Honing Memory To Boost Academic Performance
By Sally Writes
Research shows that around 10% of students may have working memory problems. This can be a stumbling block to academic success because the working memory is required for everything from reading comprehension tasks to spelling and mathematics. If your child quickly forgets what they have just read or tends to get distracted, rest assured they are not alone. If your child is having difficulty concentrating or remembering information, consider the following tips for more focused performance.
Dual-N-Back training to improve the working memory
Working memory is vital for learning. It is necessary in order to remember and visualize, for instance, a sequence of numbers. It also allows children to categorize items and follow instructions on exams. The part of the brain responsible for working memory is also responsible for concentration. To hone these skills, consider the Dual-N-Back brain training method, a simple digital game designed to improve memory and intelligence. In a study published in the Journal of Cognitive Enhancement, John Hopkins University researchers found that participants who played Dual-N-Back five days a week for 30 minutes showed a 30% improvement in their working memory. The game, which can be played online for free, challenges people to remember sequences and sounds, much like the classic battery-operated memory game, Simon, but at a considerably more challenging level.
Research undertaken at the University of Cincinnati found that students could be undermining their academic progress by not getting enough sleep. The study, which focused on college students aged 18 to 24, found that 54.8% of those surveyed slept for less than seven hours, and only 20.8% slept for more than eight hours. As noted by the researchers, short-term effects of poor sleep include poor concentration and memory. Said lead researcher, Adam Knowlden, “During sleep, the brain acts like a hard-drive on a computer. It goes in and cleans up memories and makes connections stronger, and it gets rid of things it doesn’t need.” To hone your child’s sleep quality, ensure they follow a regular routine at night, limit gadget and television use, and encourage them to consume stimulating foods like chocolate or coffee in the day rather than in the late afternoon.
More nature, fewer gadgets
A study by researchers at the University of Texas at Austin has found that having one’s smartphone on the desk significantly reduces one’s cognitive capacity and concentration, even when the phone is off. By contrast, looking at an image of a green vista was shown to significantly boost concentration and reduce errors in students. Nature is the perfect setting to sharpen the art of mindfulness (being fully ‘present’ in ‘the here and now’) – a skill that is crucial when it comes to concentration.
To ensure your children concentrate fully in class, ensure they get quality sleep and more time in nature/green surrounds. Work specifically on their working memory through Dual-N-Back, the fun game that grows gradually in difficulty and that challenges one’s visual and auditory memory all at once.