Memory is generally defined as the processes of encoding, storing and retrieving information. These three processes interact with different memory systems. The memory systems that appear to be most important in the educational area are short-term memory, working memory and long-term memory.
- Short-term memory is a very brief memory store. Information is held in short-term memory for approximately 30 seconds to two minutes. The amount of information that can be held in short-term memory also is relatively small – approximately seven plus or minus two “chunks” of information, or the number of digits in most phone numbers.
- Working memory is the dynamic and active aspect of short-term memory. It involves holding all of the parts of a task in mind while completing the task. For example, when we are following a series of three directions that someone has given us, we must remember the second and third direction while carrying out the first. If you have ever gone to your closet to get your jogging shoes yet forgot what you wanted when you arrived at your closet, you have experienced a breakdown in working memory. Working memory is required for a multitude of tasks in school and in life.
- Long-term memory is considered to be relatively permanent storage of information that is vast in size. Long-term memory involves both storing information and retrieving information when it is wanted or needed.
The memory demands for school and college-age students are tremendous. Students are constantly bombarded with new information that they are expected to learn relatively quickly. Students who have difficulty with memory may have challenges with encoding or registering information in memory, with storing or consolidating information in long-term memory or with retrieving or accessing information from long-term memory.
Working memory is required for a multitude of tasks in school and in life. For example, students with working memory challenges may have functional problems with reading comprehension because they fail to remember the sentences they just read while reading the sentence they are reading. Writing composition may often be an arduous task for them because it requires them to retrieve their ideas from long-term memory while simultaneously recalling rules about capitalization, punctuation and grammar and writing their ideas down. In class, they may have difficulty remembering what their teachers have said at the same time that they are taking notes.
- Memory is the process of registering, storing and retrieving information.
- At no time during our lives are memory demands greater than when in we are in school.
- How well a piece of information is stored in memory is directly related to how easily it may be retrieved from memory.
- There is a big difference between understanding something and remembering it.
- It is possible for people to manage their memory challenges.
- Many strategies can be used to increase a person’s likelihood of remembering something.
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