Putting the Memory to Work!
- Created By Zena Martin
- Posted on October 6th, 2021
Cognition and Learning
|Delivery Model||Online Face to Face session|
|What is Included|
|Deadline booking date:|
Wednesday 30th April 2022
|Face to Face Online sessions||Programme breakdown|
Thursday 26th May 2022
4:00pm to 6:00pm UAE time
EYFS, PRIMARY and SECONDARY teachers, teaching assistants, SENCOs, Inclusion Managers, subject leaders and teachers of teaching & learning.
- To identify children’s difficulties with working memory and understand how this affects them as learners
- To know some effective strategies for strengthening children’s short-term working memory
- To be able to make learning more accessible for children with poor working memories
- Appreciate the significance of working memory in children’s learning
- Gain insight and understanding into current theoretical models of working memory, and how this presents in the classroom
- Acquire practical classroom strategies for strengthening children’s working memory
- Explore practical resources available to enhance working memory
- Reflect on strategies that make learning easier in the classroom for children with weaker working memories
This course is extremely practical, yet routed in much theory and research conducted over decades. Memory strategies and training have been key components of multi-sensory language programmes for dyslexic pupils for many years (Hickey, 1977; Combley, 2001; Kelly et al., 2011). They have formed a significant part of post-graduate training programmes for specific learning difficulty, as memory has been understood to be a key factor of the difficulties for children’s cognitive development and subsequent attainment (Combley, 2001; Kelly et al., 2011; Henry, 2012). Those who have worked individually with children in this way will be acutely aware of the difference such training can make to children’s ability to retain digits or objects in short-term memory, and their ability to hold letters, words or sentences in their heads for spelling and writing. This is born out by the repeated success of such teaching strategies in enabling children to read and write to the level of their peers, where they have previously been unresponsive to mainstream classroom strategies. Specialist practitioners will have assessed and re-assessed pupils and seen the increase in working memory following strategy application. Many of the strategies advocated are aimed at helping children to reduce working memory overload, whilst others are aimed at helping them to use their working memory capacity more effectively. A key feature of good specialist teaching and, as it emerges, all teaching, is the application of meta-cognition in the development of these strategies (EEF, 2015). It is important that children are aware of why they are learning these strategies, and how the application of such strategies can help them to learn more effectively.
Earlier theorists suggested that working memory had a limited capacity or ceiling to it in every person. Yet this would seem to contradict the views of educationalists, such as Kelly et al. (2011), who assert that, ‘Working memory skills can be developed in learners with dyslexia through teaching strategies to facilitate the holding of information in working memory.’ She goes on to cite a number of strategies, including meta-cognition, multi-sensory techniques, verbal rehearsal, chunking, and use of pattern, as effective ways of training the memory. The practical work carried out for decades by educationalists, and centuries by parents and grand-parents (in games such as ‘I went to market …’) now appears to be substantiated by psychology and neuroscience, where electronic memory training programs are demonstrating almost indisputable evidence that the memory can, indeed, be trained and developed.
‘For a long time, psychologists thought that we were stuck with our working memory size and couldn’t change it. However, exciting cutting-edge research suggests that we can train our brain and improve working memory. In response to this, there has been a surge of brain training products in the last five to ten years and some of these have found their way into schools.’ (Packiam Alloway, 2015).
Further to this, it seems possible that in the case of adaptive WM training programs, they may be increasing both the neural plasticity of the WM and spontaneously developing the learner’s use of strategy in some areas, without explicit strategy teaching.
‘Adaptive working memory training programs do not explicitly teach meta-cognitive techniques, but they may promote the development or enhancement of strategies spontaneously employed to complete working memory tasks. Introspective reports from children in our own training studies support the notion that, even in the absence of direct strategy instruction, repeated practice on working memory tasks promotes the development of idiosyncratic strategies.’ (Dunning et al., 2014).
Current research is now focusing on establishing how much of WM development is transferrable to academic progress and attainment (Pearson publish an abundance of research on this), and how strategies from working memory theory can be applied to literacy and numeracy teaching. For example, Tocci (2014) examines the application of rehearsal, pace and chunking in a reading intervention called ‘Rip It Up Reading’, echoing the techniques of many years of multi-sensory teaching for specific learning difficulty.
* Times are UAE 4:00pm to 6:00pm via ZOOM.
Session 1: To identify children’s difficulties with working memory and understand how this affects them as learners
Gap Task: Identification of pupils in your setting
Session 2: To be able to make learning more accessible for children with poor working memories
About Inclusive Learning North
- Supporting schools – steered by schools since 2014.
- Developing practice that starts with the needs of the most marginalised groups to create high quality teaching, learning and well-being for every child.
- High quality professional development, SEND Forums, training, consultancy and online support.