How can I use Chunking as an Effective Memory Strategy in the Classroom?

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Grouping information in the process of chunking acts as an effective memory strategy.Memorizing and recollecting information is a challenge in every classroom. Remembering dates, long lists of numbers and events can be taxing for some students. For students with such difficulty, learning the memory strategy “chunking” may prove very useful.

Chunking is the technique of organizing or combining individual pieces of information into “chunks.” This facilitates easy retrieval of the information as students have to memorize the chunks instead of the individual information. These chunks also act as cues, allowing for easy recollection of information.

How to Chunk

While teaching students how to chunk, it is important that we teach them the three main parts, i.e. identifying the chunks, grouping and memorizing the chunks, and retrieval of chunks.

Identifying the chunks: The students here have to identify similarities or patterns in the information based on which they can group it. For example, they can categorize information based on events, dates, influencing factors, etc.

Grouping and memorizing the chunks: Once the similarities have been identified, students can group or organize the information into chunks and memorize them.

Retrieval of chunks: When necessary, students have to remember the type of chunk in order to retrieve the information. For example, what events happened in 1947? Or, what are the factors that influence digestion? In these examples, ‘1947’ and ‘factors’ are the chunks or the cues by which students can easily recollect the information learned.

Integrating chunking as a memory strategy

Here are some tips on integrating chunking in your classroom:

Pictorial method: Display pictures of various objects like a pen, eraser, pencil, spoon, knife, fork, etc. Ask the students to find a common link between 2 or more objects, i.e. pen, eraser and pencil may be chunked as ‘stationary’ and fork, spoon and knife as ‘cutlery.’ Now show the student a picture of these two chunks at the end of class and ask them to recollect the objects that fall under these two chunks.

Index card method: In this method, students are required to memorize a list of historical events. Distribute a few blank index cards (as needed) to the class. Instruct students to chunk the events based on a pattern that emerges for them. Once this has been done, ask them to lay the cards face down on the table and list the events. If they require some help, they may use the index cards as cues. This method of writing down the chunks helps students memorize better and should be incorporated in daily learning.

Rapid fire round: Students can also use chunking in pairs. Just like in the previous methods, students have to chunk the information, note it on an index card and give it to their respective partner. The other student may quiz them on their index cards and students will know how much they have learnt.

As students learn the process of chunking, it will become easier for them to apply it in class and can, therefore, enhance learning.

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Discuss Here: How have you incorporated chunking as a memory strategy in your classroom?

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