Wednesday, August 3, 2011

One simple way to improve memory

What if your students had better memories?

They would learn more, and you would have to repeat yourself less? What if their memories were 10% better? That would be like adding 17 days to the school year! (10% of 170 days)

There is a simple way of improving memory that scientists have recently discovered (MacLeod et al., 2010). It is something you can do in the classroom, and takes almost no time!

What is the trick?

Saying things out loud - including mouthing them.

How might you use this in the classroom? Your imagination is the limit, but here are a few ideas:
  • When studying vocabulary words, make sure students mouth the words or whisper them
  • Before doing multi-step problem, have students repeat out loud to a partner the steps
  • Before a complex transition, have the students chorus key elements
  • Have students read out loud the morning routine a few times the first days of school
  • Have students read out loud to a partner, instead of in their heads sometimes
  • Have students say math facts out loud while they are writing them down

Motivation is important in making any change. Giving students a reason they can connect to will help them out. Have students brainstorm what they like to do after school and then ask them if they would like to have more time to play, and still get good grades. 

If you have students come up with their own reason why they want them to vocalize, they will be much more likely to buy in! 

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