Memory is one of the most important things in language learning since. However, there are a lot of students who suffer from memory deficit and can not interrelate the knowledge gained throughout the lessons. Students who have deficits in the storage and retrieval of information from long-term memory may study for tests, but not be able to recall the information they studied when taking the tests. They frequently have difficulty recalling specific factual information such as dates or rules of grammar. They have a poor memory of material they earlier in the school year or last year. They may also be unable to answer specific questions asked of them in class even when their parents and/or teachers think they really know the information.

Here are some basic strategies that can be quite helpful if you have students with poor memory. 

Divide the information into small chunks

Don’t ask such students to remember long vocabulary lists. Chunking refers to grouping information, breaking it up into units or chunks and making it easier to process. Such chunks are easier to commit to memory than a longer uninterrupted string of information. 

Students benefit from being given directions in both visual and verbal formats. In addition, their understanding and memorizing of instructions could be checked by encouraging them to repeat the directions given and explain the meaning of these directions.

Use visual images to recall the information

According to Miller’s Law, people can keep no more than 7 (plus or minus 2) items in their short-term memory. However, if the information is visually presented, people don’t have to memorize anything and therefore can easily manage broader choices.

A very good strategy to recall information is the use of visual images to associate the information with the already existing information. For example, if the learners are studying idioms, it is a useful strategy to present the idioms with visual where each picture may represent a word from the idiomatic phrase. With this system, the vocabulary word the student is trying to remember actually becomes the cue for the visual image that then cues the definition of the word. Here is a link to a lesson plan which contains a number of good visual cues to teach idiomatic expressions. 

Develop active reading skills

To enhance short-term memory registration and/or working memory when reading, students should highlight or jot key words down in the margin when reading chapters. In this way, they organize the information and recall it better.

Provide retrieval practice for students

A retrieval practice is an act of recalling information that has been studied from long-term memory. When teachers are reviewing information prior to tests and exams, they could ask the students questions or have the students make up questions for everyone to answer. Also, students can be asked to make up their own tests. It will give their teachers information about whether they know the most important information or are instead focused on details that are less important. While compiling the test the students will have to review the material and remember a lot of things.

Prime the memory prior to learning

Cues that prepare students for the task to be presented are helpful. This is often referred to as priming the memory. For instance, when a reading comprehension task is given, students will get an idea of what is expected by discussing the vocabulary and the overall topic beforehand. This will allow them to engage in more effective depth of processing. Review material before going to sleep

It should be helpful for students to review material right before going to sleep at night. Research has shown that information studied this way is better remembered. This is a great tool when dealing with new vocabulary. The vocab items which present some difficulty may be written on a poster and put on a bathroom wall so that the learner may see them each time he/she brushes the teeth there. From my experience, this strategy has worked great for many students. Some of them were writing words on sticky notes and putting them on an opposite board or a wall in their workplace. They had great results in recalling those words.

It is common knowledge that developing memory enhances overall learning. Therefore, all the above-mentioned strategies will help to improve this valuable skill. 

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