Educators educating Educators

Sep 26

The 7-Second Rule




For further insights into this topic, refer to "Forgetting Curve" in Long-Term Memory


Remembering information initially

The first few moments of learning give us the ability to remember something and the first few seconds of encoding determines whether something that is initially processed will also be remembered.

Elaborate rehearsal is the most effective means of robust retrieval. Thinking or talking about an event immediately after it has occurred enhances memory for that event. Law enforcement officers know this well and utilize this principle by having a witness recall information as soon as possible after a crime.

Why is elaborate rehearsal (repetition) important? Memories may not be fixed at the moment of learning, but repetition, doled out in specific time intervals, is the fixative. Research has shown that the typical human braincan hold about 7 pieces of information for less than 7 seconds. You need to re-expose yourself to the information, which is called maintenance rehearsal.

Ebbinghaus showed the power of repetition almost 100 years ago. He created forgetting curves, which showed that a great deal of memory loss occurs in the first hour or two after the initial exposure and demonstrated that this loss could be lessened by elaborate and deliberate repetition. Furthermore, the timing of re-exposure is critical.





News

Welcome back to another school year. I hope your summer was relaxing and invigorating and you are looking forward to the approaching school year and the opportunity to stimulate and challenge your students’ minds.

This summer I was able to study Sir Ken Robinson, a British author, speaker and international advisor on education to governments, non-profits, and education organizations

I, like many people, find his writings and Ted Talks not only witty and inspiring but also thought-provoking and challenging. Much of his work deals with the diversity of intelligence, the power of imagination and creativity, and the importance of commitment to our own capabilities. He posits that the noticeable lack of them in our schools negatively affect students’ learning and teachers’ productivity and the absence of them is triggered by the demands of standardized testing.

I hope you find Sir Ken Robinson’s words inspiriting and challenging as I do and be mindful of them as you plan for the new year. Here is to a great 2017-2018 school year!