Below is a model for information processing (retention and retrieval). Here are a couple key points I want to highlight:
- A lot of information is filtered out so what gets through? Information that is interesting or relevant.
- Information that is connected to prior knowledge, is relevant or that is organized has a better change of being stored effectively for retrieval.
- Working memory has a limited capacity. Consider what happens to your computer when you have a lot of apps open. Your computer may start to buffer which is basically what happens to our kiddos if instruction involves opening too many apps in their brains.
- Long term memory is basically retrieval of information. Think a student’s book bag with a ton of papers crammed in it. How well can he or she find homework? Compare this to a well maintained file cabinet that has a folder labeled homework with the homework assignment in question stored in this folder. That paper is much easier to retrieve. This is analogous to long-term memory. If the information is relevant or meaningful it will be stored in the file cabinet folder and more easily retrieved. In contrast, rote memorization like the rules teachers present students are papers crammed into an overflowing bookbag.