Jai is an 11 year old boy who is articulate and enjoys Sports. His teachers and parents say that he understands concepts in Math when taught in school or when his parents sit down and explain things to him. However, he forgets things the next day and it is very frustrating for Jai because he has to keep going back and practicing his Math concepts.
Ria is a 8 year old girl who is a born story-teller. She has great ideas to share with her teachers during classroom discussions and what we at Inventure call ‘Publishing Conferences’.* The teachers are worried that when it comes to writing her drafts she barely writes one-fourth of what she has said. She says ,”I forgot what I said”!
Sohail is a 14 year old boy. His parents say that he is still extremely playful and the only thing that he focuses on are online games. He is extremely empathetic and really enjoys participating in community service projects. Just recently, he was working on creating resources for the community service project at home when his friends called him and he completely forgot about the project. The next day he was unable to take his resource kit to school.
Do these stories sound familiar? These are all examples of learners who need to build on their memory – working memory to be more precise.
What is working memory?
It refers to the information that we take in from the environment around us and how we are able to use that information to learn, follow instructions and routines in and outside the classroom. It impacts all aspects of our lives, not just academics.
At Inventure Academy, we encourage regular physical activity and good nutrition, which both feed directly into strengthening a child’s brain. More specifically, we follow achild-centric model of education, and many of our classroom practices are geared towards active learning and the different learning styles which have the added benefit of enhancing working memory.
If you’re wondering how to improve your child’s memory, read on.
10 tips to improve memory power
Follow these tips to sharpen your child’s brain power and effectively boost their memory:
Multi-sensory learning– This is a way of learning that engages more than one sense at a time and helps to make a child’s memory sharper. Most of us have heard of different learning styles. Hands-on learning like Project Based Learning activities enable learners to explore and construct their own knowledge. Encourage children to engage all their senses- put up the formula sheets for Math on a wall at home, create a rhyme around it for them to hear, ask them to write it down using a sketch-pen to stimulate the learning pathways.
Fun games that enhance memory– Board and card games are a great way to develop working memory in children. Games like UNO and Go Fish require children to remember the rules of the game, the cards they have and the others have discarded. Matching games and puzzles are also very effective and a fantastic way to have family time together.
What you teach you never forget– Ask your child to teach you the concept, they will never forget it again! The ‘Teacher-Teacher’ that we used to play with our peers and parents in our heydays is a classic example. This works well in sports- ask your child to teach you how to dribble the basketball and shoot- kids love to teach their parents, plus it’s a great way to practice.
Visualisation skills– This is a creative way of learning. Parents can encourage children to create mental pictures of what they have just read and heard. For younger children, drawing a mental image is a great starting point and a lot of fun. Using mnemonic devices and acronyms help to consolidate information better which aids in increasing memory power.
Chunking information– It is always easier to remember information that is precise and organised. Keeping instructions simple will always help children to remember better. For example- first…second.. etc. Teachers use graphic organisers and mind-maps in the classroom to ensure that information is presented to learners in a cohesive manner. The graphic organizer worksheets used in English poetry, the mind-maps in History and Geography are great ways to learn and retain information.
Take care of the basics– Reducing gadget and screen time impacts focus and attention, and therefore memory. Ensure that children eat healthy, exercise or go out to play, and sleep well. Allow your child time to unwind after school by doing a favourite activity or just engaging them in conversations about their day. A healthy and happy child is an engaged learner and has a better memory for everything.
Active learning– Most kids enjoy using highlighters, sticky notes and colorful pens. Active learning strategies like making jots after reading the novel in English or underlining key facts in Science and Math help children focus on the essential and retain the information longer. Asking meaningful questions or elaborating information that they have learnt is another great way to make learning effective.
Real life connections– Learning becomes interesting and meaningful when students are able to apply it in real life situations. At Inventure, going to the Makerspace and working on hand-on projects, learning the names of fruits and colours in different languages like Hindi, Kannada, French or Spanish, or going on a field trip to a museum, makes learning fun and enables learners to take the knowledge out of the classrooms and see its practical application, while also sharpening their memory.
Write down things that are most important– Encourage children to use calendars or diaries to keep track of important dates and things like deadlines, submission dates, important dates for co-curricular activities, etc. Place these at a prominent place. This is an easy way to ensure that crucial information does not get missed.
Establish routines– German psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus spoke about the forgetting curve, i.e. the ability of the brain to retain information over time. Repetition and routines are a very effective way to give children a sense of comfort and boost their memory. For example, packing their books and stationery every evening or practicing spellings everyday is a great way to learn effectively.
Why can’t you remember?
We just did this yesterday?
You need to focus more !
These are common refrains that a lot of parents have. Working on simple activities to enhance working memory can help our children improve their memory and increase their brain power, too.
- Working memory is the ability to retain, process and use information that we receive from our environment.
- It impacts the way we learn and engage in academic and non-academic tasks in our daily life.
- Memory is dynamic and can be strengthened over time through simple activities.