Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Working Memory & The Classroom

It was nice to see an Education journal writing about working memory in the classroom. Working memory overload often contributes to impaired performance in such tasks as mathematical problem solving, reading for dyslexic students, writing for dyslexics and others(particularly when writing by hand), foreign or second language learning, note-taking and really any conceptually- or procedurally-demanding tasks. It probably won't surprise you that working memory problems are often mislabeled as poor effort, inattention, or lack of ability.

Working memory problems are important to recognize, though, because they are completely independent of abilities in long term memory - so that means a student can have quite a limited working memory span, but excellent long term memory. A person such as this can have encyclopedic knowledge, but be significant limited in how information is presented (e.g. a little bit at a time).

Given the importance of working memory to academic underperformance, it's surprising more attention has been given to it. Take a look at how a reduced working memory span correlated well with feelings of math anxiety.

Working Memory and the Classroom pdf
Math Anxiety and Working Memory pdf
Ten Strategies to Enhance Students' Memory
Strategy, Counting Knowledge, and Working Memory pdf

1 comment:

  1. I had the privilege of seeing Drs. Eide at the NAGC conference last November, and still hope we can arrange to have them present at the NJAGC annual conference some March. Their work is cutting edge and gives credence to what so many educators have "known" intuitively about some students.

    I cleaned out an old handbag just last week and found the business card they gave me at the NAGC conference.This announcement of the Washington Post event is very timely!

    Good luck and I hope to tune in!