A teaching specialist lays out some good habits to improve memory.
One learning method leads to another
We memorize a list of jobs to do that day or things to buy at the supermarket, then we talk about something else and, within minutes, we’ve forgotten everything. A child learns a poem one day, but the next can only remember bits of it. Short-term memory is artificial, explains Lieury in his publication. The problem is that most students fall back on little tricks, some good some bad. That’s almost the definition of a student who’s cramming. Lieury reminds us that, as early as St. Augustine, thinkers sensed the limited capacity of memory.
To increase the life-span of what we learn, we need to increase our memory cues — and diversify them as well. There are several forms of memory and thus several learning methods to be used in conjunction. Lieury lays out several types of memory: lexical memory (also referred to as the “bodywork” of words … spelling and pronunciation); semantic memory (which concerns the overall meaning of what we learn; memory of faces; memory of images); and procedural memory (skills like swimming, riding a bike, driving a car which, barring accident, hardly ever leave us).
Lieury reminds us of good ways to improve our memory: by summarizing and prioritizing information, reformulating and organizing cues for recall, lists of reminders, and mnemonic techniques. From a very early age, a child who tells the family what he learned that day can put it into practice through a board game, return to it through a picture book or a story, and thus come out a winner in the memory lottery.
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