Principles to Remember and Apply

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Meaningful Organization. You can learn and remember better if you group ideas into meaningful categories or groups. Strengthening Neural Connections Recitation. Saying ideas aloud in your own words strengthens synaptic connections and gives you immediate feedback. The more feedback you get, the faster and more accurate your learning is. By making a mental picture, you use an entirely different part of the brain than by reading or listening.

Memory is increased when facts are consciously associated with something familiar to you. Memory is essentially formed by making neural connections. Your brain must have time for new information to establish a neuronal pathway. When you make a list or review your notes right after class, you are using the principle of consolidation.

Research has shown that our memories are activated more strongly by images than words. We're particularly good at recognizing pictures we've seen before. Think about how many signs, symbols and logos you can identify in a split second. You can easily start inventing your own images to help you remember.

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To remember a task you need to do in the future, you could try creating a vivid mental image of it actually happening. And when you meet someone new, spend a few seconds picturing something — anything — that might give you a visual reminder of their name. Your brain can combine multiple senses to create strong memories. Some of our most powerful recollections are encoded through smells, tastes and touch sensations, as much as through sights and sounds.

Use as many senses as you can to learn and remember. Don't just picture the things to buy at the grocery store: imagine smelling, touching and tasting them, too. Imagine that you're learning about a new concept at work. You could think about building a physical model of it. Give your memory several different sensory routes back to the original information.

Even important and serious material can be given a humorous twist in your imagination. Make your imagery exciting, weird and wonderful, and you've got a much better chance of remembering it. Be playful and mischievous. It's no coincidence that rude rhymes are very difficult to forget! To remember an important idea that comes up in a meeting, highlight what's most exciting about it — or challenging, surprising or funny.


When you meet someone new, spend a moment thinking about whether their name seems to "match" their character. As you'll see below, some memory techniques use spatial patterns to store vast amounts of information. To remember a telephone number for a short time, you could repeat it to yourself rhythmically. Or, when you're taking notes, experiment with different ways of organizing and arranging your words on the page.

As you start inventing mnemonics of your own, keep in mind three more principles: imagination , association and location. Imagination : create images that are vivid, engaging, and rich enough to jog your memory. You could be visualizing a real situation in order to remember and re-use it, or inventing one that will help you write, say or do something in the future.

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Association : make the most of your brain's habit of linking ideas. Separate pieces of information can be linked so that you remember them all. That might help you remember all the items to pack for a trip, for example. Or, two ideas can be paired, so that one thing reminds you of another. Using that strategy, you might think of your colleague holding a microphone to recall his name is Mike. Location : use your memories of real-world places to help you remember new material. Since you can easily remember the layout of your home, why not use the rooms to "hold" items from the list you're trying to learn?

Such reflection can facilitate instruction by the Holy Ghost. Rephrase the question.

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At times students may struggle to respond to a question because the question is not clear. The teacher may need to rephrase the question or ask the students if they understand what was asked. Teachers should avoid asking a series of questions in succession without allowing students adequate time to think deeply enough to formulate appropriate responses. Listen carefully and ask follow-up questions. Teachers are sometimes so concerned about what to say or do next that they do not pay attention to what students are saying. By observing and listening carefully to students, teachers can discern their needs and guide the discussion under the direction of the Holy Ghost.

Teachers should remind students to listen to each other as well and not to talk when someone else is speaking. Discussions can become much more meaningful, lively, and effective when a teacher redirects an answer or comment from one student to other students. This often greatly enhances the learning experience.

Usually, unless time is limited, all students who desire to make a comment should have an opportunity to speak.

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Acknowledge the response in a positive manner. When a student gives a response, the teacher needs to acknowledge it in some way. When an incorrect response is given, the teacher needs to be careful not to embarrass the student. Reading the scriptures in class can help students become familiar with and better understand the verses they are studying.

It can also help them become more confident in their ability to read the scriptures on their own. Teachers need to be careful not to embarrass those who do not read well or who are very shy. Students who prefer not to read aloud should not be forced to do so, but teachers can encourage them to participate in ways that they are more comfortable with.

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  7. For example, assigning a short scriptural passage to a student beforehand so he or she can practice reading it may be an appropriate way for that student to participate in class. Assign different students to read the words spoken by various individuals in a story. While the importance of students taking an active role in the learning process is significant to their understanding and application of the scriptures, it does not replace the need for a teacher to appropriately present information at varying times while students listen.

    Teacher presentation can be very effective when summarizing large amounts of material, presenting information that is new to students, making transitions between various parts of the lesson, or drawing conclusions. A teacher might need to explain, clarify, and illustrate so that students can more clearly understand the context of a scripture block. A teacher may also emphasize key doctrines and principles and exhort students to apply them.

    Perhaps most importantly, teachers can testify of gospel truths and express their own love for Heavenly Father and His Son. The following ideas can help a teacher utilize this method more effectively. Plan the teacher presentation portions of the lesson. Occasionally, teachers carefully prepare other parts of the lesson but do not give the same attention to those portions of the lesson when they will be doing most of the talking. One of the concerns about teacher presentation is that students can easily become only passive participants in the learning experience.

    Therefore, teacher presentation also needs careful planning and preparation, which includes deciding how to begin and how to develop the instruction in a logical fashion. When planning the use of teacher presentation, teachers should carefully consider where it is particularly important for students to take an active role. Generally, as the lesson progresses from understanding the context and content of a scripture block to the discovery, discussion, and application of principles and doctrines, the importance of students taking an active role increases.

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    Combine teacher presentation with other methods. An effective use of teacher presentation in the classroom is to use it as part of an overall lesson plan that incorporates other methods and approaches within the instruction. The presentation should be flexible enough to allow for change if it becomes obvious that students are bored or confused. In this way, even when the teacher is speaking, the focus remains on the students and on learning, and the teacher can make adaptations as needed.

    Someone once likened teacher presentation to the string in a necklace of pearls. The pearls are the various methods a teacher uses questions, discussion, group work, audiovisual presentations, etc. The string alone does not make an attractive necklace.

    Use appropriate variety. There are ways to introduce variety in teacher presentation. Teachers can avoid sameness by changing voice inflection, tone, and volume and by moving around the room as the presentation progresses. There can also be a variety in the kinds of material being presented.

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    For example, teachers can relate stories, use appropriate humor, refer to pictures or other classroom displays, read quotes, use the board or audiovisual presentations, and bear testimony. They can generate interest and help students understand the gospel through vicarious experiences. Stories can also be particularly effective in helping students understand gospel principles that have been identified within a scripture block.

    By illustrating a gospel principle in a modern context, in addition to the context of the scriptures, stories can help students understand how a gospel principle relates to their lives, as well as help them feel a desire to apply it. We should make every effort to show that the same things are happening in the lives of the Saints today as transpired among the faithful of old.

    Teachers can share stories from the lives of the prophets and from Church history, as well as stories found in general conference addresses and Church magazines. They can also share true stories from their own experience. Some of the most meaningful and impactful learning experiences occur when teachers invite students to share stories from their own lives that illustrate how they were blessed by living a gospel principle.

    If the telling of stories becomes the dominant method or technique of teaching, the stories themselves can become the focus of the lesson, minimizing the actual time spent in the scriptures and overshadowing the doctrines and principles they teach. While stories can enlighten and enliven scripture teaching and help students feel the power of the Spirit, they should never be used for emotional manipulation.

    Teachers should be careful not to embellish the facts of a true story to make it more dramatic or impactful.