Best Practice

Teaching memory skills

Memory champion and school leader Jonathan Hancock has always been amazed that more schools don’t focus on memory skills. He argues why they should and offers some ideas for memory games and other approaches

Like it or not, primary schools are increasingly judged on their pupils’ ability to remember. The latest primary national curriculum requires children to retain facts and figures about the humanities, know all their times tables, recall technical terminology about English, learn new languages, master complex calculation methods – and sit formal tests in which they have to work independently and perform under pressure.

The children who do best are confident in their abilities to engage with many different forms of information, extract the key elements, present it in different ways – and remember it, so that they can not only work with it in lessons but also utilise it in assessments and exams. The techniques they use to do this involve creative thinking, but also a very logical and organised approach that they can turn on whenever they want. They can reflect on their learning, help others to start using the same techniques, and get into habits that will serve them well for the future.

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