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Veteran Educator Provides Insight on Student Retention

Veteran Educator Provides Insight on Student Retention

All educators may have experienced an instance where after weeks of teaching a particular subject, their students don't seem to remember any of the information post test. 

"How did that happen? They knew it all so well just the other day!" wrote Naphtali Hoff, veteran educator and former school administrator, in a post on In this post, Hoff talks about how important student retention is in the classroom.

"Recently, I was giving a workshop for teachers on lesson planning. We talked about core components of successful lessons, including defining objectives, engaging in task analysis to ensure that the objectives will be met and checking for understanding to confirm that learning has occurred," Hoff wrote. "Sometime during the workshop I began to speak about memory and what teachers could and need to be doing in order to promote student retention. At that point it dawned on me that few, if any, lesson plans designate space for memory-related techniques and student review."

Hoff wrote that if you were to ask ask the average educator the “ingredients” of a strong lesson plan, "they will speak of such things as big questions, time allocation, required resources, groupings and evaluation. But they will almost assuredly not talk about memory and retention. Somehow our conception of good education has come to be centered on what information will be learned and how the learning will occur, with little consideration of how it will be retained. And I think that’s a mistake."

The good news is that we know so much about the brain and how we remember things, though we’ve only begun to scratch the surface in this regard. We know that the best way for students to retain information is by embedding knowledge in their episodic memories [episode-based learning that enters into our long-term memory].

"The more that learning can be transformed into 'episodes' that demand the engagement of the whole child, the better the child will learn and remember," Hoff continued. "We also know that lists and other hard-to-remember, loosely-connected information can be better retained through use of mnemonic, song, association and webbing. It is our job as teachers to either develop their memory tricks or encourage our students to do so. We also need to teach them how to do it."

Read the full story and comment below.

Article by Kassondra Granata, Education World Contributor

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