How to find ways to tell the brain that the information read, written, consulted and learned is important, that it has value, of interest for the long term… and that it therefore deserves to be retained
Tell someone else the information
One way to signal important information to the brain is to talk about it, to play the teacher yourself. It can also consist of (oneself) asking questions on the subject in order to deepen it.I wrote an article devoted to the art of asking questions to learn.
Flash cards are cards whose front and back indicate two related pieces of information, often the question and the answer (for example, 7×9 on the front and 63 on the back, an image and its translation into a foreign language). Making flash cards yourself to test yourself reinforces the learning process.
The creation of mental images and stories
The fact of associating a word or a phrase with an image makes it easier to remember it. In her book Objectif Mémoire , Hélène Weber tells a story to remember the names of the planets in order:
A superb SUN has near it a small MERCURY thermometer. The sun is so hot that the thermometer bursts and the small balls of liquid metal roll in front of you.
Curious and amused, a little young woman whom you imagine to be beautiful, voluptuous and giving off a sweet perfume comes towards you. And what is the name of this pretty goddess? VENUS !
Venus plays, has fun with the balls of mercury. It takes shape in front of you and finally launches away one of the balls of mercury which lands with a resounding “boom” in the middle of your garden: on EARTH.
But the marble is light and from your garden, it bounces into your neighbour’s. Your neighbor is small, angry and surly. And who is the god of war? MARCH.
Mars is ready to pounce on you to bring you down. But he is stopped in his tracks by a giant so big and powerful that it makes the whole earth tremble around you. You look up at this giant who is also your best friend: a lock of his hair slides over his forehead, forming the “J” of JUPITER: the king of the gods.
On the Jupiter t-shirt, you see the word SUN, which forms the beginning of the names of the following three planets: SATURN, URANUS and NEPTUNE.
Mathieu Protin has created a method for retaining multiplication tables based on imagination and humorous little stories. I invite you to read this article to understand the principle: Multimalin: 56 cards to permanently memorize the multiplication tables
The young girl from 5° to whom I am helping had to memorize and learn effectively a list of 5 words by heart, including “obsolete”. She was able to recite the definition to me more or less by heart, but I felt that she hadn’t understood the meaning. I then asked her for an example of the use of this word and after a long moment of hesitation, she replied: “expired ham is obsolete.” So I went over the definition with her, I gave her an example I was thinking of (the Minitel) without imposing it on her if she preferred to find another one and she ended up saying to me: “But in fact, obsolete it means say outdated.” Bingo, it clicked!
There is a village near my house in which there is a zoo known for its emblem: a gorilla which was raised almost like a child by the owners. I met a person who lived in this village and to remind me of where he lived I drew him next to his written name… and every time I think of that person, I imagine a little gorilla in my head :-).
“A diagram is worth a thousand words.”
Still with my 5th grader, we were working on the notion of global warming. However, I realized that she was having trouble learning the definition of greenhouse gases. So I asked her about the course and what the teacher had said about it. Answer: “Nothing, she just told us to copy the definition from the book.” In order to start from her mental representations, I asked her to express in a diagram what greenhouse gases meant to her. From this diagram (which nevertheless represented a nuclear power plant as the only source of global warming…), we went through the great floods of New York and New Orleans, the Fukushima tsunami, the possible disappearance of Seychelles, by electric cars before arriving at a correct scheme.
I invite you to read this article to understand how to integrate pictograms and diagrams when taking notes in class or when memorizing lessons: 7 steps to learn sketchnoting (visual note taking)
The sketchnote can be introduced in the classroom by teachers as a lesson presentation tool and/or as a note-taking tool for students.
A lapbook is a kind of decorated and personalized booklet which takes up elements around a studied concept, in the form of drawings, tables, writings, images, collages and graphics of all kinds.
The objective is to summarize information on a subject and organize it with mobile means: flaps, pockets, wheels, pull tabs, flaps, envelopes, post it notes… In each form and each mobile corresponds to a notion.