Essential skills for effective memorization


It is the most common phenomenon of every past, present and future generations to come that students complain and will complain about forgetting the studied material. One of the commonest of all is when one student is well prepared and completely ready for examination, but after seeing the question paper can’t recall many of the points he/she was confident about memorizing. No doubt forgetting things is common for all ages of person. General forgetting occurs when students keep learning and memorizing things one after the other in their daily life, the previously learned materials tend to get suppressed below the newly learnt skill sets. Again this is also a fact that sometimes students tend to remember long back learnt things, yet forgetting the newer ones. Why this kind of forgetting happens? Or to rephrase the question why students forget things they are supposed to remember, while they seldom forget story of a good movie? The answer lies in the fact that the more parents and teachers give stress upon making children rote learn study materials without making them understand the basic concept of it the more the children/students tend to lose interest in the subject, and while trying to simply memorizing without much understanding and interest in the subject topic a time come when they fail to remember. A learning should be for lifetime skill acquisition and not merely for passing few examinations. So better memorization would result if parents and teachers help students learn and understand the concepts rather rote learn it. Understanding will not only help memorizing but also make student curious and inquisitive towards gaining knowledge.

Now the question arises that how parents and teachers are going to encourage children from an early age to understand concepts and not to simply mug it up? Though at an very early stage of learning when children are not so capable of constructing good sentences by themselves rote learning help to grasp the study contents, it also help improve memory capacity and attention building. But after a certain age point, when the initial learning stage has gone, parents and teachers should always look into the matter that children are actually trying to understand study concepts and trying to put them into their own words rather writing word by word from book. This will also help students in improving their vocabularies. Given below are a few very important and essential tips the parents and teachers should try implementing to motivate children understand and write concepts on their own:

  • Help children to convert ideas and concepts into their own words. This can be done by asking children to summarise what they learnt or listened to in whichever language they feel comfortable, not necessarily English need to be the medium at an early stage of life, having grasp over vernacular is equally essential specially when it comes to understand things and not rote learn them.
  • Encourage children to be able to use own vocabulary while evaluating or explaining something to someone else.
  • Motivate children to relate the ideas learnt to real life situations by identifying them as case examples from their own environment.
  • Help children identify differences and similarities between the concepts or ideas learnt. This can be very well done through examples such as narrating similarity and difference between dances and swimming, where both are the forms of physical activity but the former is essentially a creative pursuit and the later falls under category of sports.
  • Encourage children to strive for understanding and solving problems when numbers and components are changed.
  • Help children develop sense and accept the fact that there can be more than one right answer to any given problem depending upon the circumstances.
  • Motivate children to seek meaning, effect, results and consequences beyond the regularized idea or concept.
  • Encourage children to understand and analyse cause and effect relationship behind everything. Children must critically question and able to evaluate with reference rather than merely accepting things at their face value.

Apart from “know-how’s” on care-givers parts to help chidren develop better understanding of the subject for an improved memory capacity, there are some skill set for learning that every student should follow for better result. Student Academic Resource Center has termed it as the method of OK5R, that help students to learn and remember materials from textbooks in an easy manner. The OK5R is the abbreviation of the study technique suggested for students from the mentioned center that is specified below:

Overview (O) – Students should follow this, before start reading a new topic, by sampling the chapter for 1-2 minutes to find out what it is all about. This can be done by checking the headings, sub-headings, questions and chapter summary. Overviewing chapter/topic helps overcoming the inertia to read and study.

Keywords (K) – All chapter writings consist of these three major elements, viz. main ideas, supporting details and conclusion or outcome. Students during studying the chapter topic should try to identify and write down the these basic key ideas the chapter is comprised of.

Read (1st R) – Students should thoroughly read the chapter aloud. Reading aloud help function the sense organs (visual, auditory and speech) and in turn the brain most effectively. It also helps attention building and improve vocabulary and pronunciation as well.

Record (2nd R) – Students while studying should record their understanding. They can do it by keeping notes or discussing concepts with persons concerned with the subject.

Recite (3rd R) – After reading is done and the concept is grasped to some extent, students should recite it or write it down without help of book. This will ensure the understanding and memorisng of the whole thing, and students would be able to evaluate that if any part of the chapter needs better understanding or re-reading.

Review (4th R) – This should be done at least 2-3 times a week to ensure what was learnt and remembered once is still in memory store and not forgotten due to learning of new stuffs.

Reflect (5th R) – It means analysisng the concept studied. It can be done from time to time engaging in critical thinking and discussion over the topic/chapter to gather more knowledge on the matter whenever get time. This not only boost memory but ensure students interest towards knowledge building.

As discussed above, these techniques are most helpful as proposed by many educational researchers, parents and teachers must try them with children from an early stage to boost memorisation and also encourage children to follow the mentioned method to yield an effective result.

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