Maybe I could detail a bit so we could build some course session for students based on the book material
- In chapter 2
JG attacks the idea : why remember ?
If everything is accessible online, why bother after all ? (this part is essential for actual students I think)
When you retrieve something online, it is isolated, in a format that is not easy to proceed, you have to work to get the essence you need. Maybe read the entire paragraph, see pictures, extract the core of an article. And things are easy when you look for a date of birth of someone, but if you want the definition of Riemann surfaces, there are multiple versions …
But it is not only because it is longer to retrieve information that it is worth learning it, it is also because in learning new things is much more easy is you already know things. Especially in the same domain, but not only.
Knowledge builds on knowledge.
We, on this forum, have integrated that association is key to memory !
The brain connect the dots, unconsciously most of the time
“to think critically, you need first to have content about which to think. Content in the absence of thinking is inert and meaningless; but thinking in the absence of content is vacuous.”
Other point on why remember :
You need to be able to answer quickly to base question in order to engage in high level reflection. The more words you know, the more concept you are familiar with, the more you can build knew concepts on them.
Some scholar books are “simplified”, it is not a good idea for JG, you need to learn specific words in order to assimilated more concepts.
- Chapter 3
Concerns how the memory works, remember how you learned the alphabet, you first started with a song without really knowing what it meant … (We all remember the letter elemeno !)
You first learn something in the declarative memory (information) before learning something procedurally (know-how)
The major role in learning to do something belongs to the hippocampus, it is fondamental in reenforcing patterns.
- Chapter 9
May be the most useful chapter for students, it contains techniques on how to facilitate long term memory entry.
All we have to study is an brain that evolved with hunter-gatherer, we have the same brain as people that didn’t have writing yet ( 5000 years is too short to evolve ). So all we can do is to trick our mind to learn things, as hunter gatherer learned, by repetition and mistakes.
JG cites 4 factors to make new long term patterns:
- Emotion, that’s why creating weird image helps, we need to connect with emotion. ( I wonder if connecting palaces with the basic emotion would work, maybe each locus would have one emotion Happiness, Sadness, Fear, Disgust, Anger, Contempt and Surprise, alternating … I might create a post about it in the next days, see what people think)
- Repetition. With the need of immediate feedback, which means knowing if they did well before beginning the next exercise.
- Spacing Effect. Thanks Anki
- Testing Effect. JG says that most students are afraid of tests because there are too few of them. Actual tests are big exams and they are often corrected one week after (if not more), small regular tests of one question with immediate feedback might be much more efficient and pleasant for students.
He then gives techniques to revise a course like the 3R : Read a first time, then close everything and try to Recall as much as possible, the reRead a second time and complete what you missed.
There are many more things in this book, this post is a mix between infos in it and some personal touch. I will probably tell some of these things to my students before the content of my course, even if it is not in a dedicated “memory course”