The Retention and Recall Activity

P. SATHISH KUMAR | Principal, KSC Public School, Anthiyur, Erode
P. Sathishkumar has been in the education and training space for more than two decades. He frames curriculum for communicative English and trains teachers of various boards on teaching methodology. He is the overseas faculty of New Zealand College of Education. At present, he is the Principal of KSC Public school, Anthiyur, Erode. He is also a voracious reader and publishes articles on education.


Whatever the education system is, whatever the board of examination is, memorizing certain concepts, formulae and definitions are mandatory for the students. On the contrary, today’s ‘digi-students’ are not ready to read it again and again to memorize. They just want to produce the text on their own. So, I tried many methods to make them memorize certain areas and finally found the following method to be a good one.

Let us consider the children are to memorize the following statement.
Energy can neither be created nor be destroyed but can be transformed from one form to another.
To help students to retain this statement, prepare a slide and project it on the board. This will allow the students to read the statement at least three to four times.
Later, once the students have seen the first slide clearly, show them the second slide.
Energy can neither be __________ nor be __________but can be transformed from one form to another.
Now the children are allowed to read the statement as they read in the first slide but, a few words are removed and substituted with blanks.  Even with the missing words, they will read the statement correctly because they have viewed the sentence earlier.
Now show the next slide with a few more words removed and substituted with blanks.
Energy can neither be __________ nor be __________but can be ___________from one _____to _______.
Here again, the students will read the sentence, filling the blanks by themselves. It is better to remove the content words and not the structural words. Now, show the next slide,
__________ can ________ be __________ nor be __________but can be ___________from one _____to _______.
Now, the students will be able to recall most of the key words. Even if the slide has only blanks, the students will say the words needed to fill the entire statement.
At the end, even if a blank screen is showed, the students will be able to recall the statement correctly.
This method can be followed to help remember formulae and other concepts too!
In case teachers do not have a smart board or a projector in the class, the statements or definitions can be written on the board and the key words can be erased one after the other.
This article was originally published in magazine in the month of January, 2019.