Teaching With Memory In Mind

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Hanna Beech

Hanna Beech has been teaching for ten years and has a range of experience across Key Stages 1 and 2 in a large Primary School in Kent. She is a phase leader for Years 3 and 4, and also leads on teaching and learning for...
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What memory techniques can we share with students?

With so much fascinating research into learning and retention, here are a few suggestions to help you make the most of the memory in your classroom!

Memory Tips

  • Avoid blocking topics. Weaving learning to practise a variety of skills is suggested to have a better impact on long-term retention than simply teaching the same learning skills in a block.
  • Once you’ve taught something, ask yourself ‘When might they forget this by?’ and re-teach the learning just before it is fully ‘forgotten’. The act of remembering it and retrieving the previous learning will strengthen the long-term learning.
  • Use testing before you begin a topic because this gives pupils a chance to retrieve what they do know; it gives you a chance to see what really hasn’t been retained.
  • Use testing after a longer break. We often teach something and then test a pupil’s ability in this skill immediately afterwards, but to see what has really be learnt, we ought to test pupils after a longer period of time.
  • Be careful not to ‘over-model’ a skill once you’ve taught it. Be sure to allow pupils to use their own memory to recall and remember the steps for success. Make the learning ‘desirably difficult’ (read more about this by exploring the work of Robert Bjork).

Why is this a good strategy?

Well, wouldn’t it be great to try approaches that will enhance the children’s learning?!


Tell pupils exactly what it is you want them to remember, emphasising its importance.

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