Hello everyone and happy summer! I hope all of you are enjoying/surviving the heat with some good books and some good snacks. We are back again, to discuss a new facet of Executive Function: Memory.
Now, you might be thinking: I know how to teach memorization techniques! While retaining information for long term knowledge, like for tests or quizzes, is a part of memory, I’m thinking about the everyday memory muscle we know and use.
Think about going to the grocery store and knowing you need lettuce, tomatoes, and onions. You’re on your way to grab a head of lettuce when you decide you want a bag of chips too…and then you end up in your car with no lettuce. The point is you can’t always keep everything in your brain at the same time, and our students are no different. When faced with a big handful of facts, a lot of assignments, or a bunch of little details, they might leave a few by the wayside.
People get distracted. It’s a part of human nature to be interested in what is right in front of you, and with phones and social media, it’s even easier to spend hours doing something you didn’t mean to start, and forgetting the actual task at hand. When you’re distracted, your working memory seems to get a little jumbled, and you have to re-focus. Kids are certainly not the exception to this rule. Working memory functions best when we have reminders, and aren’t too overwhelmed by options. To help instil a stronger working memory in your student, try:
- Taking things one step at a time
When there are many tasks to do, decide which one is the priority and take all other tasks out of the equation. This way, instead of keeping details of all the tasks in your student’s working memory, they only have to worry about what is in front of them.
- Creating a Routine
When our brains are accustomed to daily and regular practices, they are less likely to get distracted and lose sight of the things we are trying to retain.
- Making a checklist
Remove some of the stress of remembering from your student’s brain by making a checklist of each task, so they can look at their memory cheat sheet if they get distracted during tasks.
You know what I’m going to say next, right? Keeping things organized, clear, and concise can help our kids’ brains keep up when there’s a lot on their plates, and another great way to do that is to work with a tutor who is specifically trained to help kids strengthen their working memory muscles. We are always here to help, whether its with a question you might have about this article or a question on how to get started preserving your student’s working memory. If you have any questions or comments about working memory or executive function, shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!