Best Practice

The process of learning: Hard times (part 5)

In the fifth instalment of his series on how students learn, Matt Bromley moves onto the second of his three secrets to boosting pupils’ long-term memory and recall abilities – ensuring they think hard but efficiently in order to ‘cheat’ their working memories

If I asked you to calculate 57 x 4,389 in your heads, no cheating, and in the space of a minute, I’m pretty confident most of you would fail. And in the process of failing, you’d likely do one of two things:

Whichever of these two paths you took, you wouldn’t calculate the answer and wouldn’t, therefore, encode anything into long-term memory.

Put simply, you wouldn’t learn anything new or practise something you already knew. This complex thing called “learning” would not occur.

Now, if I were to ask you to calculate 2 x 10, once again in your heads and in the space of a minute, I’m confident all of you would succeed this time. And you wouldn’t need a full minute to do so either. In fact, you’d proffer your answer instantaneously.

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