Rick Warren is one of the greatest influences on my life. His words of inspiration guide my faith and
my work each time I listen to him on his daily podcast. In one of his podcasts, he made a statement that is now seared into my brain.
"The shortest pencil is longer than the longest memory."
Think about it. It is hard to remember what we hear, and don't forget that we only retain 5% of what we hear for a long period of time. In fact research on the retention of Sunday sermons indicates that we forget the majority of the preacher's message by Tuesday. That's not good news if you're a preacher.
So how do we get kids to remember what we want them to learn?
The answer is to make them write it down. Marzano's research proves that summarization and note-taking is the highest yield instructional strategy. When students are writing down notes of their learning as you teach them, there is a much greater chance that they will retain that information in their memory, but even better, they have an artifact of their learning if they forget.
A strategy I use often is to frequently say the words, "Write this down". It tells kids, "Hey this is really important, and it's so important that I don't want you to forget it".
Ask these questions of yourself.
- How can you challenge your students to write more things down in their notes or journals?
- What are all the different ways students can take meaningful notes of their learning?
- How can you sell the importance of note-taking to your students.
The answers to these questions will increase engagement and learning retention simultaneously.