Be Informed by Email

Google Groups
Subscribe to teach-my-child
Visit this group

Friday, March 28, 2008

Improving Memory Skills

Recently heard some mothers discussing their children's memories, or rather, lamenting their lack of memory skills.

I understand the concern of these mothers as memory skill is very important in the children's studies. However, except for a few extreme cases, I think the majority of us (including children) have no problem remembering things of interest to us, be they facts, names, numbers or events etc. So the key issue here is to try to arouse our children's interest in the topics that they have to remember. If a child can concentrate well, it should also benefit his memory as well. I've some suggestions in the earlier article "How to improve on Concentration".

The brain is amazing. The more you "exercise" it, the better it works. To enhance my son's memory skills, one method I tried was to play games with him like reciting & memorizing rhymes, poetry & other interesting literature, starting with short ones (about 20 words), then proceeding to long ones (a few hundred words). I used mostly chinese poems, many of which are written beautifully & rhyme well. When he was just a baby learning to talk, he could give the last word of each line when prompted with the few words before. To-date at 9 years old, he can still recite from memory 满江红 (over 90 words) & 正气歌 (about 300 words).

As for my own experiences, I like numbers and used to memorize all my contacts' phone numbers (when we didn't have the luxury of high-tech gadgets like handphones with the convenience of address books). To me it was almost like a "hobby", memorizing all sorts of numbers. Once we waited in vain at a bus stop while in Hong Kong, and decided to get a cab instead. But we didn't bring out the taxi company's phone number and the trip back to our apartment was really far. Luckily I could recall the phone number as I've used it once :-) How did I manage to do it? Well, I memorized by the "relationship pattern" of a group of numbers. Or by the "sound" of them. Of course like I said, I don't bother to memorize so many phone numbers anymore as they're all conveniently stored in my handphone. So now my ability in this area has kind of gone downhill, haha.

Once a teacher taught us how to remember the year of an event, 1698, which sounded like "first class bar" when said in chinese (一流酒吧). Haha, until now I can still remember this year though I can't remember what event it was!

One relative who stayed in an overseas hostel while studying, told us that he and his group of friends in the choir were the fastest to finish their revisions. How did they mange to do it? While others were slogging it out trying to memorize for the exams, they sing! Everything that has to be remembered, they invented a song for it. Wow!

If we tend to forget certain things, another way to "jolt" our memory is to write it down. I didn't really teach my son to do this. But I was amused when once my son stuck a few reminder notes in his school bag to remind himself to submit a certain piece of paper to the school's general office. I even found notes at his bedside reminding himself to do something the next morning. As for learning of spellings, whether Chinese or English, he usually remembers better if he copies out the words at least once.

For people who are good at "visualizing", forming a picture in their mind may be a good method too. To remember a sequence of events (eg. a to-do list of errands etc), just "play" them in your mind like a movie.

Sometimes for a group of points to be remembered, I use the first alphabet of each keyword as a prompt, so that by just remembering the few alphabets, the key points will follow accordingly. If possible, arrange them in an easy to remember sequence. Many people like to use this method.

Anyway, just make a conscious effort to reduce incidents of forgetfulness, then keep practising, and memories will improve.


Rosabel said...

I'm doing research on brain exercises this two days and "memorizing" is one of the recommended exercises. Children nowadays are very stressed by parents, school and the whole environment. Beside physical exercises, the children also need to exercise their brain so that it is always fit for learning. I'll summarize this topic in my coming article. Have a nice day!

Kia Li said...

Hi Rosabel, thanks for visiting. Have a nice day too!

Google Site Search