Written by: Guia P. De Jesus
Teacher III, Cupang Elementary School
In school, strongest memories tend to be those that involved emotions. For example, the happy field trips, plays and programs, sports day, and personal events with friends. These events made us feel elated, angry, sad, or interested. We may not remember vividly lessons in Math or English or Science – unless the lessons were taught with gusto and with experiences that tickled our curiosity and feelings.
Remembering or memory has two forms – episodic and semantic. Episodic is also known as autobiographical memory. We do not need to consciously remember recent events as memories just happen automatically. Although the downside of this form of memory is that it comes easily but goes off easily as well. For example, you may remember what you had for dinner yesterday but you won’t remember what you had for dinner a year ago, unless maybe
that dinner has been a part of a special occasion.
Semantic memory, in contrast, takes harder work. This form of memory does not just happen. For example, when we consciously study what we want to learn. The result is in a long-lasting memory. When we learn how to drive and when we do, the learning will not just leave us but will be a part of what we know.
So, when we make learning fun and intriguing for students, do we help them learn? Yes and no. Yes, they remember the occasion. Do they remember the lesson or the concept? Some might while others might not. How is that possible? Because each person has his own capacity of remembering in a longer term or in a shorter term, to learn fast or the other way around, to think with logic and to think more using the emotions.
As teachers, how do we really help students remember the lessons taught to them? Both memories are important. Creating a pleasant memory while learning something is more impactful. A student who is bombarded with lessons might not put his full attention to study, on the other hand, too much of just light or happy moments might not help in inculcating concepts to a student’s mind. The best strategy is to combine both. Deliver the lesson in a fun and creative way while engaging students to using logical and critical thinking. This way, they remember the lesson because they were happy studying it and at the same time, remember the concept because it was scrutinized in a rational manner.