Helping Your Child To Learn
At The Priory Belvoir Academy, the focus of homework is on independent learning and memory of key skills and concepts which supports our knowledge-engaged curriculum. With the new GCSE qualifications focussing on terminal examinations, more emphasis than ever is being placed on students’ memory and recall. The learning of key concepts and skills is the bedrock of academic success and this means that right down through Key Stage 3, the development of this core knowledge is crucial to progress.
More information about our homework procedures can be found here.
Parental support in this process is invaluable and there are a number of different ways you can help your child develop strong memory pathways.
One way to learn new material is through quizzing and practice testing. Methods for practice testing include the following:
- Copy cover check – the student copies out a piece of information and then covers it to see if they can write it out again from memory. Together, you could then check between the two to see how close they were.
- Flash cards – create revision cards with questions on one side and answers on the other (eg, key terms and definitions). Students can use these themselves and make two piles of right and wrong for further revision, or you could quiz them.
- Quizzing – at the end of each revision session, the student could create a quiz for you to use at the start of their next session.
Research shows that highlighting or simple copying are proven to be ineffective techniques for memorising or learning new information. Instead, students should focus on using the information they are learning. Methods for relearning include the following:
- Redesign – present the information in a new format, eg turn a plot summary into a flow diagram, turn a list of definitions into a song. You could help them compare between the source information and new format to ensure they included everything, or ask them to explain it to you.
- Memory tests – spend half the time memorising your topic in its current format, then try to exactly recreate that without looking, eg rewrite a mindmap. You could then help them check against the original and add in any missing information in another colour.
- Dual Coding – turn the written material being studied into pictures and diagrams. It doesn’t matter how artistic they are as long as the student knows what they mean. By looking at the information in two formats (written and pictorial), students are creating two pathways for memory in their brains. You could help by showing the pictures and asking your child to explain what it represents, or showing the words and asking your child to redraw the pictures.
Ask your child to explain a topic to you – perhaps they could even teach you! As they are explaining, probe their understanding by asking them ‘why’. By explaining topics further and further developing their understanding independently, your child is strengthening their understanding and recall.
Challenge your child to form links between topics, or to link what they are studying to what they already know. This encourages your child to actively process the content and forming links within their brain to prior knowledge further strengthens memory and recall.