 151)