Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Exam preparation and recall skill by Dyslexia Dublin 2015 ©

We are fast approaching exam time and many students with a learning need will be worrying about the whole revision process.
There are many ways in which we can store and recall information; we will look at these later.
There are so many things that can affect the flow of information to and from the brain.
I would like to talk about the different areas we use to store and then have to recall information.
Many that have a learning need have great long term memories and poor short term memories.
Normally academic study does not suit those right hemisphere thinkers (dyslexia,dyspraxia,dysgraphia and dyscalculia)
How many memory banks do we have and when do we use them?
What about the functionality of our brain and how can we retain or improve our memory?  Lots more for us to look into.
Our memory kicks in the very minute we are born (Tabula Rasa)… well almost.  Instinct causes us to breath and cry; that first touch, glance or taste are the early entries in our memory banks.  Even fear is a memory of the past (episodic) that comes back and stops us in our tracks…been here before not too sure about this!

All of these are stored (history) and help us build our future.  It is almost like DNA…unique to us. People seem to feel that they know what’s in your head…sorry, only you know that!  Many of us would feel our memory falls short of what we would like it to be, when in fact it’s much better than we believe it to be.

The brain is the most complex part of our body and, without a doubt, the nerve centre; without this we are nothing.  It monitors sensors from all over our body and feeds back the signals required to complete every task we do every day.

The brain also determines where the information is stored and how it’s stored…long term, short term, episodic or indeed if it’s worth storing at all.

Remembering can be from any source…touch, taste, hearing, smell, sight, feeling or indeed a combination of all those things.
It might be a place you have passed before, like a processing plant, your visual kicks in and then your smell completes the link.
Fear is also based on a visit to the past in our minds.

Our memory is an integral part of the brain and is strengthened very much like a muscle.  Different parts are responsible for different things and the key to development from our early years is stimulation.

The process of memory begins with encoding, and then proceeds to storage and, eventually, retrieval.

We see the world in an encrypted fashion, rather like a series of codes (similar to your personal data on a credit card).  The brain uses a form of decoding known as ‘encoding’…this the very first step in memory creation.  Neurons work the busy highways of the brain carrying data back and forth.

 Most people with a learning need such as dyspraxia or dyslexia have very good long term or episodic memories but quite poor short term memories.
This is a key reason for many of their fears such as the dentist, scared of animals or flying.

So let’s talk about recall!  In Simplistic terms, it is the way our brain draws on stored information for immediate use.
Like taking on a task that you haven’t done in a while, maybe an exam or cooking a dish. Many of these require replicated information as opposed to combining subsets of information.
There are a few ways in which information can be drawn from long-term memory.

One variant is for things such as form filling, we read what’s in front of us and rarely link this to past events.
We are pulling parts of information in order to complete the task.

Collating. This is one area where we can use past events to construct a story; such as an essay. This is a very positive area to work on.

We also do well when it comes to recognition, especially when it comes to factual answers.
We tend to be not so good with fictional things; unless of course we can turn them into fact.

One of my ideas is to create the overlearning and turn all our information into long term storage.

We can do this by quite simply recording all the things we need to learn; this creates a whole range of immediate change to the way our brain processes.

We can also use another of our strengths, and that is to add visual images to most of the subjects we are studying.

Maths is one that requires both long and short term, and this just doesn’t suit those visual factual learners.

We need to take every opportunity to create visual stimuli in this area, draw 3d shapes and colour them in; make a colour code for formulae, etc
Go out in the yard and do area, helping with the cooking can help with volumes and weights.

Reading a book; watch the film after and compare the two and take notes; again record everything.

Just make the learning come alive and best of luck with those exams.

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All our articles are for information only and guidance… professional advice should always be sought.  Dyslexia Dublin CETC © 2015


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