In every classroom, there are always one or more students who have the tendency to be left behind. We mistakenly label these students as ‘lazy’ or ‘backward’. After time, many teachers lose hope in these children, and the children themselves come to believe that they cannot learn from classroom instruction. Research over the past several years has shown that a key element in the learning abilities of some 10% of all children is their poor working memory. There is a lack of awareness on the part of kindergarten teachers of the nature of working memory and its possible negative impact on learning. Working memory refers to the ability we have to hold certain information in our minds for a short period of time, and to be able to use and manipulate this information as well. Children who have weak working memories cannot keep important information in readiness, to use when the next bits of information become available. This study focused on specific strategies teachers can use in the class with those students. Their intervention helps ensure the inclusion of all students in the learning process. If we are talking about unity and equity, we cannot deprive any group of learners of their right to education because of a learning difficulty that they might have such as a weak working memory, simply because their teachers do not have the knowledge and skills that could help the learner meet a learning challenge. Below is an insight about the different strategies of the working memory intervention used with the kindergarten students. Principles of the classroom based approach: Recognize working memory failures: by identifying children having warning signs of weak working memory. Warning signs are: Difficulty in recalling Failure to follow instructions Place-keeping errors Task abandonment Monitor the child: by checking the presence of any of the warning signs and by asking the child directly about the next step à Repetition Evaluate working memory demands of learning activities. Some factors that affect the working memory demands: Excessive length, unfamiliar content, a demanding mental processing activity Reduce working memory loads by: Contextualization of the content Simplify mental processes Be prepared to repeat Encourage use of memory aids (Writing aids, Mathematical aids) Develop the child’s strategies for supporting memory Request help, rehearsal, using long-term memory, place-keeping and organizational strategies
International & Comparative Education Department
MA in International & Comparative Education
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Committee Member 2
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Fawzy, C. T.
(2016).Working memory in children: How does it affect learning? Different methods and
techniques that can be used to train and enhance the working memory of children [Master's Thesis, the American University in Cairo]. AUC Knowledge Fountain.
Fawzy, Christine T.. Working memory in children: How does it affect learning? Different methods and
techniques that can be used to train and enhance the working memory of children. 2016. American University in Cairo, Master's Thesis. AUC Knowledge Fountain.