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28 January 2020

Why Students Forget and How to Prevent it from Happening

Why Students Forget and How to Prevent it from Happening

Research in this area has pointed to several techniques that can help students remember information. Spacing out the study of a topic and self-testing and other exercises that retrieve information, often in small chunks, are the most effective. 


Why do children  forget what they have learnt?

1: If we do not learn a topic well enough and it does not get stored in our long term memory then we will forget what we have learned.

2: Sometimes when we learn a new topic it interferes with an old topic and we merge or cannot separate the two. This leads to misconception or misunderstanding. For example, students learn the rule for adding fractions with different denominators and then they try and use the same rule when they want to multiply a fraction. These two fractions have different rules and should be consolidated and remembered in order to answer a question.

3: We often forget topics when we do not use them. It is very important to use what we learn regularly to keep it in our long term memory. It happens to all of us. For example, if the student understands a topic very well, but fails to use it for months, then they are unlikely to remember it or be able to retrieve the information quickly.

4: Also, the students has to want to remember  it. They must not feel that they cannot remember it.
Even if they have a poor memory then they should make an effort to try and help themselves by using some of the  methods below:


  • Practice testing - Self-testing or taking practice tests covering material that has been covered.
  • Distributed practice - Implementing a schedule of practice on certain topics that spreads out study activities over time.
  • Elaborative interrogation - Asking students to provide an explanation for why a fact or concept is true.
  • Self-explanation - Explaining how new information is related to known information, or explaining steps taken during problem solving.
  • Summarization - Writing summaries of presented information.
  • Highlighting/underlining - Marking potentially important portions of materials while reading.
  • Keyword mnemonic - Using keywords and mental imagery to associate verbal materials.
  • Imagery for text - Attempting to form mental images of text materials while reading or listening.
  • Rereading - Restudying text material again after an initial reading.

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