Home' Teacher : October 2009 Contents PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT 15
was strong and repeated or 'high-frequency
stimulus.' So repetition was the key to mem-
ory after all.
Repeated stimulus can be achieved by
saying or doing the same thing over and
over, but it can also be achieved by a variety
of reinforcement techniques. For example,
we can learn to spell a tricky word such as
knife by sounding k, n, i, f and e. We can
speak each of the sounds as we write the let-
ters several times, we can make each stroke
of each letter look like a knife, and we can
write the word in whole sentences. As we
can lose what is in the short-term memory
after only a few hours, though, we should
repeat our learning later in the day and
again a day or two later.
In the case of once-off reminders, such
as for buying the bread, the concentration
act provides sufficient stimulus for it to be
retained in the short-term memory, while
things we need to put into the long-term
memory, such as the formula for magne-
sium, our nephew's birthday or our bank
account personal identification number,
require the repeated stimulation treatment.
Was that why we had revision on Fridays
and exams at the end of term? Students
don't always recognise why we use some of
these strategies, so perhaps the motivation
lies in the weekly tests.
Research continues to find out more
about the workings of our brains, especially
in relation to brain damage and disease.
Meanwhile, we're all wise to learn from the
processes that have worked in the past and
are now being proven to be valid. T
Barbara Dykes is an educational consult-
ant, ope rating Qu antum Literacy. She
is the author of Grammar for Everyone:
Practical tools for learning and teaching
grammar, published by ACER Press, RRP
$39.95, ISBN 9 780 864 314 787.
Fields R.D. (2005). Making memories
stick. Scientific Americ an (February).
w ww.scientific americ an.com/sciammag
Stine, J.M. (1997). Double Your Brain
Power. Paramus, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Links Archive September 2009 November 2009 Navigation Previous Page Next Page