Strategies for Improving Memory

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Memory is a complex function. Bits and pieces of a single memory are stored in different networks of neurons throughout the brain. The formation and recall of a memory is influenced by mood, surroundings, and the circumstances at the time a memory was formed or retrieved. A memory may be a little different each time we remember it.

Some of the strategies for improving memory of students and helping them remember important events and details are:

1. The 8-second rule.

Sometimes students can’t remember something because they never focused on it long enough to get the information into their memory banks. By practicing and strengthening students’ attention skills, their brains will have what it needs to retrieve the information later. A good rule of thumb is to focus for a minimum of eight seconds on things that needs to be remembered later.

2. Practice visualisation and association.

The human brain has a remarkable ability to process and retain images. Because of this, one of the good strategies for improving memory of the students is to assign mental pictures to ideas, names, information and even events that should be remembered.

3. Practice mental snapshots.

Give the students 3 seconds to take a mental “snapshot” of something. Then ask them to close their eyes or look away, reconstructing the snapshot in their mind and describing the details they see. In many ways, the brain is like a muscle. When we exercise a muscle by asking it to handle a weight or task beyond its comfort level, our muscle changes, developing more mass to be able to manage the same request better next time. When we exercise our brain – stretching it beyond its comfort level – the same thing happens: our brain changes, developing and strengthening neural connections, allowing our brain to handle similar requests more easily in the future.

What strategies do you use to help students’ memorize important things?

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