Practical Theory - The Origin
The Scholars in CyberEnglish
ToDaY's MeNu - Ted

Friday, July 15, 2011

Summer Reading - Chapter Ten

Eric Jensen's Teaching with the Brain in Mind Chapter Ten, "Memory and Recall"
My homework will involve the Flow Map.

The most important takeaway is that "memory is malleable." Our interaction with our students and their memory in learning at the point of original encoding, maintaining memory, and retrieving learning. We learn a lot more than we demonstrate and seem forgetful on ways we use to assess. The tests we give, don't give our students their due course. Project based assessment is far superior. These dumb tests teach us that these are dumb tests. Memories are dynamic and not fixed.

We remember anything related to survival, food, shelter, and people. Research shows that the details of the process of memory is a baffling intellectual labyrinth. There is no place for all our memories. We have multiple memory locations and systems which can cause us the problem especially when we destroy brain cells or have a brain injury.

There are many pathways to store and retrieve memory. The pathway is usually similar to learning pattern. Memories are either explicit or implicit. Explicit learning may be semantic, words and pictures, or episodic. Implicit memory are reflective and procedural as shown in above figure.

Semantic memory, explicit memory, AKA declarative, factual, and linguistic. This would be names, facts, figures, and textbook information. There is a limitation to this memory because of time and capacity. Working memory is crucial here. Sometimes we forget the name of someone we just met or the contents of a page just read. Working memory can hold two to three things at a time, NOT more as has been thought. Multitasking is over rated and not done well as we know. Notetaking and working with one electronic tool at a time are ways to improve working memory, learning, and attaining success. In class give simple directions one step at a time. Use worksheets to help students learn how to manage multiple steps at one time so as not to depend on our limited working memory. I'm always reminded about this when I set out to do something, am spoken to or have further input and when I get to where I need to be, I forget why I'm there. Usually I need to return to the starting place to rediscover what I was about to do.

Another kind of explicit memory is episodic memory. This memory relies on autobiographical, spatial, and event-laden material. Episodic memory has unlimited capacity, is effortless, is is used naturally by everyone. The caveat is that we can have overload of information that contaminates memory which will cause us to put information of one memory into another. Teachers can use movement, different seats, and different procedures in class to eliminate staleness.

Reflexive memory is an implicit memory, which is how we react to a siren, a tap on the knee by the doctor. Reflexive memory can be either emotional or non-emotional. Flashcard repetition or "over-learning" are good classroom strategies. Raps or fill in the blanks are also useful tools.

Procedural memory is another implicit memory. This is a habit, body, and motor memory method. Riding a bike comes to mind. This memory is activated by activities such as sports, theater, dance, games and the other kinetic things we do.

Memories are malleable. We do not remember everything we experience. Jensen suggests seven reasons why our memories fail us: transience (erosion over time), absent-mindedness (not paying attention), blocking (on tip of tongue), misattribution (confused by similar memories), suggestibility (contamination of other memories), bias (prejudices), persistence (negative memory becomes pervasive). There are events in your life that we never forget where we were, for example, 9/11, Challenger, JFK. Memories are not stored intact and will unravel or change over time.

Two different variables are used in memory formation and retrieval. More active memory are considered less consolidated than inactive ones, more fragile, subject to change, and harder to retrieve. synaptic consolidation happens within minutes to hours after initial learning occurs. Learning memories are high in choline found in eggs, salmon, lean beef to name a few. Diet becomes crucial in memory on all levels and in all aspects of learning.

Jensen suggests it is more about the student's attitude about memory and diet. Develop a more positive attitude and eat better.

The last two chapters are summations of what has been said before in conclusive manner. They offer good advice to new teachers in particular and for experienced teachers to refine their practice.

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