The Rule of Seven - Practical Applications to Boost Working Memory
By Andrew Loh
Before learning more about the “Rule of Seven” and its application, we
shall know the signs of low working memory capacity so that it becomes
easier to comprehend the wider ramifications of the technique. Some
signs of low working memory capacity are as follows:
Normal to below normal social relationship with other children.
Very poor representation in group related activities like discussion and debates.
Cannot follow instructions in a proper manner.
Poor in accomplishing complicated tasks.
Keeps repeating steps within a project work and later abandon the entire tasks.
Very poor recall and retrieval.
Distracted and troubled.
Poor in memory retrieval and processing
Tips to enhance working memory in children:
Break down tasks into smaller chunks and make
instructions simple and deliver them into a series of steps.
Intervene at the end of each individual step and tell them what to do
Children usually end up confused and they may end up lost. To
prevent this allow them to ask questions when they have some doubts and
Ask them repeat what they learn and make them well
versed with remembering.
Ask them to make notes and go through them
at regular intervals
However, these steps are too general in
nature and may not be useful under all situations. To enhance working
memory and to boost learning, you may need to consult educationalists to
learn more about “the rule of seven”. According to Jacqueline Leo (the
writer of book titled, Seven - The Number for Happiness, Love and
Success”, “Seven is the maximum number of tasks that should be on a
daily to-do list to avoid mental overflow.” However, this was again a
generalized idea to streamline a day's work in a child's life. To boost
brain learning and to improve memory, we may need to use a different
technique like “The Rule of Seven.”
A simple yet basic approach
to learn and understand this technique is given below:
“If you group and arrange items and treat them as chunks in the memory slot,
then you can enhance your memory capacity by streamlining, indexing, and
regrouping those chunks into a definite order”
Here is a simple example of grouping information and arranging them into an organized
format so that memorizing them becomes easier:
Let us presume
that we have set a series of numbers with ten separate digits. In life,
memorizing and recalling them in a sequence is quite difficult as seven
is thought to be the maximum chunks of information bits that a child can
memorize and hold inside memory slots. Ten separate digits are too many
for a child to store in memory. Hence, you may need to teach your
children a different method to memorize them. Here is a simple method:
Let us assume that we have the following series of numbers:
Let us also assume that two children share this number
in the form of their birthdays. In this case, their birthdays fall on
January 2, 1991 and 1998. It means that there are two sets of numbers
that can be remembered quite easily with some practice. Some of the
advantages of learning this method are:
Learn birthdates of two children at the same time.
Learn the birth years of two children at the same time.
Learn all digits in a sequential manner, but in smaller chunks.
Similarly, you can extend this
concept to learn by reading complex sentences and lines. Here is an example:
Tom is an energetic boy who likes to go cycling and
trekking among wild nature. For a child, learning this line could be
somewhat difficult. By using the rule of seven (plus or minus 2 - it
means that the range might extend from 5 and 9), we can make our
children learn the meaning of this sentence:
Who is Tom? He is an energetic boy.
What does he like? He likes cycling. He also likes trekking.
Where does he like to cycle and trek? In the wild nature!
In other words, your child will learn his or her lessons, bit by bit
and in smaller chunks. This makes learning and easy and interesting
task. Learning anything involves understanding things in smaller bits
and chunks. When children learn how to break things into smaller chunks,
learning becomes effective and organized. Learning also become
streamlined and sequential that eventually leads to better personal
productivity and effectiveness. Learning both verbal and non-verbal
materials becomes easier with this amazing method.
Improving Working Memory: Supporting Students' Learning
By Tracy Packiam Alloway
Your working memory is the information your brain stores for a short period of time, it is
your brain's post-it note if you like, and how much information you can remember has a huge
influence on how well you do at school, and beyond. By understanding a child's working memory,
you will be able to support their learning at school, and their concentration. Better working
memory can be particularly useful to children with conditions where poor working memory is
thought to be an underlying factor.
This book explains how to spot problems early, and how to work with children to improve their
working memory, therefore increasing their chances of success in the classroom. It also explains
the theory behind working memory. Underpinned by rigorous research and written in a highly
accessible style, this book will appeal to practitioners, parents and students as an essential
guide to helping their students fulfil their maximum potential.