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The Psycho-Educational Teacher
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In these days where information travels faster than ever, being updated within seconds, we expect students to memorize, understand, and apply more facts and ideas than ever before. There are so many facts and concepts bombarding our brains that teachers and parents need to make sure that children know how to hold on to the important information they need to learn, so that they are better able to perform in the classroom and their knowledge base grows. As Sousa (2001) states, learning is the process by which we acquire knowledge, memory is the process by which we retain it. In this article, we present some teaching tips and learning strategies to help students organize and remember the information they need to learn so that they can achieve academically.
Kinds of Memory
Richards (2003) distinguishes between semantic or declarative memory and procedural memory. Semantic memory refers to the knowledge of facts, rules, and concepts, for example, symbols for words, rules for manipulating words, and the meaning of words. Procedural memory refers to
semantic memory defines and explains facts and ideas (i. Next. In other words.g. we give some teaching tips to help students memorize the information.procedures or steps to learn new skills. e. but seems to be an area of major difficulty for children with learning problems. how to use the long division algorithm to solve a long division problem. with a colored pencil. Make sure that students understand the meaning (relevancy) of the new information. we need to distinguish between short-term memory. so help children link the new information in some way to known material. apple. make sure that the new information makes sense and is meaningful to students. that is. Another way to add variety is to ask the child to write the spelling word in five different ways. APPLE. Teaching Tips to Stimulate Students’ Memory Students cannot remember what they do not understand. and apple. In addition. memorizing a spelling word using five different writing formats (e. being able to recall that same person’s name one year after. how to do things. throwing bean bags. on the chalkboard. procedural memory explains how to do something. A-PP-le. A new skill or concept is easier to learn and memorize if it fits into what children already know. Teachers of students with special needs know very well that most of our students are able to retrieve facts and information from short-term memory without difficulty. It is the way that students rehearse the new information or skill what helps in recalling. followed by learning strategies that students can use. for example. In rehearsing new concepts or skills.e. but struggle retrieving facts and information from long-term memory. and jumping the rope) is more effective than simply writing down the same spelling words twenty times in the same way. but children with learning disabilities require at least 200 practices to consolidate the exact same information in long-term memory. Only a few facts and information from our short-term memory move into our long-term memory. and long-term memory. the recalling of a person’s name within seconds of presentation. Simply put. typing. This is true for everybody. for example. at school and at home. or how the new information fits into children’s personal lives. for example. to stimulate their memory. For example.g. . not just how many times they practice. APP-le. The literature reviewed agrees that typical learners need about 40 rehearsals or practices to transfer information to long-term memory. add variety and novelty. what a fact or idea is).
Teach note-taking skills. To help students understand and remember bigger and/or more complex amounts of information. key phrases. flowcharts. present smaller bits of new information at a time and then require from students to practice what they have learned. or Relationships. you can write the main points. for example. Make sure that each practice is no longer than 30 minutes at a time. rather than trying to memorize exactly what the teacher said or what they read in the book. for example. explicitly tell students what is more important about the lecture. For example. if students are trying to consolidate verbal material. memorization is easier if they draw a diagram or write smaller bits on information on index cards that they can study visually. Democracy. Memory improves when students use multiple sensory pathways to learn the material. organize the new information around concepts. . When students are learning definitions or new concepts. outlines. Remember that when the learning material is both meaningful and organized is always easier to remember. On the other hand. and/or comparing and contrasting diagrams. if they write a short paragraph in their own words is more effective than trying to recall the information word-for-word. When you deliver your lessons. outlining. for example. cause and effect diagrams. bullet lists. when students are learning visual material. “These are the three points that you need to remember…” In addition. Give students practice in highlighting. Explicitly teach students how to use organization aids such as timelines. Change. Give practice in paraphrasing. from the social studies textbook. Concepts help students associate and link information that otherwise they would perceive as different and disconnected. and explain to students that information is easier to remember when they translate it into their own words. and summarizing important information. and/or key words on the chalkboard. Make sure students understand that they can remember definitions better if they use their own words.Short memorizing rehearsals are more productive than long ones. With students with special needs. Students with low writing skills can make a drawing or a sketch that illustrates the paragraph. and they help children see the bigger picture. they need to elaborate verbally on what they are seeing.
Reduce the information you need to remember by organizing it into a few categories. Relate the items from part to whole. You need to know how many items you need to remember (23) and how many groups of items are in the list (3). and the meats group. and/or what they do or their function. e. recalling a number series like. six vegetables. that is. but the same items are easier to recall if you put them in three groups. and the more examples you can think of. the purpose here is to handle smaller bits of information at a time.g. the better your chances of memorizing and learning the information. and nine fruits. think about what the name sounds like. think how the items go together. Group the information. the more details you add to the concept or topic. . or amphibians. In the previous example. how they sound alike. that is. the vegetables group. a fingernail is part of a finger. finding a similar theme and/or finding what is similar between the items.g. repeat it. Create associated pairs. e. Think about how you can create categories where you can put the items or concepts together. and link the new concept. It is harder to remember 23 items from the longer list. say it. the three categories are fruits. from a grocery list with 23 items. associate items that you commonly see together in the environment. Reduce the information into smaller chunks. and do it again. things that fly. Think of examples of what you are trying to remember. for example. you can create the fruits group. see it. vegetables. bodies of water. While you are trying to remember. The more connections you make. for example. e. e. create associations. For example. Similar to grouping.Learning Strategies to Stimulate Memory Rehearse the information. 482691653387 is easier when you split it into chunks like 4826 9165 and 3387. or what the name and other facts about the figure make you think of. look alike. like fish and ocean. Associate the information by linking it. and meat. placing similar items together. if you are learning about a historical figure. Think of something that connects with the new information. topic or theme to what you already know.g. eight meats.g. To help you create categories.
Delia. and eighth buildings on your neighborhood. for example. like a mental movie. Recall something from your past or from your environment that reminds you of the new idea or concept e. making the information local to what you already know. When we visualize. Number the steps. e.g. making a sketch and/or drawing symbols help in recalling. “This is like…” or “This reminds me of…” Think of ways that you can use the new idea or concept in your day-to-day experiences. or can be an example.g. If you are studying a diagram. we create a mental image of what we hear. Use concept imaging. third. and exaggerate it. that is. like a videotape. from words to pictures or from images to words. picture yourself knocking on the doors of the fourth. Most of the time. from the human body (whole) to the body parts. if you are reading a paragraph. To recall the information. third. just write the key phrases or key words of what you hear. second.” Use visual linking. simply “replay the videotape. State the idea or concept in your own words as if you were explaining it to your best friend. Write it down. if the story character. write a paragraph describing the diagram or orally tell what the diagram is. you can draw a sad . and last step. for example. visualize (see) the concept in your mind. that looks like. For example. sounds like. You do not need to write everything that your teacher says. Use the loci technique. first. the simple act of writing something is a memory aid. first. You can say. to recall 4138.g. e. make a drawing or flowchart that illustrates the concept. that is. Whisper under your breath the information that you are trying to remember. is tearful because her puppy was lost. Use color code to differentiate the categories. Relate information from whole to part. turning the information into stories in our head. Use verbal rehearsal (talking aloud) to help you remember the steps as you do them. Change the information to a different format.
You can use two or three sentences from the paragraph to summarize it aloud. The Source for Learning and Memory.face with tears and a little puppy next to the face. To remember what you read. The arrow is a cause and effect symbol. (2003). IL: LinguiSystems. You can create a list with bullets or checkmarks. For example. Rehearse the information in your mind more frequently. CA: Corwin Press. Sousa. Use distributed practice to help you transfer new information from your short-term memory to your long-term memory. In your own words. D. don’t wait until the last minute. . An arrow that goes from the puppy to the sad face can connect the two drawings. practice looking for it in your memory once a week or every few days. Thousand Oaks. A. (2001). when you need it for the test. East Moline. if the teacher tells you that you are going to need the information for the test at the end of the month. from more important to less important. you will be able to retrieve it from your memory easier. Prioritize the information you need to remember. tell what the paragraph is. instead. References Richards. R. This is simply rehearsing the same information occasionally. How the Special Needs Brain Learns. that way. stop at the end of each paragraph or page and think about what you just read. to explain why Delia is sad.
She also has extensive graduate training in psychology (30+ credits). Reyes. Carmen is the author of 60+ books and articles in child guidance and in alternative teaching techniques for low-achieving students.About the Author Carmen Y. To download free the eGuide. The Psycho-Educational Teacher. Carmen has a bachelor’s degree in psychology (University of Puerto Rico) and a master’s degree in special education with a specialization in emotional disorders (Long Island University. You can read the complete collection of articles on Scribd or her blog. Her classroom background. and in teaching students with learning or behavior problems. Persuasive Discipline: Using Power Messages and Suggestions to Influence Children Toward Positive Behavior. in New York City and her native Puerto Rico. Brooklyn: NY). from kindergarten to postsecondary. visit Carmen’s blog. has more than twenty years of experience as a self-contained special education teacher. The Psycho-Educational Teacher. Carmen is an expert in the application of behavior management strategies. resource room teacher. Carmen has taught at all grade levels. and educational diagnostician. includes ten years teaching emotionally disturbed/behaviorally disordered children and four years teaching students with a learning disability or low cognitive functioning. .
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