remembering may not be a simple matter of repeating

Remembering may not be a simple matter of repeating

 A common way of teaching is to show students how to do something and then get them to practise it again and again until it is automatic. There is no doubt that this works to a degree.

However, I recently discovered that ideas that were generated from my study of myself trying to learn a new language gave insight into the way language was probably best learnt. I found that I had to use certain words or phrases that I was trying to learn repeatedly until it became part of the language I used. However, if I repeated the word(s) by simply saying the same word or words again and again, or by looking and covering and then trying to remember – this seemed to work for only a short period. I knew the word(s) for a short while. When I tried to use them later – they were gone i.e. I could not recall them.

 However, I believe there was a way to overcome this. This was to repeat the word(s) but in different ways and with different approaches. I would use the usual methods of looking covering writing and checking, saying out loud and visualizing and imagining interactive pictures that reminded me of the sounds of the syllables. It was not until I deliberately tried to remember the word(s) in a different way each time that I felt progress was made.

This seemed to work with teaching the piano, too. A young pupil was obviously a little fed up with repeating the same thing again and again.  So I made up slight changes of touch and rhythm for him to repeat the same series of notes and it seemed to open up a new horizon for him. He remembered the fingering and note series much quicker and I believe, better. It’s worth a try eh?


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