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)

KD250E7419F_1000000

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)

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *