Presentation on theme: "Working Memory and Classroom Strategies"— Presentation transcript:
1 Working Memory and Classroom Strategies How these cognitive processes affect students and what you can do in the classroomCarolyn M. Myers, M.Ed.
2 Overview What is working memory? Working memory and learning Screening children with working memory impairmentsSupporting children with memory impairments
3 What is working memoryKey cognitive function that allows individuals to hold information in mind for brief periods of timeEssential for countless daily tasks like following directions, remembering information momentarily, complex reasoning or staying focused on a project. More importantly, this broadened understanding of the importance of working memory can provide great hope to a range of people who suffer from working memory deficits, including children with attention problems or learning disabilitiesAcademically, it is used when you’re reading and find it hard to comprehend what you've just read and have to reread material.Psychologists use the term ‘working memory’ to refer to the ability we have to hold and manipulate information in the mind over short periods of time. Working memory is a kind of mental workspace that is used to store important information in the course of our everyday lives.Mental workspace
4 Development of Working Memory Working memory capacity increases steadily with age between 4 and 14 yearsLarge degree of individual variation in working memory capacity at each age
5 Age-related increase in working memory scores, with 10th and 90th centile points
6 Limits on Working Memory Distraction. An unrelated thought springing to mind, or an interruption by someone else, are often sufficient to erase the contents of working memory.Trying to hold in mind too much information. There is a limit to how much information can be held in working memory. For example, trying to multiply the numbers 739 and 891 would be likely to result in failure, simply because the amount of information that has to be stored in the course of the calculation exceeds the capacity of most people’s working memory.Engaging in a demanding task. Activities that require difficult processing (such as mental arithmetic) use up storage space in working memory, and so can result in a loss of other information already held there.
7 Affects on studentsCan affect student in reading comprehension, mathematical problems solving and fluent decodingDifficulty with test taking and multiple choicePreschool children have learning the alphabet and completing a puzzleElementary Students have difficulty with reading comprehension and problem solving in mathMiddle school students- difficulty with complex problem solving, test taking, completing homework, breaking down tasks
8 Student Characteristics Tendency to lose track of what they are doing while workingTrouble sustaining the logical development of ideas when writing or speakingA pattern of forgetting one part of task while working on some other part of taskTrouble remembering reading material (leaky reading)
9 Teacher Comments “He is in a world of his own” “He doesn’t listen to a word I say”“She is always day dreaming”“with him, it’s in one ear and out the other”
10 Alan Baddeley’s multi-compartment model This model suggests instead that WM consists of a visuo-spatial scratch pad, used to store visual information, a phonological loop, used to store verbal information, and a central executive, that directs attention and coordinates processes. In Baddeley´s words, working memory refers to a system for both temporary storage and manipulation of information, which is necessary for a wide range of cognitive tasks.
11 Brain Research and Working Memory Cognitive neuroscience has thus shown that the prefrontal and parietal regions are important for working memory and that dopamine is a central neurotransmitter. Impairments in working memory are found in several clinical disorders in which these systems are implicated, such as after stroke, traumatic brain injury and in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
12 Working Memory Guide Pre school Learning the alphabet Pre school Learning the alphabetFocusing on short instructions such as “Come brush your teeth”Remaining seated to complete independent activities, such as puzzlesSeems unwilling or unable to learn alphabet, numbersCan’t focus long enough to grasp and follow instructionsFlits from one thing to anotherElementary School Reading and understanding the content (reading comprehension)Mental arithmeticInteracting and responding appropriately in peer activities such as playing on the school groundReads (decodes) but does not understand or remember material readProblems memorizing math factsDifficulty participating in group activities (e.g. awaiting turn); makes friends but cannot keep themMiddle schoolDoing homework independentlyPlanning and packing for an activity, such as dance classSolving multi-step math problems, especially word problemsParticipating in team sports, such as soccerDoes not begin or persist with homework without supervisionPacks but forgets items essential for activityReads the problem but can’t break it into understandable partsProblems grasping rules of game, functioning as a “team player”
13 Ways To Screen Children for Difficulties Slightly more boys than girlsBehavior is consistent-no highs and lowsCan not meet memory designs of reading, math and writingWorking memory can become overloadedMay have to guess rather then follow proceduresAttention fades as information is lost
14 Warning Signs Incomplete recall Failure to follow instructions Place keeping errorsLosing focus and effort
15 Other Warning SignsChildren with WM problems are well-adjusted socially;are reserved in group activities in the classroom, rarely volunteering answers and sometimes not answering direct questions;behave as though they have not paid attention, for example forgetting part or all of instructions or messages;frequently lose their place in complicated tasks which they may eventually abandon;forget the content of messages and instructions,are rated by their teachers at school entry as having relatively low foundation skills in areas such as reading, language, speaking and listening, and mathematics;show poor academic progress, particularly in literacy and mathematics;
16 General Ideas Break down tasks into manageable chunks Provide ways to associate new information with information that is knownSimplify mental processingRestructure complex tasksRepetition and practiceUse memory aids such as charts and postersPersonalized dictionary, word banks, math manipulatives, memory jog cards, tape recorder, computer software
17 Evaluate Tasks and Change Activities that impose heavy storage demands typically involve the retention of significant amounts of verbal material with a relatively arbitrary content. Here are some examples of activities with working memory demands that are likely to exceed the capacities of a child with working memory deficits:- remembering sequences of three or more numbers or unrelated words (e.g., 5, 9, 2, 6, or cat, lion, kangaroo);- remembering and successfully following lengthy instructions (e.g., Put your sheets on the green table, arrow cards in the packet, put your pencil away, and come and sit on the carpet);- remembering lengthy sentences containing some arbitrary content to be written down (e.g., To blow up parliament, Guy Fawkes had 36 barrels of gunpowder)- keeping track of the place reached in the course of multi-level tasks (e.g., writing a sentence down either from memory or from the white board)
18 Watch Memory Loadreducing the overall amount of material to be stored (e.g., shortening sentences to be written, or number of items to be remembered);increasing the meaningfulness and degree of familiarity of the material to be remembered;simplifying the linguistic structures of verbal material (e.g., using simple active constructions rather than passive forms with embedded clauses in activities involving remembering sentences, and in instructions);reducing processing demandsre-structuring multi-step tasks into separate independent steps, supported by memory aids if possible;making available and encouraging the use of memory aids (e.g., making available ‘useful spellings’ on white boards and cards, and providing number lines).
19 Try Repetition: general classroom management instructions task-specific instructions (what the whole activity consists of, broken down into simple steps);detailed content intrinsic to an activity (for example, the particular sentence to be written).Children should also be encouraged to request repetition of important information in cases of forgetting.
20 Memory Aides:these include number lines, Unifix blocks and other counting devices, cards and personalized dictionaries with useful spellings, teacher notes on the class white board, and wall charts. These tools can help in several different ways to reduce working memory loads – they may reduce the processing demands of the activity (e.g., useful spellings, and Unifix blocks), and they may also reduce the storage load of the task and so help the child keep their place (e.g., number lines).
21 Developing Child’s Strategies Asking for help if neededUsing rehearsal and practice testsUsing graphic organizersLearning to take notesUsing strong organizational strategiesActive learning- note cards, practice tests, personalized study guides
22 Ways to Exercise Working Memory Have students do mental math computations. Put them in the context of a real situation, such as going to the movies or carpeting a room.Teach estimation strategies. Practice estimation as both a step in verifying the logic of performed calculations and as a practical mental math tool. Begin with problems that are easy for the student to calculate and are meaningful to the student's life.Give students a list and ask them to give it back in reverse order. Use numbers, words, visuals (shapes, figures), etc. Provide and require practice using both written and oral lists.
23 Ideas for StudentsPreview material, such as difficult words, new concepts, challenging computations in math, etc. so that students can allocate energy to the task without getting overloaded by active memory demands.Present information in manageable chunks or stages, rather than all at once. For example,Break extended activities down into smaller tasks, e.g., a long lecture into two parts.When giving directions and instructions, limit the use of multi-step directions; e.g., give only 1 or 2 steps at a time. Ask students to repeat the directions before beginning the task.Group similar concepts together in your lesson. Help students see the patterns in what they are learning through how your presentation is organized.
24 Active ListeningTeach students to build their active listening skills in order to enhance learning and understanding. For example,Teach students to use a self-monitoring technique for active listening, such as FACT (Focus attention- Ask yourself questions- Connect ideas- Try to picture important ideas).Arrange for students to engage in post-listening activities: Review notes from a lesson after class, Connect what was heard today with what is already in notes, Question themselves if there's anything they don't understand so they can get immediate clarification, Draw up a summary statement from the lecture, and Read the summary statement as a pre-listening tool at the beginning of the next class session.Integrate listening and memory practice into daily instruction by having students give you a title for a short story read aloud, a summary of a brief passage read aloud, or by reorganizing mixed up sentences into the proper order.
25 Multiple Approaches in the Classroom Use discussion groups and reciprocal questioning activities in which students move through the stages of summarizing ideas, generating questions about the material, clarifying comprehension of the material and predicting or anticipating information to come.Have students create graphic representations of information heard or read. Flow charts, for example, can represent procedural concepts such as steps for a bill to become a law and photosynthesis; tables can be used to compare and contrast concepts learned during classroom instruction, etc.When teaching students how to create and organize graphics such as concept maps and diagrams, begin with content that they are already familiar with and can use independently, so they are able to attend to the details of the strategy. Then gradually have them create graphics for new content as they are learning it.Have students make their own concept maps and/or outlines on a weekly basis, linking new material to what they've learned. These maps should be kept in a folder and used for by students when studying for future tests.Activate associations by having students attach visualizations or mental images to information they are learning. Teach students how to create analogies that help build associations between concepts in their minds.
26 Managing Working Memory in School May need to work with multisensory techniques and blending techniques with decoding and encoding-be systematic and directGive more time on tests and written assignmentsMay have test anxiety- support them emotionallyHelp students write down ideas first before writingRepeat verbal informationModel note taking-two columnEncourage them to write out steps in mathPractice by solving problems mentallyUse of calculators and word processors
27 Managing Working Memory Problems at Home Help with homework- organize assignments, time managements guides, see what needs WMHelp child underline as they read- summarize after each section or pageUse note cards for names, places and datesWrite down all numbers when working in math-discourage mental mathUse checklists and plansHave them verbalize out loud when workingWrite in stages- check spelling and punctuation later