Improving recall of numbered and ordered information
Ninth grade students who have difficulty recalling ordered information.
With each unfamiliar item to be learned, the teacher picks a word that is acoustically similar to that item, i.e. if the item to be learned is "Poland," the "keyword" could be "pole." For items that are ordered or that have corresponding numbers, the teacher picks a "pegword" that is acoustically similar to the number, i.e. one is bun, two is shoe, three is tree, etc. Next, the teacher creates three sets of flash cards. The first set will have the item to be learned, its corresponding keyword, and a picture of the keyword printed on each card. The second set will have the printed pegword, a drawing of it, and the corresponding number. The final set of cards will have the item and its corresponding number, the keyword and its corresponding picture, the pegword and its corresponding picture, and an interactive picture of the keyword and pegword, i.e. a shoe tied to a pole. Next, the teacher teaches the student(s) the pegwords for the numbers by reading through each pegword card once and having the student(s) repeat them. The teacher then tests the student(s) and provides corrective feedback when necessary. After this, the teacher teaches the keywords for three sample items. The teacher demonstrates the retrieval strategy by showing the combined keyword-pegword interactive pictures for the three examples and provides corrective feedback when necessary. Next, the student(s) are taught the keywords for the items using the keyword cards. The teacher reads through each card once, having the student(s) repeat them. The student(s) are tested and feedback is provided if necessary. Finally, the teacher teaches the items and their corresponding numbers by presenting the interactive pictures. For each item, the teacher says: "(Item) is the (number). The word clue for (item) is (keyword). (Number) is (pegword). Remember this picture of (interactive picture)." The student(s) rehearse the procedure for each item and number to be recalled.
Record the percentage of items and corresponding numbers recalled correctly.
Mastropieri, M.A., Scruggs, T.E., Levin, J.L. (1985). Mnemonic strategy instruction with learning disabled adults. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 18, 94-100.
Melissa Register, Andrew Wiley, UVA
Increasing memory skills
48 nongifted (19 girls and 29 boys) and 48 gifted (25 boys and 23 girls) in the fourth and fifth grades
Three methods of enhancing memory were compared. The most effective method was a mnemonic transfer strategy that used a keyword pictured with the referent. The keyword method uses auditory and visual image cues to enhance factual associations. For example, to learn the Italian vocabulary word roccia (pronounced roach-ia) that means cliff, the word roach would be a good keyword for roccia. The keyword is pictured interacting with its referent--a picture of a roach jumping off of a cliff. The word lago = lake, so a good keyword for lago would be log. A picture of the keyword interacting with its referent would be a log floating on a lake. The word carta = paper, so use a picture of a cart full of paper. Students were shown two practice items and received instruction on how to identify a keyword and picture the keyword interacting with the referent.
Three practice sets and 14 cards of two sets of materials were used. One set of cards had a mineral name and common use and the other set had an Italian vocabulary word and its English equivalent written on it. An interactive mnemonic picture was provided for the first two examples. Test 1 measured recall of content area facts and Test 2 measured the transfer effects to a different content area. Although gifted students out-performed nongifted students, both groups benefited approximately equal from mnemonic instruction. Direct instructions to use the keyword strategy maximized the amount of learning produced by gifted students. Gifted students did transfer the learning strategy spontaneously to another content area to the extent that transfer performance exceeded their learning performance. Nongifted students were not able to transfer the strategy to a new content area.
Scruggs, T.E., Mastropieri, M.A., Jorgensen, C., & Monson, Jr. (1986). Effective mnemonic strategies for gifted learners. Journal for the Education of the Gifted, IX,(2), 105-121
Linda B. Hensley, ETSU
memory of facts
Study 1:gifted and nongifted, middle school students/ Study 2: Experiment 1:gifted and nongifted elementary aged students/ Experiment 2: 4th and 5th grade gifted and nongifted students
Study 1: The students were taught to use the "keyword method", a transformational mnemonic strategy. The success of the keyword method was attributed to the "three R's" involved in this mnemonic process: Recoding, Relating, and Retrieving. For example, learning the Spanish word for duck which is pato. First learners would recode "pato" to the keyword pot. Second learners would relate the keyword "pot" to its English equivalent, duck (e.g. by picturing a duck with a pot on its head). Third, learners then have a direct retrieval route to the response duck when asked the meaning of "pato" (e.g. the keyword for "pato" is pot and the picture was a duck with a pot on its head therefore, the meaning of "pato" is duck).
Study 2: (Experiment 1) In the first mnemonic transfer condition, students were given additional mnemonic pictures depicting minerals and hardness levels. In the second mnemonic condition, students were provided with mineral names, keywords, and corresponding hardness levels and were asked to provide their interactive image (e.g. for vanadinite = 3, students were told vanadinite is three on the hardness scale and the word clue for vanadinite is van. Think of a picture that will help you remember that vanadinite is three."). In the third condition, the students were given the mineral name and hardness level and asked to think of their own keyword and interactive picture. In the free-study control condition, students were provided with both sets of minerals and hardness levels and asked to study them on their own.
(Experiment 2) The students were asked to "transfer" the mnemonic strategy taught to them to learn attributes of North American minerals to the learning of a list of 14 Italian vocabulary words. Students were not given pictures but were trained to generate their own pictures.
In the first study the researchers found substantial increases in the amount of learned material in the gifted students but not a substantial increase of learned material with reference to the non-gifted students. No graphs or exact figures were given for this study.In the second study, experiment one involved the students being taught a mnemonic strategy for learning minerals and their hardness. The strategy was taught at three varying levels while a fourth free-study condition was used. In this study the "normal" and gifted students retained information nearly twice as well as the free-study group.In the second experiment of study 2, the students were asked to transfer a mnemonic strategy learned in one procedure to another procedure involving new material. Again no graphs or exact numbers were given with this study, but there was a resultant. The gifted students were able to transfer the mnemonic strategy successfully while the "normal" students were not able to transfer the strategy successfully.
Scruggs, T. E., Mastropieri, M. A., Monson, J., & Jorgensen, C. (1985). Maximizing what gifted students can learn: Recent findings of learning strategy research. Gifted Child Quarterly 29(4), 181-5.
David Collins, ETSU
Improving ability to ascertain the identity of people without relying on visual cues (clothing etc.), voices, or names
One 24-year-old male who had sustained a traumatic brain injury
The ability to ascertain the identity of people without relying on visual cues may be increased by using face-name interference stimuli methods. Before the pretest, the trainer must choose photos to be used. The photos should of people from a similar field (e.g., politicians). Each face needs to be surrounded by a closely fitting circular frame, to obscure as much of the background and the person's clothing as possible, and then rephotographed in black and white to a standard size. When beginning face-name interference training the trainer must begin with a pretest consisting of a series of forty-eight back-projected slides of famous people (e.g., politicians, actors, cartoon characters, etc...). Six slides of each person should be arranged into a random order. The student is then asked to decide whether or not each person is a politician. If the student is unable to do this he should be encouraged to guess. Responses may be made by closing a switch operated by a 15 cm high lever situated vertically in front of his body midline. Movement of the lever away from the body signals "Politician" responses, and movement toward his body signal "Nonpolitician" responses. The faces are presented for four seconds each. Reaction times to each face are recorded from onset, and errors should be noted. Following the pretest give the student practice at classifying the names of the people used as stimuli. These names should be printed in clear upper case letters. Classification into politician and nonpolitician categories is again required, with the same manual response. Thirty-two trials should be given (four with each name). The purpose of these trials is to provide sufficient practice for name classification to be easily and fluently carried our, and reaction times are not to be analyzed during these trials. Following the pretest and practice, face-name interference stimuli follows. Each stimulus consists of a face and a printed name in a cartoonlike "speech bubble". The student is asked to ignore the faces and continue classifying the names as being those of politicians or nonpoliticians as quickly and accurately as possible.
Observations should be charted and graphed to reflect student progress. Posttest performance represented dramatic improvements over baseline.
De Haan, E.H.F., Newcombe,F., & Young, A. (1987). Faces interfere with name classification in a prosopagnosic patient. Cortex, 23, 309-316.
Sharon B. Mueller, ETSU
Improving thinking skills
63 fourth and fifth grade students with learning disabilities
Students were assigned at random to one of three treatment conditions: Coaching, provided explanation , or no explanation control. The students involved in the coaching group received both factual information and a sequence of questions designed to help them construct explanations for the information. Examples of these questions would be if the students had just read a story about an animal named "The Honey Bear", the teacher might ask why it makes sense to call him this. If the appropriate explanation was given coaching would cease, but if not another question would be asked, and so on. Students in the provided explanation group were provided with factual information and associated explanations, and students in the no explanation group received only the target information.
Tests of immediate recall of target information and explanations were administered. One week after the immediate tests, surprise delayed tests of recall and explanation were given.The results indicated that students in the coaching group outperformed the students in the other two groups, on immediate and 1-week delayed tests. Retention of the presented information was more prevalent in the coaching group.
Sullivan, S.S., Mastropieri, M.A., & Scruggs, T.E. (1995). Reasoning and remembering: Coaching students with learning disabilities to think. The Journal of Special Education, 29, (3). 310-322.
Richard Hutson, ETSU
To improve recall of information reviewed in lectures
Seventh and eighth grade students with and without learning problems
As each item of targeted information is reviewed, the Recall Enhancement Routine is implemented following this sequence: (a) the students are verbally cued that the information that is to follow is important; (b) the students are verbally cued to take notes about the information and the device for remembering it; (c) the type of mnemonic device to be used to remember the information is named; (d) the mnemonic device that had been specifically designed for the information is presented in conjunction with the information, and both the device and the information are written or sketched on the board, and (e) the mnemonic device is reviewed at the end of the review period.
The routine can be used at any time during a lesson; however, in this study it was incorporated into the closing part of the lesson during a review of the content that had been presented during the lesson.
This technique was found to be most effective with the mentioned teacher board notes and the when the final review of the information and mnemonic devices was included.
Check that students include both the specified information and the mnemonic device in their notes. Track test results to look for improvement with the use of the technique.
Bulgren, J. A., Schumaker, J. B., & Deshler, D. D. (1994). The effects of recall enhancement routine on the test performance of secondary students with and without learning disabilities. Learning Disabilities Research & Practice, 9, 2-11.
Brenda E. Fogus, UVA