Remembering and Learning
I remember being always with my grandmother, where ever she goes, I go with her. To the farm, to the mountains, to the river, to the creeks, I am always tagging along with my Lola Bingan. I remember I saw a white dog under our house in the remote barrio of Lubo. I remember my lola telling stories about her dream too, a white large dog. I remember my two elder sisters laughing at me; because I fell down the stairs and my face was swollen you cannot see my eyes. I remember my sisters all running away, my lola following them with a big stick. I remember playing with my brother in our rice field when I fell head-first and was buried into the rice puddy. I remember the birth of my siblings from the 5th to the 10th child. I remember bits and pieces of my misadventures. Whenever we get together and all of us recall such events in the past, I began to put pieces together. I read on my mother’s narrative (read here) and I began to understand why. My remotest childhood memories then were between the ages of 3-4, prior to the birth of my sister in 1985. I was born in Tabuk, Kalinga but because of tribal conflict in August 1982, we left for Lubo, Tanudan. My brother (next to me) was only 10days old and I just turned 1year when we made the sudden departure narrated by my mother.
The events that are told over and over again, recounted by siblings, parents, grandparents and even aunts and uncles, are the ones that I recall readily and become vivid. It is like pieces of a puzzle put together to give a larger picture. To retrieve other details like years, I have to rely on referencing like birthdays, special occasions, and historical events. Thus, for me long term memories comprised the events or experienced that has impact on me. Most of these events are adventures and misadventures, strong emotional situations like feeling in despair, and yes triumphant moment too. I think retrieval of memories is made easy when we use our social relations too.
So what are the implications to learning strategies, teaching practices and instructional designs? Just like remembering events in our life, we can use the same strategy in learning. Elaboration, allocating attention, primary-recency effects, germane cognitive load, dual coding are just some of the theory to employ. First, teachers should provide for meaningful and authentic experiences for students to develop their skills of elaboration. This will help them enhance their learning and cultivate higher-order thinking skills which consequently register into the long term memory. Second, give full attention to important details/concepts/ideas. Learn to focus on things that matters whether in learning or giving instructions. Third, knowing that we have limited working memory, teachers should introduce new concepts or key terms at the start of the lesson or during prime-time, and give seat works or exercises on recency time. Fourth, germane cognitive load is useful for learning since it contributes to schema formation. However, since working memory has limited capacity, cognitive load should have adequate level. Fifth and last, dual coding theory facilitate teaching-learning by creating lessons that contain both text and images to allow learners to have better grasp of the materials presented.
In conclusion, we tend to remember memories that have great impact in our lives, those moments when we have strong feelings and related with other people close to us, like family. Similarly, in learning, we tend to remember things when we elaborate or give full attention to what we are studying. Hence, learning involves our conscious effort to encode, process, and retrieve information that is in our long term memory.