Forming Memories Requires Intentional Strategies
So what are some ways that teachers can help students form long-term memories? One way is to help students learn and then review material over intervals with ample time to reflect on learning throughout the year. Another strategy is to offer opportunities for peer-to-peer learning, requiring students to explain what they have learned to a classmate in various contexts. Some students also generate lasting memories by combining images with texts because visual aids help provide associations that establish long-term memories. And when students have frequent opportunities to take quizzes and demonstrate what they’ve learned (and illuminate what they haven’t), they are more likely to be able to retrieve information when they need it one day, one week, or one year from now.
There are, of course, many other strategies that are
effective in building long-term memories. But it is helpful to remember that
our brain is exposed to so much information every day, its default mode is to
shed (not collect) more knowledge. With this in mind, and with a few key
strategies at teachers’ disposal, many
more of the important lessons will stick.