- Posted by Marie Kelly
- On September 24, 2017
I recently attended a two day conference in Melbourne called “Teaching and Supporting Students with Special Needs” It was a full-on but illuminating conference with a wide range of guest speakers who provided evidence based information. I have included excerpts from two of the practical workshops I attended.
Strategies for Supporting students with low working memory
Adapted from conference notes: Presenter Shirley Houston
Additional notes: Marie Kelly
Working memory is critical to learning and allows us to hold visual or auditory information in our mind temporarily (for seconds) while working with it. Some instances of when we need working memory include spelling (remembering the order of the word), following multi-stepped instructions, writing an essay, (remembering what we wrote earlier) comprehending a passage, remembering and science formulas, even remembering a recipe we are referencing as we cook, how often do you have to refer back it? Typically a person with low working memory shows incomplete recall, easily distracted and can find it hard to stay focussed on a task, has challenges with mental calculation and problem solving and generally has some difficulties with planning and organisation. So can we boost our working memory, whilst there are paid programmes that suggest one can, it is also important to apply compensatory strategies to mitigate for its effects. This can take the form of rehearsal, imaging, mnemonics, chunking and categorising, paraphrasing, using colour coding, repeating information, reducing the cognitive load by reducing instructions, rhythm and music to assist long term learning.
Games that can exercise working memory include games such as Concentration, What is missing? (visual pictures which look alike available from magazines, newspapers or an array of articles is placed on a tray, the child observes and then shuts his/her eyes, an article is removed, then relooks and names the missing article). Each game can be increased in difficulty. Bingo, ‘I Spy’, ‘The odd one out’, ‘Snap’ and ‘I went to the store and I bought …’ (each child repeats the phrase and adds an article), Chinese whispers, card games, chess, building lego models, cooking, drawing, playing a musical instrument, Sudoku and word puzzles amongst others.
Useful resources include:
- http://www.ldatschool.ca/executive-function/working-memory-difficulties/. This website has a wide range of useful explanations and resources regarding both Working Memory difficulties and Specific Learning Disorders, (SLD’s).
- MeeMo: wwwrisingstars-uk.com/series/memo
- Apps: CandySpan, Memorise