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The new Mind, Brain, & Education (MBE) SIG will bring forward a series of texts to address this young science that brings together three areas: neuroscience, psychology, and education. In this post, let’s look at how to maximize memory retention.
It’s no secret to any of us that studying hours and hours every day can overload our memories leaving us with very little to recall after just a couple of minutes. It is almost like trying to water a vase of basil with 5 pints of water, one after the other. The poor plant has no chance in absorbing all that water, nor does it need to.
My color-coded tags technique
1) They cannot fill in the gaps or answer anything in their books. They must do it on a separate sheet of paper (or a notebook, tablet, cell phone) and keep it away when they revise. They cannot look at any grammar box or explanations they have copied before. This way they’ll have to quiz themselves. According to the American Psychological Association, in a study checking effective study practices, it was found that rereading is not too effective. What works best is active retrieval or quizzing oneself, which means that seeing your previous answers will only give you a false sensation that you know the topic when, in reality, maybe you just remember answering the exercise. Quiz first, check later! Not the opposite (Kornell & Bjork, 2008).
2) If they can remember things fairly easily the next day, they can remove the RED/PINK tag and place it below the GREEN TAG. If they can’t remember things fairly easily, they must keep the RED/PINK tag at the top and try again the following day. When the YELLOW tag is up, they have to do the same with the RED/PINK tag. Remembered? Move the YELLOW tag down, below the GREEN and the RED/PINK ones. Couldn’t remember? Rescue the RED/PINK tag and replace the YELLOW tag with it. Same thing for the GREEN tag.
3) If they are having too much trouble remembering something, they must look for additional examples in their books or other materials (magazines, websites, other books, etc) and share with their classmates. If they can provide a short explanation about it (audio or video), that’s even better. Trying to explain something can help you form the right connections in your brain and spot where you have difficulties (Kornell & Bjork, 2008). We normally use WhatsApp and Edmodo to communicate;
4) These revisions need to be quick. Students shouldn’t spend more than 15 minutes per revision, otherwise, they’ll get frustrated when things overlap and it’ll accumulate to a degree that doesn’t work so effectively any longer. They have too much homework as it is already;
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