By Cori Washington, M.Ed./Ed.S.
There are at least two (2) types of memory - short term and long term. The short-term memory is the working memory, but only for temporary storage of information. It analyzes and keeps information just long enough to have it make sense. The meaning of words is then transferred into your long-term
Long-term memory is what we want to develop to improve learning. The goal is to master the 3 R's:
- Register new facts and commit them to long-term memory;
- Retain or store the facts in long-term memory;
- Recall the facts when you need them (Colin Rose, 1985)
THE MEMORY MODEL
This diagram shows a direct relationship between rehearsal and recalling information. Rehearsal involves repeating or hearing the information repeated rather than just listening to the words. Without rehearsal, it's the old saying, "In one ear and out the other!"
Your memory is like a library. You can easily find the information you need when it's filed or stored away systematically. When you rehearse new information, you're doing just that - storing new data systematically for easy recall or retrieval later. Research shows that the TIME spent in learning is directly related to the AMOUNT learned, BUT the WAY the time is spent and the WAY the information is presented has a major effect on the rate of learning. (Rose)
Tips for better recall from Jensen's accelerated learning method are: PAY ATTENTION, GET THE INFORMATION RIGHT, UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU'RE MEMORIZING, BE CREATIVE, PRACTICE UNDER ALL CONDITIONS, REDUCE INTERFERENCE, AND PRACTICE USING THE MATERIAL IN YOUR DAILY LIFE. The following techniques will help:
TIME AND STRESS-SAVING MEMORY AIDS:
- Before a study session, relax your body, do a "Brain Gym" exercise, eat something with protein, and play relaxation music.
- THINK OF YOUR MIND AS A MOVIE CAMERA, and whatever you read, create cartoon or mental pictures. TV and film makers do this all the time to plan scenes. Draw or mentally construct your own storyboard. (Ellis)
- LEARN FROM THE GENERAL TO THE SPECIFIC. Get a broad overview of the course from your textbook. Skim the entire text at the beginning of the course. Look over your reading assignment and get the big picture. It will help you to recall details easier. (Ellis)
- MAKE IT MEANINGFUL. Relate what you're learning to your personal goals.
- CREATE ASSOCIATION. Fit new material into what you already know. Gather as many similarities as you can and create one common association. (Ellis) Use Word association, Name games, or Extended metaphor.
- GET PHYSICAL. Create activity.
- When you sit at your desk, sit up.
- Experiment by sitting on the edge of your chair as if you were about to sprint across the room.
Consider standing when you study.
- Make gestures or act out scenes for emphasis.
- Pace the floor.
- Draw pictures in the air. (Ellis)
- VISUALIZE RELATIONSHIPS. Create pictures about things you want to learn. Draw diagrams. Make cartoons.
- Create action. Make something happen that is more familiar to you.
- Make pictures vivid. Exaggerate details and elements.
- Turn abstract ideas into concrete actions. Bizarre or unusual images help some people to remember. Find out what works for you. (Ellis)
- RECITE AND REPEAT. Do it aloud to make it physical and auditory, and to avoid the danger of overlooking gaps in your recall. (Ellis)
- RECITE AND TAPE. When you recite aloud, record your reading (including examples) in 4-second intervals. Pause, breathe out for 2 seconds, inhale for 2 seconds, hold your breath and recite for 4 more seconds (Ostrander, etal.).
- USE SUPERMEMORY. Supermemory is a method of suggestopedia or accelerated learning. #9 is one of the supermemory techniques.
- Do your relaxation exercises for about 5 minutes and affirm your ability to learn.
- Then silently read along with the material recited to you (playing your tape recorder back or having someone read to you.) Do this without music and breathing on the 8?beat cycle as in #9.
- Next, put your paper down, dim the lights, lean back, close your eyes, and listen to the same material recited again BUT THIS TIME WITH MUSIC. Pay attention to what is being said, breathe along with the recitation, breathing out and in during the silences, easily holding your breath as the information is delivered.
- As you become more comfortable with the technique, begin using visualization to further hook your memory.
- Finally, give yourself a short quiz after the session and try to use the information within the next few days. (Ostrander, etal)
- TAKE A BREAK after 40-50 minutes of study. Do something enjoyable.
- OVERLEARN. Learn more about the subject than you have to by reading other texts, talking to other people, etc. (Ellis) Eric Jensen suggests STUDYING THE WHOLE, NOT JUST THE PARTS. Even if you have to memorize only one part of a chapter, become familiar with all of it.
- BEWARE OF ATTITUDES. If you find a subject boring, it will be difficult to recall information read. (Ellis)
- BRAINSTORM. It will jog your memory when you're stuck, especially during a test. Remember something else when you get brainblocked. Try to remember something related that you know you know! (Ellis)
- MNEMONIC DEVICES. These are tricks that help you to recall: new words, creative sentences, rhymes and songs, and speeches.
- CHUNKING. 7 is a magic number for short-term memory. Instead of trying to absorb a volume of information in one string, divide it into chunks. Rather than 493.862.7121, try 493.862.7121. You already remembered the alphabet and phone numbers this way. (Rose)
- Rhythm and Rhyme and mnemonics. An example is "30 days has September..." Make a rap song about your studies.
- MEMORY PEGS are another form of mnemonics. Learning 10 words in association with the numbers 1?10. Have the words rhyme with the numbers because you will never forget the numbers. (Hoehn & Sayer)
- STUDY CONTRASTING SUBJECTS. DO NOT STUDY TWO SIMILAR SUBJECTS BACK-TO-BACK Work on a dissimilar subject in between to allow your mind time to sort and categorize information for long-term storage and retrieval. (Jensen)
NOTE: B.E.M. Concept states that we remember material best from the beginning, second best from the end, and our recall is weakest on the middle. Therefore spend more time on the middle to allow for that tendency. (Jensen)
Ellis, David B., BECOMING A MASTER STUDENT, 5th Edition, College Survival, Inc.,
xxxxx Rapid City, SD, 1985.
Hoehn, Lilburn P., & Sayer, James E., KEYS TO COLLEGE SUCCESS, Mayfield Publishing
xxxxx Co, Mountain View, CA, 1989.
Jensen, Eric, STUDENT SUCCESS SECRETS, 3rd Edition, Barron's Educational I Series,
xxxxx Inc., Hauppauge, NY, 1989.
Ostrander, Sheila & Schroeder, Lynn, with Ostrander, Nancy, SUPER-LEARNING, Dell
xxxxx Publishing Co, Inc., New York, NY, 1979.
Rose, Colin, ACCELERATED LEARNING, 3rd Edition, Accelerated Learning Systems Ltd.,
xxxxx Gt. Missenden, Bucks, England, 1988.