Today I am sharing ideas from an article I read in The Guardian, Teacher’s Network, by Jonathan Hancock*, world renown memory expert, author and teacher.
Remembering information isn’t something that just “happens”, it is a technique. As teachers, we provide lots of hands-on methods to help children understand the concept, and yes, they get the idea, but retaining the information sometimes needs a little prompting.
Teaching students memorization techniques is very useful throughout their lives. These tips take only a few minutes to implement but have long-lasting effects. They can be used across the curriculum for math, vocabulary, spelling, history, science, music and art.
- Excite your class about the prospect of learning how to remember. It will be fun because you will be using stories, pictures, rhymes and their own creativity.
- Prove that they already have amazing memories. Talk about song lyrics, rhymes, movies, and tell them our brain can store huge amounts of information.
- Get them to pay attention. Find a tool to use when you want them to remember something specific. Maybe a whistle or a bell or highlighting something. Make sure they stop and focus when they hear the sound.
- Explore the power of pictures. Instead of talking about Abraham Lincoln, use pictures to convey the idea and have students draw their own. Especially with vocabulary words, draw a picture of the meaning instead of writing it. The brain easily stores information in picture form.
- Activate their imagination. Teach them to visualize when they are listening to a story or enjoying music. Encourage children to share their pictures. This is very key to life. I see children on tablets, smart phones and TV where images are given to them. We don’t want our children to lose their ability to visualize and imagine and create.
- Teach the power of a good story. Explain how stories and data were remembered and passed on from generation to generation for thousands of years. Practice turning lists of words, names or facts into stories, where each item links to the next. (See my Memorizing the 13 Colonies blog as an example.)
- Play memory games. There are lots of games like “Alphabet Memory Matching Game”, or saying add/subtract rhymes and creating a clapping pattern with a friend.
- Keep in mind different learning styles of your students. Use memory techniques that reach audio, visual and kinesthetic learners.
- Ask students how they are going to remember an important fact. Maybe draw a picture, or link it with a story, or make it into a rhyme or act it out. Teach them to create their own memory aids.
- The most important thing to remember is to make certain the association between the fact and the process is easy to recall. Check up to see if they can still remember the fact a week later.
*Jonathan Hancock is a graduate of Oxford University, a double world record breaker and former World Memory Champion, and the author of ten books on memory and learning. He has demonstrated his learning techniques on numerous radio and TV programs, run memory training courses in business and education, and now works as a teacher in a busy city school