Why Students Remember?
Most students at one time or another will be asked to remember (retention) some lesson or homework activity. For some students, this can be a great challenge, not because they lack the intelligence, but because their brain is (often) not wired or in the habit of remembering information they consider boring or disinteresting. Instead, some students are literally thrown to the wolves without using proven learning strategies to alleviate the difficulty associated with remembering such information.
Moreover, certain strategies would certainly help parents from pulling their hair out every time the child is required to study for a spelling test or learn the 50 states and capitals? As much as children might rail against such assignments, such lessons will always be a part of school and in some ways only expose to parents the child’s inability or ability to remember?
With this in mind, let’s look at what researchers consider how and what students might remember best after 24 hours of classroom learning. For example, most students only remember about 5% of what they hear, which represents the lecture format. Interesting, the dominant teaching format in most high schools is the lecture format. In fact, retention is lowered if their listening lacks any emotional connection to the subject for discussion.
Next is verbal processing or what they read or 10% retention. However, retention or remembering can increase to 30% if verbal processing is connected to pictures, photo’s or watching a movie that is relevant and/or associated with what they are reading or hearing.
Another level of retention is when students are allowed to have group discussions about what they have learned or participating in a discussion about something they care about such as giving a talk, doing a dramatic presentation, or simulating the real experience increases the retention rate to 50%.
Practice by doing occurs when the child is asked to duplicate all the steps to a lesson increases retention to 75%.
Finally, the last level or teaching others about what they have learned, represents our highest level or a 90% retention rate. (NAT’L., 1960).
Again, these percentages should not be generalized to the entire school age population, but only to be taken within the context that some children’s retention skills will be lower than others.
Therefore, the wise parent needs not only to learn strategies that will help the child’s ability to remember, but to be aware of other factors such as the child’s multiple intelligence or learning style and always remember that learning doesn’t necessarily have to be the struggle we make it out to be.

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