HELPFUL COGNITIVE APPROACHES
9. Memory Ideas (con’t)
The human brain has a limited number of unrelated items that it can recall simultaneously, depending on the person’s age (5=2, MS=5, HS=7). Use this information to maximize student learning: “What are two things we learned about clouds today?” “Let’s list five differences between these two periods of history.” “What are the seven steps in this molecular evolution?”
We file information my similarity, but we retrieve by difference. If two factors are closely associated in our minds, we try to store them together—the brain loves connections. But when we try to pull the information from our minds, we search for it according to unique identifiers—the differences. If students are confused by two or more similar concepts, we should separate the lessons by a few days. If this is impossible, emphasize the differences and allow for lots of opportunity to practice discriminating between the two.