“Get it out of your head, learn the multiplication table better!” Sometimes such demands placed on a child cannot be met. They are not interconnected, since we store different information on different “disks” of our arbitrary and involuntary memory. The first is responsible for ensuring that we know the multiplication table, the second acts on its own and brings into our memory everything that it pleases — bright events, strong emotions, interesting images, brilliant ideas, and so on.
But our task is not to follow its lead and leave room for knowledge. They can only be obtained on purpose, using arbitrary memory.
The task of arbitrary memory is to record information received by its owner on purpose (learning the same multiplication table, for example). It helps us learn a poem, remember our address, passport details. Yes, in reality there are people who know them by heart, and sometimes this is actually quite useful.
However, such a memory begins to form at an age when it is still far from receiving the main document of a citizen. In psychology, it is believed that this happens in primary and secondary school when a child has a conscious desire or need to learn (remember) something.
The development of arbitrary memory involves many factors. Including what was laid in us at a very young age, even before the school bench.
How it works?
The level of efficiency of arbitrary memory depends not only on what exactly we are learning and why, but also on the methods we use to remember. Who does not know the state of the exam, when, going to it, we feel in full combat readiness, because behind us are a day in the library, sleepless nights over textbooks, and when we receive a card with questions, we fall into a stupor with an admixture of amnesia or, conversely, unexpectedly for ourselves, we demonstrate the best aspects of our arbitrary memory and get the highest score.
Of course, it is possible and necessary to train memory in adulthood, but, as you know, all problems come from childhood and that’s what parents need to pay attention to so that their child does not encounter problems in adulthood.
- Try to have the child take part in various games, ideally — periodically take the lead.
- Try to repeat the events already experienced with your child, remember trips to the zoo or circus. Let the child tell what he remembers about this or that animal or performance in the arena, what jokes of the clown seemed especially funny to him. Come back to this topic in a couple of days.
- Use word games more often. Just don’t immediately “load” the baby with games in “cities”, “edible — inedible” is quite suitable for a start. The host throws the ball to the participants and at the same time pronounces a word, the child’s task is to catch the ball if something edible was named and not to catch if the name of an inedible thing was pronounced.
- Do not force the child to cram anything, try to evoke emotions in him, try to colorfully describe this or that object or event to him so that not only the name, but also the images remain in his memory.
- Teach your child to understand what he is learning.
- Explain to the child how and why the acquired knowledge will be useful to him.
Arbitrary memory allows us not only to participate in the competition of readers or contests like “What? Where? When?». Knowledge embedded in our brain pantry through arbitrary memory is necessary both in professional activities and in everyday life. You don’t take out a cookbook every time before you start cooking cabbage soup, do you? Do you get it? Then you just don’t know how to cook them. Maybe you are an avid traveler? Didn’t the knowledge gained and fixed by your arbitrary memory at school never help you?
Hence — the obvious functionality of arbitrary memory, it is she who helps us to collect a store of knowledge.
Arbitrary memory formation ends around 14 years of age. How successful this process turned out depends on how a person’s life will proceed in the future. After all, it is arbitrary memory that helps us think logically and draw conclusions. For its development in younger students, namely at this age, there is every chance to create fertile ground, when the necessary information will literally «grow», there are many ways and techniques, including those listed above. But the main thing is to teach the child to work with information.
And for this you need to instill in him the following skills.
- Ability to highlight the main idea. To begin with, try simply underlining what is most significant in the text. It is also recommended to use various schemes, graphs, drawings in the learning process. Thus, you will call visual memory to the aid of arbitrary memory.
- Ability to work with large volumes of information. Explain to the child that you should not be afraid of a large number of lines or numbers that need to be remembered. Teach them to break them into logical chains, combine them in meaning, look for relationships.
- Repetition of the material covered. You need to do this with an understanding of what you have learned. It is necessary not only to pronounce memorized phrases or rules aloud, but to think about the meaning of what you say. By the way, it is the repetition of the information necessary for memorization aloud that helps to quickly put it in our memory and for a longer period.
- Work on mistakes. This is not a whim of our teachers from the Soviet past. When a child corrects his own mistake, he remembers the correct spelling of the word, formula. This will not only protect him from making similar mistakes in the future, but also make him work harder on the next task. Who wants to spend extra time studying when the guys are playing football under the windows, and their beloved classmate has been “hanging” in the social network for a long time, waiting.
- Ability to make an associative series. «Attract» new information to already familiar material. As an example from the same Soviet childhood — a rhyme for remembering the order of colors in the rainbow «Every hunter wants to know where the pheasant is sitting.» Use tricks like this to remember «inconvenient» information for your brain.
And a few more tips that will help make arbitrary memory better for both children and adults.
- Focus on the task at hand. If you need to learn a poem, then you should not be distracted by how the fly sat on the jam, why dad (husband) got into the refrigerator, and what kind of SMS came.
- Sort the information you need by common or similar features. Yesterday you studied the structure of the skin, and today you are trying to remember the geographical position of Italy? Boots are made of leather, and Italy, if you look at it from a bird’s eye view, is very similar to a boot. Look for associations in everything.
- To memorize numbers, do the same. Instead of cramming, remember what associations this or that number evokes. For example, 1970 is the year of birth, 16 is the first love, and so on.
- Going to a new country, learn at least a couple of words in the language spoken there. It is even better to master a number of phrases that will allow you to exchange pleasantries with the staff when you check into a hotel, order food in a restaurant. So you will not only show respect to the locals, but also improve your memory.
By the way, the study of foreign languages, even by scientists, is recognized as the right way to increase intellectual abilities. And we are striving for this, developing our brain and arbitrary memory.