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Memory

May 29, 2008

Hello again,

As I noted last time, Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy puts remembering as the first element in the learning process: we have to remember an item before we can understand it. How do we help students to etch the new material...

...on their memories?

Exercises that help students first to recognise the new material are a good start: using flashcards, copying, simple dictation are good ways of anchoring the items. You could then move on to exercises that have them locate the items. In a reading passage, for example, instead of going straight into comprehension questions, you could ask them to underline each example of the new material.

They need to record the items in their workbooks and it is a good idea to think of techniques such as memory maps and other graphic representations to help them engage their creative, right-brain a well their cognitive left-brain skills.

Try also to engage as many senses as possible. If the new items lend themselves to images, make these colourful or ask the students to colour in all the new items from rows of outlines. Use oral drills. Let them listen and to you or to recordings and get them to shout out as they hear the new items. Or have teams and let them compete to see who can count the correct number of items from a recorded passage. Find songs and chants if you can that incorporate the items. If you are using action verbs, get one student to act out the verb and the others identify the charade. If taste/smell is involved have a tray of items for a blindfolded student to identify by taste and smell.

In other words, the remembering stage is all about experiencing the new items in as many ways as possible so that they are implanted in the mind. Many schools will have the added tools of new technology and here you can get students to use the Internet, for example, to reinforce their memory. Try a search-engine to look for the new words, and see what images and texts they can find. In MicrosftWord or PowerPoint, search for images and make pages or slides of the items.

Why not share your own classroom activities that help students remember new material?

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