Teaching memorization

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Teaching memorization

Children are under a lot of pressure. You've probably recognize how much information your child, from Elementary through College, has to memorize and are accountable for on tests. There are things we've learned from neuroscience, about how memory is preserved that we can help to use our child memorize. For example, the word neuroplasticity -- you've probably heard that word a lot -- and that is, simply a matter of what happens when information is repeated in the brain. So when -you brain learns something or hears a fact -- Sacramento is the capital of California -- even when the brain first hears it, there's a couple of little dendrites and axons that connect a few neurons together. Now, is that going to stay in long-term memory? Not a chance. What needs to happen is the information needs to be repeated in the brain. Electricity needs to go through that circuit over and over for more connections to form, more dendrites, more axons, more myelons. That is the whole neuroplasticity process. That's how we develop long-term memory. In order to help a child build long-term memory, they need to mentally manipulate. They need to use it back. Asking them, "What does it mean to you?" or "Why would the state capital be here in our city, instead of Los Angeles?" Those questions make them use that information, along with the information in the brain; so that little isolated memory in the brain, links to some bigger network. That's a key to making new information stick. Link it to something that is already there.

Watch Judy Willis, MD, MEd's video on Teaching memorization...


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Judy Willis, MD, MEd


After graduating Phi Beta Kappa as the first woman graduate from Williams College, Judy Willis attended UCLA School of Medicine where she was awarded her medical degree. She remained at UCLA and completed a medical residency and neurology residency, including chief residency. She practiced neurology for 15 years before returning to university to obtain her teaching credential and master's of education from the University of California, Santa Barbara. She then taught in elementary and middle school for 10 years.

Dr. Judy Willis is an authority on brain research and its applications regarding learning. With the unique background as a parent, neurologist, classroom teacher, and neuro-educator she writes extensively for parenting magazines and professional educational journals. Dr. Willis has written six books for parents and educators about applying brain research to parenting and teaching.

Dr. Willis is on the adjunct faculty of the Graduate School of Education, University of California and gives presentations to parents and educators nationally and internationally about how to help children learn joyfully and successfully. She is on the Board of Directors of the Hawn Foundation, dedicated to helping children improve academic performance and acquire vital social and emotional skills. In 2011, she was honored by Edutopia, as a “Big Thinker on Education”.

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