Friday, January 12, 2018

Random thoughts: Insights gain when teaching pupils memory techniques

Felt like ages since I last blogged.

The techniques here refer to the journey method by Dominic. It has worked amazingly well for me, but I am not sure if I can say the same for my pupils, so for the last 2 weeks, I have been trying it out. This is what I discovered:

1) It is not the fastest way to remember things, but if u do it properly, it has high retention rate. My weakest pupils, if I have ascertain they are doing it correctly, has retention rate of 80-100% after 24-48 hours

2) During the association and visualization phase, if they use English meaning to visualize, they will recall the English meaning and not the Chinese word. For example, those who visualize a leaf for 改过自新will recall "turn over a new leaf" and not the Chinese pronounciation, so the way forward is to use the shape of the character or the Chinese pronounciation to visualization.

3) For my weaker pupils, it work best with sound, the meaning Part should be left during linking and imagination phase. For example, 鼻子一酸,my girl thought of and drew a picture of a swan. So cute

4) It cannot be transferred. The association and imagination must be done by the pupils themselves. I demonstrate how it is done, those who copied my journey has low retention rate and took longer to remember.

5) imagination is the toughest part, most of the time, I supplied the storyline to link all the pictures to the place in their journey. They laughed and remember. But few can do this phase without help.

6) move backwards before moving forward is important. Even I dun have a good memory, a pupil in a top class that I relief can remember all the words in the white board in matters of minutes. When I ask how he do it, he told me he just remember. Upon prompting, he told me he can visualize the whole white board with the words on it, talk about photographic memory!

7) To remember sentences, the sequence of appearance during the linking and imagination phase is very important. Otherwise the sentence gets disjointed easily.

8) Memory is not low level cognitive process like what some of my colleagues remarked. It encourage my weakest pupils to do self-directed learning since I have prove to them it only works well when u own the visualization process. There is no handout to be given, they create their own picture notes.

9) The techniques don't work well with pupils with good memory. Because they skip the steps because they can remember easily. But my son forgets very quickly too. There are others like that boy, who need no such memory aid.

I am going to try paragraphs soon, to be combined with concept of hook, preset system and peer check and repetition. Memory may or may not be low level, but I think it has given my weakest a sense of achievement, they can remember things now. I saw of learning in them now. It gives me much joy too

Thank you reading.


  1. Hi SI,

    I can vouch for it. It works. I used to use it.

    But "imagination" to link stuff cannot be taught though :/

  2. Hi UN, can be demonstrate, by cannot be copied. Cannot transfer, that's the part most pupils have difficulty .

    Think they too serious, what so difficult to come up with a nonsensical link