Sunday, 24 February 2013

Memory and Education

Blog is incomplete at the moment - plan on adding to it at a later date! 

Psychology has always interested me, particularly in regards to memory because I always question myself - was what I remembered true? Could I remember those faces if I saw them again? Did I lock the front door? Would I remember where the 'safe place' I put my money was?

So I started to look at what defined memory in itself, and I know there have been different models but who is to agree with any particular one? I'm sure they all cover at least one valid point!

I used the Oxford Dictionary (2010) to give me a definition of memory - 'The faculty by which the mind stores and remembers information'. But it isn't as simple as that, is it? You don't write a shopping list for the hell of it, you write it because your mind considers it not important enough to store.

Having read different web pages in the hope of coming across varied research, and studying Psychology in A-Level, I came to the conclusion that memory can vary in complexity, depth of the information and the length of time at which it is stored for.

Relating to education, memory improvement seemed most logical. Having looked at the links provided below, a number of strategies to improve memory became apparent, and I have tried to link these to education:

  • Chunking - a process where large pieces of information are broken down into smaller, more manageable chunks. In schools, children are asked to remember a lot of dates, particularly in History. A teacher could encourage a child to chunk relevant dates into a large number, allowing them to recall the dates with little difficulty - 193919451066 (1939 - World War 2 begins, 1945 - World War 2 finishes and 1066, the Battle of Hastings).
  • Cramming - This was not so much a memory improvement strategy, but one which was advised by most sources as to be avoided. Some sources, such as the BBC (2006) suggested that cramming was to be minimised to small amounts of time, and that this should be avoided if possible. From listening to others, it sounds like a lot of schools do not plan effectively ALWAYS, where a terms worth of work will be crammed into half a term because they over ran on another topic. Granted, this cannot always be helped but this will not improve a child's memory. 
  • Implementation intentions - These can also be known as cues, where an individual is encouraged to complete one process after another which the individual does without consciously remembering - an example with this was taking a tablet after a morning cup of tea, something which most people do in the morning. In schools, children could learn to use cues by looking at a particular piece of information at the same time each day (spellings before bed, for example) where children will repeat the process without noticing. 
  • External aids - This is something which schools can easily implement through the use of diaries, calendars, placing objects in conscious places (fruit by the door) to help children to improve their memory processes outside of school. Although, that does not have to be the case - these external aids can also be used inside of school.

Further Reading and References
Oxford Dictionaries (2010) 'Memory' , Oxford University Press [Online] Available at:

1 comment:

  1. A really great and interesting theory into memory and our ability to falsify information is something you probably touched upon during your A level, and that's the reliability, or rather lack of, of eyewitness testimony. Loftus' leading question theory provided such strong evidence that perhaps what we see and what we remember are extremely dependent upon situational cues.
    Memory is really interesting to study, but hard to put into practice! Just wait until you're revising for exams...!