Remembering concepts is one of the most important parts of helping children succeed in school. One important component that plays a role in this is called working memory. As one of the brain’s executive functions, this is a skill that allows people to use the information they have without losing track of what they are working on.
In essence, working memory is a sticky note for the brain. It keeps information in place, allowing the brain to work with it and connect it to other pieces of information.
As an example, when children are in math class, working memory allows them to envision the numbers the teacher is saying without actually seeing them on the board. They might not remember these numbers a few minutes later, but they should remember the numbers for the duration of the problem.
Working memory is also important because it helps people organize information for long-term storage. If people have trouble with working memory, the brain may have a difficult time keeping information organized. Or, the brain may not store this information at all.
So, if children have problems learning, is this a problem with working memory? Or, is this an attention issue?
A few signs of problems with working memory include:
Kids might have a difficult time remembering what they are supposed to do with numbers.
Children may have a difficult time remembering the order of the steps when given instructions.
Kids might feel like the information they recall does not make much sense.
Working memory is an important part of classroom success. Learn more about working memory and attention issues with this helpful article on Understood.org!