Memory Strategies and Their Place in the Primary Classroom

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As a teacher, it is important to equip our students with strategies and knowledge to help them become functioning citizens once they leave the schooling system. Understanding memory, how it works, and different strategies for remembering information are extremely useful tools, not just for the classroom, but also for out in the real world too. There are many ways teachers can help their students retain and remember facts by presenting material in different ways. There are a number of memory strategies teachers can employ, mnemonic strategies, chunking, rhyming are all useful tools for both the classroom and the outside world. To successful use these strategies and teach them, one must first understand how our memories work, how to transfer working memory into our long-term memory and how and why exactly these memory strategies are helpful in storing our memories.


The process of building memory involves three components: the senses, short-term memory and long-term memory. Information is received through and briefly held for a few seconds in the senses. This information is quickly lost if it’s not attended to. Attention is a mentally demanding process that chooses between relevant and irrelevant information. Sensory memory is information received by our senses, visual sensory and auditory sensory memories. Short-term or working memory is a mental storage space, which can store five to nine pieces of information at any one time. Long-term memory is the part of the memory system containing large amounts of data.

Working Memory:

The working memory can be described as our ‘mental workspace’. We receive information through sensory stimuli; the information is processed in the working memory, and then stored in the long-term memory. The ‘mental workspace’ has a limited capacity, and is used for cognitive tasks such as comprehension, learning and reasoning. In order for students to actively engage in learning connections between prior knowledge...
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