Memory is an extremely complex and only partially understood system of brain processes. When looking at Aspects of memory that are more important for the kinds of learning that go on in school,we need to tease out those components that promote the retention of relevant facts and skills. For our purpose,we will concentrate on two broad aspects of memory function and dysfunction. These are Short-Term Memory and Long-Term Memory.
Short-Term Memory enables us to hold information for a brief period,a matter of seconds. Such information can be used immediately or it can decay or be-forgotten almost instantly. Short-Term Memory is strikingly limited in capacity. For example it can hold only about seven numbers. Consequently,we are forced to be highly selective in deciding what to register there.
Finally it is important to recognize that information we consciously try to remember must pass through short-term memory before it can be stored in long-term memory. It is not at all unusual to see children who experience difficulty registering new material in short-term memory.
The following list identifies some common signs of problem with short-term memory.
- Inconsistency when following verbal instructions.
- A history of trouble studying math facts,spelling words,historical dates,and/or vocabulary.
- A tendency to know things quite well once they are learned but to have difficulty with their initial mastery.
- A failure to use strategies of any kind while studying.
- Confusion with multi-step inputs(such as a sequence of directions) and/or large chunks of verbal and/or nonverbal material.
- Poor ability to paraphrase or summarize recently presented information.
Managing Problems with Short-Term Memory at Home
Parents are in a good position to observe the child’s short-term memory functions as they assist them in various learning activities. There are several ways parents can help these children.
l. Studying for tests can be an exercise in short-term memory building. Students should deploy a stepwise approach to such studying. Students should consider ways to enhance the depth of processing and engage in appropriate self-testing or collaborative testing with a peer, parent, or sibling. Such approaches can be especially helpful to students with excessively rapid pacing and to those who lack registration strategies.
2.Parents can help children to improve their depth of processing by teaching them to use various rehearsal strategies. These include the previously mentioned whispering under the breath and visualizing,along with making up rhymes,antonyms, or anagrams to represent what they are attempting to register. It can also be helpful for them to form associations while trying to remember. For example,when learning the name of an important historical figure,students can think about what the name sounds like or makes them think of. Parents can practice this kind of activity with children while they are studying.
3. In some cases short-term memory can be enhanced through the use of stimulant medication. This is likely to be the case when a child’s short-term memory dysfunction is accompanied by a weak control of mental energy and processing. The administration of the medication may need to be timed so as to have an effect when the child is registering material in short-term memory. For example,a short acting methylphenidate (Ritalin) tablet might be given one to two hours before studying for an examination.
4. Parents can help their children improve their paraphrasing skills by giving them practice. They can allow them to watch an extra television show or go to a movie if they will summarize it (orally or in writing)afterward. They can encourage them to retell chapters or sections of a book alter reading them. Not all summarizations needs to be verbal; a child can make a diagram or chart that summarizes information. Such graphic representation may be especially helpful to a student who has difficulty paraphrasing language.
5. Students may need help recognizing which of the three formats is the easiest for them to use. Then they should be encouraged to use it. They can convert data into the format they use most successfully. A strong visual processor may need to make a diagram; a linguistically oriented student may verbally paraphrase written material (perhaps into a tape recorder”). Sometimes it may be necessary to change the sequential nature of some inputs. For example, if students can’t learn the order of steps needed to complete long-division problems, parents might help them put the steps into language by describing them verbally into a tape recorder. The tape can then be played back several times. Alternatively,each step can be depicted visually on a separate card.
6. Parents need to realize that children with limited short-term memory cannot retain instructions. They need to keep such inputs short and offer repetition without being critical.
7 As they grow older,children who have problems in this area need to keep lists and take good notes in order to relieve the burden on short-term memory.
As they come to recognize problems with Short-Term Memory,teachers can use various techniques to make it easier for students to retain recently presented information.
1. Sometimes it helps students who have problem with short-term memory if they sit close to the teacher,especially if they also have attentional dysfunction.
2 The teacher can assist these children by regularly repeating instructions and explanations.
3. Placing a strong emphasis on paraphrasing and explaining how it is important in remembering things will benefit these students. A teacher can model for them how to paraphrase material and then provide them with opportunities to practice this skill. Children can take turns paraphrasing important inputs during class or serving as the paraphraser for the day.
4. Teachers should also encourage students to paraphrase while they read something important. For example, students need to learn to pause at a key sentence or group of sentences and repeat the information in a shorter form. They can write their paraphrases in a book margin,take brief notes,or record them on tape.
5. Related to paraphrasing is the skill of note taking. This ability can enhance registration. A teacher may want to take some time illustrating how to take effective and concise notes and then to include note taking as part of various assignments. For example, children can interview each other and submit notes from these interviews.
6. When children demonstrate that they have a strong format for processing,as much information as possible should be presented in that format. If they are strong at visual processing,they are likely to retain material written on the board better than information presented orally.
7 .Some students require that information be delivered in smaller units or portions. This may mean that a teacher uses shorter sentences,allows more time to copy from the board,and simply speaks more slowly.
8. All students can benefit from learning about how short-term memory works and about the kinds of strategies that can be used to make it work better. Once children have learned this,they can be asked to submit memory plans before studying for a test. The plan should include:how they will decide what’s important,how they will paraphrase the material they used to remember,what strategies they will use to register it deeply,and when and how they will test themselves or have someone else quiz them.
Any personal program to improve memory must include a good diet, regular exercise, and stress free environment. All of which strengthens the brain. So how to improve your memory naturally, with some natural home remedies? answer is simple make the right food, and lifestyle choices, says experts. So lets first talk about the simple things that can help.
How to improve your memory naturally
What you eat either increases or decreases oxidation and inflammation in your brain. Here are four food pitfalls to avoid:
- Refined sugar triggers the body to pump out the hormone insulin, which is a pro-inflammatory compound. Limit your intake.
- Trans-fats are inflammation producers that are in processed foods whose labels list hydrogenated vegetable oil as an ingredient.
- Food toxins can also inflame the brain. Consider using a water filter and maximizing your intake of organic foods.
- Food allergies may contribute to memory problem. The most common allergens are wheat,milk and corn. If you are noticing some memory glitches,consider cutting down on these foods,which increase inflammation throughout the body,including the brain.
2.Exercise:A Memory Tonic
Go for a 1-mile walk shortly after you wake up. But rather than an aerobic,heart-pumping fitness walk,yours should be a solitary,peaceful walk in a natural setting ,if possible. Walk slowly and be aware of your surroundings, consciously taking in everything beautiful that you see and hear.
Paying attention to natural beauty improves your mental attitude,which in turn improves mental functioning of all kinds. Taking your walk in the early morning resets your body clock for the day, a must for maximum alertness.
Also, by warming and loosening your muscles in the morning when they’re typically stiff and tight, you develop better proprioception, which is your brain’s awareness of the position of your body as it moves.
3.Mental Exercise: Pushups for your memory
Any activity that stimulates and challenges your mind,such as playing Scrabble,doing crossword puzzles,or learning a new language,is exceptionally good for retaining memory.
People get lazy with their minds sitting in front of the TV for hours a day atrophies your muscle cells and your brain cells. Just as with your muscles,you have to use your brain in order not to lose your brain.
4. Stress Reduction: Don’t Let Cortisol Damage Your Brain
During stress the body pumps out high levels of hormone cortisol,which damages the Hippo campus,the part of the brain that turns short-term memory into long-term memory.
To combat stress,practice a relaxation exercise daily,whether it’s deep breathing,meditation,or contemplative exercise such as tai chi or yoga.
This extract helps with the flow of blood throughout the body,appears to have a positive affect on memory function as it also improves the flow of blood to the brain. The improved flow of blood to the brain brings with it more oxygen and should thus help improve memory.