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Mnemonics

Mnemonics

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Published by Andrea Barroso

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Published by: Andrea Barroso on Jun 16, 2011
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Andrea BarrosoApril 30, 2007Final Paper
 Mnemonic Learning
 Introduction
Mnemonics are strategies for memorizing and assimilating information (Joyce etal., 2004, p. 28). Teachers use this strategy to help students learn and absorb informationeasily so that it can be recalled on a later date. Teachers can also teach different devicesso that students can choose which works best when studying, depending on the materialbeing studied. There is a common misconception that mnemonics is just likememorizing, which includes a repetitive, rote learning of just trivial information thatstudents will most likely not remember nor understand later on in life. This is not true.Mnemonics are used to help not just students, but adults as well, master concepts,remember names, etc.The memory model includes four phases. Phase one is attending to the material.Here, the teacher creates activities that require the learner to pay attention andconcentrate on what is being learned, basically focusing on the material that needs to beremembered. Teachers can use techniques of underlining, listing, and reflecting. Phasetwo is developing connections. Here, teachers apply different techniques on the materialbeing learned. Some techniques include link words, substitute words, and key words forlong passages. Phase three involves expanding sensory images. This is when the studentassociates the connections with something completely ridiculous and humorous, makingit easier for the student to remember the material. The final phase involves the student topractice recalling the material until it is completely learned.
 
There are tons of strategies and techniques and devices that are used whenlearning new material – some are completely original and used by that creator, others aremore universal. The following five strategies are universal and are used by lots of teachers. The first is association. A simple rule of thumb for association is to rememberthe new information by associating it with something you already know (Lorayne andLucas, 1974, p. 7). For example, I had a hard time with the spellings of dessert anddesert. My fourth grade teacher taught me a simple way to remember the spellings,“Dessert has two s’s because you always want more dessert, not desert.” The onedrawback with association is that it is very specific to that one particular thing.The next strategy is the link system. The general idea of this strategy is to createa link with two ideas, and then the second idea is linked to a third, and so on (Joyce et al.,2004, p. 28). This is best used when learning more than one idea or learning variousideas within a category. For example, you need to learn the following words: bed, bug,car, and tree. You would imagine unusual pictures, first with bed and bug, then bug andcar, and so forth. The first picture of bed and big, you would imagine a large bug jumping on a bed. The next picture would be the same large bug driving a car. You haveto make sure you really concentrate on making these images then visualize them so thatyou can make associations that link them in the same order.The third strategy, and probably the most fun, is ridiculous association. This isexactly like association, but enhancing the association to something vivid and ridiculouswill strengthen that association (Joyce et al., 2004, p. 28). There are several ways of doing this. The first is to apply the rule of substitution. If you have a bed and a bug,imagine the bug jumping on the bed. Second, apply the out of proportion rule. Make the
 
small bug 10 feet tall jumping on the bed. Third is applying the rule of exaggeration.Image millions of bugs jumping on the bed. Finally, incorporate action into the images.The next strategy is the substitute-word system. This strategy is a way of makingsomething you need to remember meaningful. Take a word that seems abstract and“think of something that sounds like or reminds you of that abstract word and picture it inyour mind” (Lorayne and Lucas, 1974, p. 21). For example, if you want to remember thename
 Darwin
, just visualize a dark wind. The final strategy is called key word. Keyword is selecting a word to represent a longer thought or several thoughts (Joyce, et al.2004, p. 149). This strategy is very similar to the substitute-word system in that a wordrepresents another thought or thoughts.
Philosophy
Although a theory of human memory has not been achieved, progress is beingmade (Estes, 1976, p. 11). Instructional principles have been developed whose goals areto teaching memorization strategies and to help students study more effectively (Joyce, etal. 2004, p. 137). Depending on what the teacher is focusing on in a lesson, a student willretain a certain amount of information. “Many items are presented to an individual in ashort time, and only those to which attention is directed enter into memory, and onlythose receiving rehearsal are maintained long enough to secure the processing necessaryto establish a basis for long-term recall” (Estes, 1976, p. 7). Basically, if you do not payattention to what you have to remember, you are most likely not going to remember itlater on. Also, you need to remember the information in a way that can be rehearsed forlater recall.

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