What Good Is Learning If You Don’t Remember It?

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Teachers have a desire for their students to remember what they teach long after the lessons are taught. They hope that the day-to-day lessons will stick in the children’s minds so that they can use that knowledge later in life for work, problem-solving, and basic life skills. How should teachers help the students learn the material and remember and retain the information taught?
Memorization is one way. I am blessed when my son remembers a memory scripture that he memorized in class a few years ago. I know that those scriptures entered his long-term memory and stayed there a while. It was the repetitious repeating of the memory verses that helped him remember the verses. Memorization can have a lasting impact and is a useful tool for teachers to use. Some children may not intend to keep those memories, but the words are still there because of the constant memorization. How do we apply memorization in math? We had to practice and practice to remember our math problems and know the answer automatically. Consistent practice will help us to memorize even challenging math problems. Memorizing does have limits. Memorization does not always result in understanding. When a student memorizes scripture, they may not understand what they memorized. I took four years of Spanish in high school, and I was not able to “learn.” I memorized words but could not use this information later in life. Students can memorize States, capitals, and countries and still not know where they are on a map. Other ways can help us remember what we learn.
Association is a tool that a teacher can use that helps the student remember what they learn. If students can associate a new idea with one they already know, this will help the student remember more effectively. Visuals are a helpful way to help students remember what they have learned. Having hands-on experiences will create long term memories that will help grow their learning and develop experience and knowledge that will stay with them. When you see something visually, you tell your brain it’s important. If you see an interesting experiment, you will probably remember the details of what you learned far more then reading about it in a book. Sharing a story verbally will help them remember events in history better. What can you do each day in class that will have a lasting impact? There is not enough time in a school day to teach visually all the time, but it is best to help students associate what they learn with the world around them.
The Old Testament saints had to memorize as many scriptures as possible, remember what they read on the scrolls, and share what they had read with their families. Jesus taught people with parables and associated his teachings with things people knew about and saw every day. Solomon was a wise man and had vast knowledge, but he did not remember God’s most important teachings. All students, young or old, must remember what they learn, or it will all be of little value. We are always learning even after school. We must remember what we learn from our teachers, our parents, our bosses, and what Jesus teaches us every day. When we remember what we learn, we can be more effective in life and the things we are responsible for.