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Education Essay

1396 words - 6 pages

The complexity of the human mind calls for a need for classroom teachers to have an understanding of the factors pertaining to effective learning and retention by pupils. Memory and recall can be influenced in various ways by abilities of sensory, working and long term memory; existing knowledge; and metacognitive processes. It is the aim of teachers to assist students in utilising these processes to the best of their ability. Among some ways this can be achieved are by providing opportunity to make mnemonic associations for themselves with knowledge which is familiar and by ensuring understanding exists surrounding the importance and usefulness of techniques such as elaboration. This essay ...view middle of the document...

Working memory acts as a processing point for information currently attended to but has a very limited capacity of about five to twenty seconds or nine items (Taylor, 1983). In order to hold information in working memory, the learner needs to employ tactics such as rehearsal, elaboration and chunking (Woolfolk & Margetts, 2010). To enable information transfer from working memory to permanent storage in long term memory, the learner must encode the information in a way that facilitates easy retrieval in the future. Storage requires time and exertion however once information is stored it is arguably in long-term memory indefinitely; there is unlimited capacity and duration (Woolfolk & Margetts, 2010).
Knowledge is not only acquired as the result of what has been learnt, furthermore it influences and directs learning of new information (Woolfolk & Margetts, 2010). An individual’s existing knowledge and schema have been found to be highly correlated with later ability to recall novel information (Kan, Alexander, & M., 2008). Pre-existing schema form the foundation for what will be attended to, perceived and learned in regards to novel information (Kan et al., 2008). It has been found by Kan (2008) that external information which is novel to an individual but which is congruent with prior schema is automatically associated with this and therefore organised in memory via elaboration in a way which aids future recall. Toyota (2007) has similar findings where new information which is congruent with pre-existing schema is incorporated into long term memory and therefore more easily recalled, whereas incongruent information is not. He has labelled this the ‘semantic congruity effect’ (Toyota, 2007). Based upon this, it has been suggested that memory and recall are facilitated by the existence of knowledge which is corresponding to that being learned (Toyota, 2007). In other words, when individuals already possess schemata that represent particular concepts, new information regarding the same concept is more easily elaborated and tied to existing knowledge and therefore more easily remembered than that which is completely unfamiliar.
Metacognitive processes also aid in future recall of that which has been learnt and may be easier understood as monitoring and regulating functions of memory (Taylor, 1983). These processes can essentially be defined as “cognition about cognition” (Langan-Fox et al., 2002, p110). To clarify, metacognition is one’s thinking and awareness about processes such as attention and organisation that are activated during comprehension and learning (Langan-Fox, Armstrong, Balvin, & Anglim, 2002; Woolfolk & Margetts, 2010). Activation of processes including rehearsal and elaboration which influence the movement of information from working to long term memory can facilitate selection, evaluation and other strategies which aid in enhancing memory (Taylor, 1983; Woolfolk & Margetts, 2010). Miele et al., (2011) found that if people...

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