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How to teach the 10 percent in your class

This week, SAGE Education has provided an expert insight into the importance of engaging all learning types.

‘Working memory’ is the brain’s post-it note. It allows you to hold information in your mind and work with it. We make mental scribbles of what we need to remember. By understanding working memory you will be able to better support children’s learning and concentration.

Most children have a working memory that is strong enough to quickly find a book and open to the correct page, but some don’t – approximately 10 percent in any classroom. A pupil who loses focus and often daydreams may fall into this 10 percent. A pupil who isn’t living up to their potential may fall into this 10 percent. A pupil who seems unmotivated may fall into this 10 percent.

In the past, many of these pupils would have languished at the bottom of the class, because their problems seemed insurmountable and a standard remedy like extra tuition didn’t solve them. But emerging evidence shows that many of these children can improve their performance by focussing on their working memory.

Working memory is a foundational skill in the classroom, and when properly supported, it can often turn around a struggling pupil’s prospects.

Ask your pupils to do this…

Image provided to us by SAGE Education

They have to remember the instructions, remember where they left their maths book, and remember the page number.

Often times, the pupil with poor working memory will remember the maths book and pencil, but forget the page number.

Learn more about working memory with these short introductory videos by subject experts Tracy and Ross Alloway.

What is working memory?

Why is it important for educators to understand working memory?

Why is working memory important when teaching pupils with SEND?

Five top tips to help improve pupils’ working memory

Tracy and Ross are the authors of Understanding Working Memory.



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