Episodic memory is the type of memory that is tied to a location. The brain remembers things (what) with a time & place stamp, especially when there is emotional amplitude (positive or negative). This provides a pathway to memory.
I have learned...
- Learning/memory can be prompted by a location or set of circumstances. Unique places and circumstances provide more clues for retrieval. This can be enhanced by the use of color. It can be enhanced even more with emotion, or intense sensory input such as sights, sounds, smells, taste, and touch.
- Because spatial episodic memory links experiences and information with a location, negative feelings, criticism, embarrassment, or put-downs can be forever linked with a place (classroom/gymnasium) and to a person (teachers/parents).
- Positive emotion serves to cement learning. Planning learning experiences and learning environments that pair episodic memory strategies with emotional memory strategies strengthen the learning experience and therefore enhances the memory.
- Episodic memory strategies can be used to teach anything. Developing plans that use location, circumstances, themes, and color will result in more long-term potentiation.
- By using different areas as a purposeful teaching tool, we are also tapping into the positive effects of movement on learning.
- As teachers, we don't want to contaminate our classroom or ourselves with negative emotions.
- If location can be used to trigger content, the places in the classroom or gymnasium can be used to improve memory and recall. Furthermore, teachers can also plan to use locations outside the classroom to help students create stronger memories. Extra movement is often a byproduct of using episodic memory strategies. Going to the same spot in the room or creating the same formation of the class when teaching and reviewing specific content can be a powerful memory aid. I was amazed at what a powerful strategy this can be. An example - creating a memory circle.
- Physical educators have a fantastic opportunity to capitalize on episodic memory because of the amount and variety of space they have available. Classroom teachers can use other locations in the building and areas outside to capitalize on episodic memory. We can create many "physical addresses" for learning.
How can the "what" be paired with structures, locations, and colors to help students improve skills, memory, and recall? How can I teach students to use episodic memory strategies on their own?