No matter what we are doing in life we are constantly needing to remember information, whether it is remembering how to get back home from a night out or remembering to call someone back, remebering is an important aspect of every day life. However, many different things can affect the amount a person can remember. A persons age can affect memory, stress levels and drug abuse.

Age. So we can all think of a time when an ‘older’ person has forgotton something, for example, where they left the television remote, this is because as we get older recall decreases (Hill et al, 2006). These proceeses start in our 20s and gets worse as we get into our 50s and older. This is because the synapses start to break down and we stop making these connections as easily. One theory of why this happens when we get older is the decrease of a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine, this neurotransmitter helps with the learning of new information and decreased levels have been seen to prevent the recall of previously learned information (Hasselmo & Bower, 1993).

Stress. When I first enter an exam and look through the paper I often think I know the answers but I just cannot recall them, this happens until I calm down and think, the stress I feel just before an exam hinders my abililty to recall the information, and even hours after the exam I am still remembering things that I could not in an exam. Although most of the research into this area focuses on eye witnesses recall, research finds that hugh stress levels lead to a decraese in the recall of information (Kramer et al, 1992).

Drug abuse. Drug abuse, in particlaur, marijuana abuse has been reported to affect the thinking and the organisation of thoughts of those taking the drug. This is particularly worrying as it is becoming a more popular drug among teens, and these are the years for optimum learning, however, Block et al. (1992) found that marijuana does not cause long term damange to cognitive functioning, it only impairs it when the person is intoxicated. However, Seal et al (2012) found that when the drug was used heavily and frequently (over 15 years) it affects the brains ability to learn and remember, this is worse the younger the abuse starts.

Myths and Misconceptions about teaching

For this weeks blog I thought I would look at Snyders (2006) 6 Myths about teaching. This is an interesting view because there are so many excuses that have allowed the standards of education to remain low.

1. The myth of process.

This is the focus on the jourmey through education rather than the actual learning that should tak eplace.

2. The myth of fun and interesting.

This is the focus that the process should not only teach the child but that the process should be entertaining too.

3. The myth of eclectic instruction.

This is bringing various different materials and techniques together to teach the child.

4. The myth of the good teacher.

This is the focus on the personal qualities of the teacher rather than the focus on the quality of the actual teaching.

5. The myth of the learning style.

This is the foucs that the teacher should focus on each childs individual learning style and match the learning style to suit.

5. The myth of disabilty.

This is the focus on the disability and the low stadards that are then put on the chilkd when the label is applied.

Possible reasons for the failing education system:

  • Teachers have to design their own instuctional programmes
  • Research is often ignored
  • Research is often misunderstood
  • Teachers need to be made more accountable

What did Snyder conclude?

  • Children falling into a ”labelling trap” has serious consequences on their education, particularly when labelled as learning disabled.
  • The child is automatically thought of as failing when it is really the teacher that has failed, not the child.
  • Teaching should be based on science, using teaching methods that are scientifically proven to work.



How to improve recall (blog 2)

We have all experienced enough exams in our academic careers to know that exams are not much more than a test of how much inofrmation can be reacalled within the time set, whether this is in an essay form, SAQs or in the form of multiple choice questions. Although psychologists such as Bucklin, Dickinson and Brethower would argue that when a perosn is fluent in a subject then recall is fast, however, some people do not cope very well when put in a stressful environment such as an exam and this will affect their recall, this is shown by Kramer et al (1991) where higher levels of stress had a negative impact on memory recall.

One way to try and overcome this would be to learn the information in the same room as the exam will be held, or if these two events are not in the same room then an alternative would be to try and revise in the room that the exam will be taken, this is because recall has been shown to increase by up to 15% when the information is recalled in the same environment in which is was learned compared to in an environment where it was not learned (Godden & Baddeley, 1975). An example of this would be that a lot of my learning in first year was in PJ Hall, then I revised in my room at home or halls, then the exam I sat was usually in the cluster spaces, according to the research by Godden & Baddeley (1975) my recall would have been much better if I had learned the information in PJ Hall and been examined in there too, which did happen a lot in second year. To further increase recall of information a more recent study (Baker et al, 2004) found that chewing spearmint gum at the intial learning of information is associated with a higher recall of the information at a later date.