Memory Matters

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  • (10 minutes) This is a ‘thinking’ and ‘noticing’ activity – ask the students (in pairs or fours) to come up with an odd one out and a reason. I don’t think they will struggle to come up with something, even if it is highly creative! The main point of this activity at this stage in the lesson is to get them actively thinking and discussing straightaway before there’s too much talk from the teacher. Thematically, the pictures are significant (as students may or may not notice!) to memory in that all 4 of the pictures have a connection with memory but 3 of the pictures are to do with future memory i.e. ways to make sure that you remember things at some future point that you might forget. So knot in handkerchief, string around finger, written list, whereas elephants are just well-known for their excellent long-term memories. It is worth mentioning perhaps at this point that UNDERSTANDING and MEMORY are closely linked. You are much more likely to remember for a long time something you have understood well in the first place. Give them the example of this slide and say that you anticipate that they will have no problem telling you at the end of the session what the odd one out here is and why AND that they won’t have to work hard to remember. One of the reasons for that is that they have understood the ideas and connections represented by these pictures!
  • (3 minutes) Now we remind learners quickly of the main focus areas of Everlasting. We can encapsulate this by saying that this skill is about developing the best ways to fix new information in our memories and hold it there so that we can use it whenever we need it, whether for exams or daily life. In this session we’re going to develop this skill. We use our memories every day and without being aware of it. We don’t just do that when we’re trying to remember things we’ve learnt before, things we already know, we also use our memories when we’re trying to concentrate in a lesson, either to follow instructions or to hold on to new information from the teacher. This part of memory is called working memory. It only lasts for a very few seconds and it’s easy for the information to slip away even before we’ve had time to act on it. Example! I want you all to touch your left ear with your right hand, cross your right leg over your left leg, look at the person on your left and say the numbers 357986421.
  • (10 minutes) What helps here? 1) Having it written down so you can read it and go back to the step before if you forget. (importance of note taking for memory) 2) Having it chunked into 4 separate instructions, with the visual bullet points (importance of organising the information clearly). 3) Having visual prompts for the most important bits of information (importance of using visual symbols – especially those who have strong visual-spatial memories 4) Finding patterns in the information. Ask them – where are the patterns? Is there anything logical you can hold on to that makes something easier to remember. Here there are actually 2 useful patterns. First 2 instructions – it’s R does something to L. All 3 actions have movement towards the L. Also the number goes up in odd numbers, down in even and then just ends on 1. So you can chunk it like this: 3579 8642 1 Finally get learners to do this sequence again with you reading it and the slide showing. Then take away the support of the slide (i.e. move on to the blank one) and just repeat the words again. The point of this is to show a) the effectiveness of some of the strategies they’ve just worked on and b) the effectiveness of repetition – the old saying practice makes perfect has currency still!
  • (2 minutes) This slide is fairly self-explanatory.
  • I may need to draw on a line for Portugal here as it does look quite different from the other map’s outline shape!
  • This is just an example in Landscape – the real version in Portrait has more room for writing responses!
  • Plenary to see if students have remembered the words – ask them if they associate the picture with the word and also, if the whole map helps – i.e. the use of visual positioning as a trigger to memory.
  • Memory Matters

    1. 1. Memory matters Strategies to develop memory skills explicitly and improve learners’ retention Rachel Hawkes 2009-10
    2. 2. 1 3 4 6 2 Pronunciation Sentence-building Creativity Autonomy Memory 5 Performance Rachel Hawkes 2009-10
    3. 3. Memory Rachel Hawkes 2009-10 1 2 3 4 5 Essentials A memory assembly V isual Collective memory Everlasting A memory lesson A homework 6 7 8 9 A uditory K inaesthetic
    4. 4. How to activate the brain (Reticular Activating System – ‘new car syndrome’) The magic number 7 – a tale from Sweden! The value of humour Primacy and recency effect Your natural limits (ACS = age +/- 2 mins) A few things we know about the brain!
    5. 6. E verlasting <ul><li>Effectively using memory skills </li></ul><ul><li>Developing learning styles </li></ul><ul><li>Revising (well) </li></ul><ul><li>Self-evaluating </li></ul><ul><li>Transferring skills </li></ul><ul><li>Developing personal study skills </li></ul>
    6. 7. And again! <ul><li>touch your left ear with your right hand </li></ul><ul><li>cross your right leg over your left leg </li></ul><ul><li>look at the person on your left </li></ul><ul><li>say the numbers 357986421. </li></ul>357986421
    7. 8. Doing something actively whilst try to take in new information and then keep it there is widely thought to be much more effective that listening on its own. This additional activity serves as a ‘fixing agent’ and we have a higher chance of remembering the information . This could be: 1. Taking notes of key words 2. Organising the material by finding patterns 3. Putting the key pieces of information into a story 4. Repeating the key words in a distinctive way to yourself 5. Making anagrams yourself of the key words and making yourself work them out again The KEY is ELABORATION – making your brain work the knowledge – training the memory muscle
    8. 9. Homework ideas Lecture Reading Audio-Visual Demonstration Discussion Group Practice by Doing Immediate Use of Learning – Teach Others Source: Accelerated Learning Systems Ltd Average Retention Rate 5% 5% 10% 10% 20% 20% 30% 30% 50% 50% 75% 75% 90% 90%
    9. 12. Reflection Sheet Skill This means: Did you use this today? Give an example: Identification of vocabulary Finding out the meanings of words Memory Working out ways to store information in your mind and retrieve it again Planning and adapting a strategy Deciding how to do a task but perhaps changing your plan if necessary half way through Noticing Looking really hard to try to see all the relevant details Q1 What did you do to get the most out of your memory in this task? Q2 How effective were these strategies? What do you think is worth trying again in different situations? Q3 Choose one skill from the 4 above and write down how it might be useful in other subjects OR at home
    10. 14. Email: [email_address] Blog: www.rachelhawkes.typepad.com/linguacom Tel: 01223 262503 ext.222 My contact details

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