Your Students are Not Elephants
Your students aren’t elephants.
Some say that Elephants never forget.
That’s a fun fact you can share with your students; it is not something they have in common with elephants!
I've heard myself say, “I’ve already told you that.”
But let's be honest~ I say a lot.
Not only is it unrealistic to expect that all of my students will hear every word I utter, but to also remember it?! If I listened to someone talk as much as I do, I would need some review, reminders, and even to hear the same thing again.
Yet, I’m at the advantage over my students. They aren’t just recalling information.
They are learning how to learn.
Let’s break that down.
First, your students need to learn the value of remembering.
Only after your students understand the why it's important to remember, they need to learn how to remember.
Once they know how to remember, they need to remember how to learn (which is different than learning how to remember because all of the learning they’ve done prior to school were very natural and necessary skills such as eating, walking, singing, etc.).
Finally, they have arrived at a place when they can remember content and directions.
It doesn’t end there. They are also learning and remembering the value of multiple-step directions, listening skills, working through interrupted thinking, remembering over time, and learning to avoid distractions.
Take some time to honor just how complex the skill of remembering can be for young children.
So, teachers, I beg you to reconsider stating, “I’ve already given that direction.”
Perhaps try, “Can you ask another student to help you remember?” or “What do you think makes sense? Try looking around and noticing what other children are trying.”
P.S. For some fun research on the memory of elephants, check out Scientific American or watch this EdTed: