Tips for Educators

Tips  To Help Your Students Retain Information Across 4 Subjects

  • Jun 27, 2022
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 Tips  To Help Your Students Retain Information Across 4 Subjects

Inability to retain information (forgetting) is quite common. According to Hermann Ebbinghaus, memories fade over time, especially when the information is meaningless or uninteresting. One hour after a lecture, your students will remember only half of the information taught. Add a day to it, and the retention drops to less than 70%.

How do you ensure your students don’t forget? Simple - you need to rethink your approach to teaching and really dig deep into what information retention is and how to improve it. In this article, we will discuss why learners forget information, and how to help them retain your lessons, depending on the subject.

The Forgetting Curve

Most of us have heard about the learning curve - the more the learner performs a task, the higher their efficiency. But what happens when they don’t practice enough? The percentage of the information retained decreases over time. The factors affecting this include -

  • Importance of the information for the learner
  • Information presentation
  • The emotional effect of the information on the learner
  • Attempts to relearn 

Thus, reinforcement of information is necessary to learn something successfully. Learners should also be able to connect, engage and take an interest in what is being taught. Any failure to enhance retention will lead to shattered confidence within students and even fear of certain subjects. 

Helping Your Students Retain Information

Every subject is unique, and you should adapt your teaching methodology accordingly. In this section, we’ve applied the Ebbinghaus Forgetting Curve to four subjects to come up with a few key strategies you can consider using in your teaching pedagogy. 

1. Math & Science

The most dreaded subjects, math and science, are tough nuts to crack for teachers, too. Here, adopting a holistic teaching approach can help a lot. Start by understanding your students - their interests and hobbies - to personalise learning. Recap prior knowledge before starting a new concept. You can also explain the lesson’s objectives to build interest. While science still offers immense scope for discussions, math is a little more closed off to interactive sessions. However, you can ask questions in a real-world context - encourage active learning and limit monotonous lectures to help your students retain information in these two subjects.

2. Languages

Learning a new language is exciting, yet daunting for most students. But, it doesn’t have to be all workbooks and no play. You can schedule weekly movie sessions for your students or encourage basic conversations in the new language. For example - ordering food at a restaurant, buying a ticket at the movie theatre, asking for help or introducing yourself.

3. General Knowledge (GK)

Most of the time, scoring high in GK is a result of hardcore rote learning. However, active learning can go a long way in making students fall in love with general knowledge, rather than stuffing their brains with random facts. Let’s say your class is about recent sports achievements. You can arrange a short compilation of the leading sportspersons and their best matches or even their backstories. This helps students connect and retain information better.

4. Social Studies

Memorising dates and quirky geographical locations - talk about troublesome learning! Mnemonics and Dateroni tables are some methods to make memorising historical dates less intimidating. You can create a link between the numbers or spin a story to help students remember the date and context. Flashcards and real-life resources of the events can also improve retention. You could give students assignments that involve delivering presentations or using newspaper cutouts, forms of active learning that will engage them fully.

Memorisation is crucial for learning, which is why teachers need to implement the spaced practice method (i.e., reinforcing the same information time and again to increase retention). This can be done via homework, class presentations, debates and group activities. In addition, you can create goals for your class, interact with each student to understand their challenges and inculcate better learning habits.

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