One of the big takeaways, for me, from this chapter was the idea of paying attention in order to learn and make new memories. It was interesting to me to learn about how easy it is to forget information or to just not pay attention to something that you have done a million times. I think that this plays a role in students as well. For example, with addition, some students in 7th grade may think nothing of it but if they do not have those foundational skills they may struggle with skills that are built from it. From this reading, I am taking away how meaningful lessons must be in order to engage students and to allow them to form new memories. I want to be sure that my lessons do not force students to memorize, but rather engages the students so that they are understanding the information.
In this chapter, i really enjoyed Willingham’s assertion that memory is a product of what we think about with an emphasis on emotional reactions and events. I appreciated the fact that he expanded on how memory works, and didn’t simply boil it down to repetition. While this is also a big factor in memory, he made it into a 3 pronged entity of attention, emotion, and repetition. I was fascinated by the fact that simply wanting to remember something plays almost no role in actually memorizing it. In the study he talked about where people were offered money for every remembered item, they did no better than people who did not have the incentive. I think this has huge classroom implications. It would be easy on a test that is heavy in memorizing facts and details to assume that if the students want to do well, they will study. In turn, if they are studying and wanting to do well, this will come together to result in a higher test score. While the desire to do well is not entirely irrelevant, it doesn’t have a huge resulting impact on a student’s memory. This fact is essential to remember. The implications in the classroom section was yet again very illuminating and gave very good tips to use and remember.
I agree with most of what Willingham expresses in this chapter. I just wonder about the feasibility of it all. At the end, he suggests reviewing everything in your lesson plan to avoid students thinking about unintentional topics.
WHO HAS TIME FOR THAT?! Seriously, many teachers I know barely have time just to get their lesson plans ready for the next day, usually due to the requirements administrators put on them with what needs to be included (i.e. SOL strands, Essential Questions, Short-Term & Long-Term Goals) Not saying that all of those things are not important, but teachers become more worried about the formatting of their lesson plans rather than the content and execution of their lesson plans. Now Willingham wants us to analyze it even more?
I would like to see this in action personally. I wish he could send me a video of a teacher who does this and I would like to also view their process of getting there.
One of the big takeaways from this chapter was the importance of thinking/ processing in order to form a memory. Like Willingham explained, in order for an idea to stick, the learner needs to actively think about what they are doing. Me reading this chapter was a wonderful example of this concept. I had to reread most of this chapter, because I kept thinking about studying for my upcoming test rather than focusing on what I was reading. Another interesting point that was made was that purely wanting to remember something does not dictate whether something will be remembered or not. I tend to think that emotions and “want” would fall into similar categories, making a desire to remember something beneficial for memories. So it is confusing that this is not the case.
We are awfully hard on kids for not being attentive! Are we always attentive? No way – I mean, we all know I’m not! Can we expect and allow for occasional inattentiveness and still teach? How would that look?