WHY CHILDREN FORGET WHAT THEY ARE TAUGHT

Dr Oluwagbenga and Miss Peace Oreofe Odunfa, Arish Schools Abeokuta

Forgetting things taught is the gradual washing away and discarding of information despite our best efforts to retain them in either long or short term memory for the sake of learning.

We all think that memories of an individual is like a library filled with books and files of memories but it’s not but rather is in a spider web form whereby when memories are needed to be recalled or interfered with the current learning, it traces back down to the old memory and makes learning easier for an individual. The following are observable reasons why children forget what they’re being taught in classes by their respective teachers:

#1. Rise and fall in emotions

It has been observed that when a child is elated, the child is fully ready to learn and this increases the learning abilities of the child but when a child’s emotion is saddened, it equally decreases the child’s learning ability and blocks recalling of information when it’s needed. A happy child learns faster than an emotionally disturbed one.

#2. Lack of rest and sleep.

Sleep following learning favours retention. If the child does not get enough rest but keeps accumulating information, it leads to inefficient consolidation of information. There should be break periods whereby children rest the brain in order to prepare for another learning engagement.

#3. Poor health and defective or retarded mental state.

Being mentally retarded reduces the learning abilities of a child. Being poor in health courses educational setbacks and interferes with the learning of a child. For example, a child with asthma and chronic illness may experience recurrent absences and difficulty in concentrating in the class.

#4. Physically handicapped

Disabilities can also affect school performance due to difficulties with sights, hearing, handwriting, inattention, behaviour and absenteeism. Rearranging the sitting position of the child and also consultation with a physician may offer some help from technology. 

#5. Maturity

Children who are born with low birth weight, also tend to have poorer educational outcomes and higher risks for special education placement. They tend to depend on others for their advancements. Children might be in the same class, be of the same age but can never be of the same matured reasoning attainment due to poor development of the structure and function of the brain, sensorimotor and the neurological system.

#6. Method used in learning

Systematic and efficient method used in learning influences and reduces the rate at which the child forget what has been taught.

Teachers who are sensitive enough to vary their methods of teaching and instruction help learners retain more knowledge. In a bid to ensure proper understanding of the topic by the kids, songs, drama, field trips, discussions, independent assignments, practical learning via instrumentation etc are all ways employed to retain academic knowledge. 

#7. Nature of the material learned

Children only remember things that seems important and meaningful to them better than things that are not. The level of comprehension with respect to the age of the child should be considered in the selection of instructional materials by teachers in order to engender full participation of the child in class.

#8. Lack of attention

The reason for lack of attention in children is lack of focus and inadequate learning. It has been observed that when children are forced to learn, it yields and results in no learning because it distracts their attention. The attention span of children is sometimes correlated to their age. Attention is shifted away from the class when the method of teaching is not interesting and the time spent is much. The teacher has to induce the learners always in order to catch their attention and also to stimulate interest in learning and retention. 

#9. Lapse of time

The memory traces found in the brain fades and becomes forgotten in the passage of time. Learners doing revision of the past teachings especially before an exam will likely do better than those who do not.

#10. Parental background.

Education of the parents plays a major role in the learning of a child, it is said that the first school every child attends is the home. It is when the parents are educated that they can assist the children and when they pay the fees of the child, the child can attend classes regularly without interruption of learning.

Not all children learn the same way. As the sense organs are, some learn fast with sight employing colours etc, some won’t learn much until they touch the real objects, others utilise the sense of taste, some with practical or abstract teachings.

There  are things which anyone  who impacts knowledge and desires the retention of it must do:

#1. As a teacher, when teaching try to get the attention of your children every 10 minutes by calling their names,  clapping of hands and short playing of music.

#2. As a parent, help your child to avoid stress. Make sure they get the adequate amount of sleep needed.

#3. The counselling of the parents on how to assist the child educationally is very important so as to put them on the right track and teach them roles to be played in the life of the child.

#4. The counselling of the children is however also very important because it says no one can force a child to be taught unless he or she is willing and ready to be taught and as well open minded. If the children are showed mentors to imitate, it also helps.

#5. Having a conducive environment for teaching is also very important in assisting the child in grasping and learning.

#6. As a teacher, divide the class into various groups so they can discuss on what they’ve been taught. It shouldn’t be the teacher doing the job for child’s learning all the time, should it? The children should also learn amongst themselves.

#7. Evaluating your children as a teacher or parent reduces and influences the rate at which the child forgets what has been taught.

#8. There’s a saying, ‘pictures speak louder than words’. Children learn better when images, diagrams and charts are involved.

#9. The use of mnemonics in teaching helps to summarise a huge amount of information which can be used in form of songs and rhymes.

#10. When teaching, observe when children make mistakes and correct immediately so as not to get the child used to the wrong thing.

#11. As a teacher, before picking up a new topic, ensure to revise the previous topic so as to allow them to recall what has been taught.

If the solutions above are made into reality by the teacher, children will learn better and these steps will greatly reduce the rate at which they forget what they’re taught.

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