One of the most important factors that helps a good teacher to stand out is having insight into how the learning process occurs and how to help students shift the information from short-term memory to their long-term memory or represent the new information in a way it sticks in our mind. In this article, we will focus on those research strategies which contribute to our being able to remember what we’ve learned over time and use it in new situations. 

Let’s move forward to those tips which help to retain the information.

Audio-visual aids such as high-quality videos, maps, graphic organizers, photos, charts enhance students’ learning and help them to retain the information better. 

Group work activities help students process the information easier by discussing the material and carrying out some activities connected with it. Apart from the cognitive benefits, group work also helps to improve social skills. The Think-Pair-Share strategy works best for group activities.

By using peer teaching strategy, you will help the learners to process information better. During my Business English classes, I used this method a lot while teaching a set of new words to students. For each peer teaching session, 2-3 students were chosen to teach a group of topic-related words or a business concept related to the lesson (elevator pitch, branding, etc). As a result, students reinforce their own learning by instructing others, which will allow for a greater understanding of the material. Besides,  the direct interaction between students will promote active learning as well. 

Relate the new material to the previous one. Practice shows that when students connect what they are currently learning to their prior knowledge it is easier for them to understand the new concept and get it stuck in their brain. This method works great while dealing with grammar topics which can be somehow correlated. For example, Present Simple and present continuous, Past Simple and Present Perfect. After dealing with the new material students draw up parallels between the tenses, find similarities and differences in the form and meaning. From my personal experience, this technique worked much better than introducing the new material in an isolated way. Besides, a great number of learners learn and remember better through comparison and contrast. 

Re-representation of information —reworking ideas from verbal to written words and words to pictures makes us reconceptualize information. For example, after working on an oral presentation of the upcoming 2-year plan for a growing production company, students can be asked to present the same information in the form of a summary or report. Similarly, they can be assigned a text to read and present it in the form of a picture with the list of words which can be used to talk about the text. They compare their pictures and lists to find similarities and differences. In this way, they master the content better and revise the target material through pair work. 

Retrieving the information is the act of trying to recall knowledge from long-term memory, rather than constantly feeding it into the brain. When students have to recall the information from long-term memory they tend to remember it better and the information gets stuck in their mind. For example, the teacher gives mini-quizzes at the start of each class that ask 3-5 questions about the prior day’s learning. The goal of all these activities is to reinforce the learning, not measure or grade student work.

In some cases, the teacher may prepare quizzes which focus on retrieving information from different topics. Students have to shift their focus from one topic to another while handling the quiz so they fix the information better. 

All these techniques come in handy while trying to help students retain the information. As a teacher, you need to pick up those which suit your students’ learning goals and abilities.  

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