The session on improving memory with Wendy Adeniji was extremely useful and in fact made me think a little bit more about what I was doing in the classroom and gave me ideas on ways in which I could improve student techniques for memorising words. The post is largely in note form, but hope it proves to be of some use.
- In languages students not only have to memorise the meaning of words, but also the sounds and the spellings.
- Give the students isolated memorisation lessons. We cant presume that students know how to memorise 3-4 weeks into Yeat 7.
- GIve the students a VAK questionnaire to figure out how they learn best and so that you also have an idea of how students work best.
- Students all need a visual memory as that is how they are going to be tested regardless of their learning style
- Give the students a list of words they have to learn for homework, let them have 10 minutes to practise, test and then ask how they came up with their strategy within that ten minutes.
- Ask students to come up with their own link-word images which can be drawn. This adds humour and the students enjoy it. An example for a cow in Spanish (vaca) could be a funny image of a cow with a vacuum cleaner.
- Highlight the three ways of memorisation to the students. Spelling/Meaning both waysMemorise the pronunciation sufficiently.
- Students need to know that they have to be tested before they can say they have learned something – not sufficient to read for thirty minutes and say they have learned it. In the case of their learning, students need to test themselves at home.
- Learning needs to be little and often, give the students a sheet with 4 columns – they copy the vocab into the first column then learn and test by reproducing in the other columns but RAG rating (Red/Amber/Green) their own progress as they go. They could even RAG rate each word to highlight their difficulties. By the time the students get to the final column they should be all green and if not, they could turn over and have another go.
- Don’t underestimate the power of music and learning words – adding them to a song etc including verb lists
One of the most interesting things I got from the session was the way in which interventions for spelling tests were organised at Wendy’s school. If a student failed to meet the set amount of words for their test (number set by ability) they would have to do a lunchtime test resit, if they failed this also, they would have an after-school memorisation intervention.
I am quite keen on this model, however, being a one-man-band at the moment, although this is soon to change. It has not been possible for me to arrange such a specific intervention. However, students are kept back at the end of the lesson if they don’t get their 8/12 and 6/12 for the lower ability sets. I like the idea of a more organised intervention and will look at implementing this for the following year when we have extra staff.
I do have the handout scanned from this session ImprovingMemoryWALW2012, feel free to contact me if you want more information and please comment below if you have any ideas on any techniques you use to help aid student memory throughout the key stages.