I. Abstract Improving memory has always been a critical issue of most concern for every person in general, particularly for students in academic learning. Accordingly, our research aims to examine some possible explanations for both students’ good and bad memory in academic study. Another approach of this study is to look for the solutions to students’ poor memory performance. To collect the data, a questionnaire was developed and delivered to 60 English students in the context of Hanoi University.
The findings suggest that although most of students have general knowedge about memory skills, not many of them efficiently employ what they have absorded. In conjunction with ineffective study methods, laziness, low concentration and overlearning are the main factors lowering students’ memory. Consequently, a good memory skill is not enough, more important than that is the practice of training the brain every day to reach the best of memory ability. II. Introduction
Apparently, people are now overwhelmingly bombarded by a huge amount of information which changes and multiplies every day. Hence, it is of great necessity for each individual to have a good memory so as to perceive and deal with such large knowledge. However, it is a fact that many people, including students have trouble memorizing. According to Tony (2008), as much as 95 percent of people suffer from major problems related to memory. He claims the reason explained for this is that people have little access to methods or skills to “best utilize their inherent capacities” (p. 2). In our research, we mainly focus on a group of freshmen and sophomores of Hanoi University to find out why students sometimes feel helpless with their memory and in what ways they can boost their retentive memory in academic study. III. Materials and methods For the data collection purpose, a questionnaire serves as the most practical and effective tool due to its convenience and speediness, especially when the survey conducted involves people on a large scale. Our questionnaire consists of two parts, namely reasons and solutions, representing five questions on the whole.
Specifically, the first part is to identify the number of English students of Hanoi University (English Hanuers) having access to memory skills at school as well as how they evaluate their memory ability. The reasons constituting to participants’ poor memory are in particular examined. The second part is designed in attempt to specify memory’s kind most students possess. Besides, some memory skills are suggested to see the most applicable in academic study. Prior to the real delivery, we had a trial version conducted in our class. The result shows that some informants were confused about the question order.
Accordingly, an alternative was developed as respond to subjects’ problems. 60 questionnaires were randomly administered to 60 students on a voluntary basis in April, 2012. Both English freshmen and sophomores participated in the survey, among whom, female numbers as the major ones. It took us one week to implement the survey and one more day to sort out appropriate sheets. Of 60 questionnaires delivered, 8 were invalid as not being completed, therefore; 52 left met standards for final tabulation. Data analysis was undertaken as the next step.
In the first part, the respondents’ answer is divided into two groups, depending on their option in the 2nd question. If students label themselves as owning a good memory, they will proceed to answer question on reasons and factors involved. In contrast, those who believe to possess a poor memory will be asked to respond to a list of possible causes. The second part contains two smaller sections. The first section is composed of four questions including twelve options, which could be divided into three groups. Described in each group are some basis symptoms, in consequence featuring visual memory, auditory memory and kinesthetic memory.
The next section presents some suggestive memory skills for students to choose which one they mostly employ. Based on respondents’ choice, we synthesized and analyzed which memory aids are useful academically. IV. Results and Discussion 1. The reasons contributing towards students’ poor memory In order to make the data analysis clearer and easier to understand, we divided the respondents’ answer into two groups, namely group A and group B. Group A contains students whose answer is ‘yes’ to the question whether they were taught about memory skills at school. And others who ticked ‘no’ for the question mentioned above belong to group B. . The statistics of English Hanuers who have been taught about memory skills at school Table 1:The access of English Hanuers to memory skills at school |Access to memory skills at school |Number of respondents (…/52) |Percentage (%) | |Group A |37 |71 | |Group B |15 |29 |
Table 1 shows the access of English students of Hanoi University to memory skills at school. As presented in the table 1, as much as 71% of respondents have learned about memory skills at school. What can be traced from the table is that a large number of subjects, in the investigation’s scope, more or less have some knowledge base related to memory. Understandably, it is the obvious fact that people are increasingly aware of the importance of memory in an individual’s success (William, 2009). Students, especially those studying foreign language are not the exception.
It is of great fundament for English learners to develop the degree of memory to increase their language acquisition. The more they understand how their memory works and how to work with it, the more they enjoy the power of memory in their learning. Nevertheless, the matter should be taken into consideration is the effectiveness of those memory skills to students’ performance. The claim that students who have access to lesson related to memory skills have a better memory than those who do not will be investigated in the next part. . 2 The comparison between the percentage of respondents who have a good memory and those who do not [pic] Figure 2: The percentage of good and bad memory of taught and untaught memory-skill students Figure 2 compares the proportion held by participants who evaluate themselves as having good memory and those suffering from poor memory between two groups. The result appears to be different from our expectation. Among students in group B, the percentage of those possessing a good memory is much higher than that of in group A.
Specifically, nearly 70% of students in group B is determined to own good memory which opposes to that in group A with only 46%. This fact can be partly explained by the ineffectiveness in students’ learning styles and memory methods which lead them to encounter difficulties in memorizing. Language learners may suffer more from memory inability since they have to deal with a large number of vocabularies and structures in everyday learning. From what is presented in the chart, it can be probably concluded that English Hanuers still somehow face difficulties making use of what they conceive at school.
Obviously, although educators put priority in optimizing students to effectively master their study, students seem to find it difficult to take the knowledge into practical application. 1. 3a Reasons contributing to good memory [pic] Figure 3a: Reasons for good memory. It is clearly shown in the pie chart 3a that among students having good memory, the number of those who see it as the result of long-run practice makes up to 65%, outnumbering those who are naturally inherited with 35%. It is possibly inferred from the data that the mnemonic competence can be boosted and strengthened by day-by-day practice with the suitable memorizing methods.
Of the same viewpoint, Higbee (2001) states that practice plays as a key factor to memory improvement. It is a fact that the number of people who are born with excellent innate memory is very small, and majority of people gradually reach the state of having good memory by practice. In Kazt’s findings (2006), most people employ about 10% of their memory ability. He also emphasizes that there is no bad innate brain, but it is because of people’s underestimation of what their memory can do which causes their memory’s limitation.
Many students, generally, are of the opinion that their memory is out of control, which results in the less success of memory practice. 1. 3b Reasons contributing to students’ poor memory 1. Low concentration 2. Overlearning 3. Laziness 4. Knowledge disuse 5. Low understanding 6. Negative learning attitude [pic] (The total number is over 100% because the respondents tick more than one option) Figure 3b: Reasons for bad memory Bar chart 3b displays some common reasons contributing towards students’ bad memory. Generally, English Hanuers suffer from poor memory with combination of reasons.
Of the six factors provided, laziness ranks as the most popular one to be blamed on (64%). Following next are overlearning and low concentration which share the same number of 56%. Coincidently, we got the same incidence of 32% for low understanding together with negative learning attitude as the key elements to students’ memory inability. Meanwhile, knowledge disuse is mentioned as the most unpopular factor resulting in respondents’ poor memory performances. It comes as no surprise to us that laziness is revealed as the main reason leading to students’ poor memory.
The congruent result is presented in Higbee’s work (2001) when he claims that laziness plays an important role in people’s deficient and ineffective memory. Manifestly, memorizing and memory use for study are a complex and complicated process which requires a great deal of effort and determination. And about 95% of information will be forgotten if learners do not retrieve it in a proper way (Adam, 2009). Therefore, laziness appears to be a huge barrier preventing students from boosting up their memory.
Also, being distracted and having too much knowledge to learn are the common reasons as students usually complain that they are out of breath because of the huge amount of knowledge and information absorbed. Some students find it hard to focus on study and remember things since they have to cope with a great deal of interference such as part-time job, finance, love affair, and so on. It varies from person to person in the reasons and factors accounting for their experiencing memory difficulties and there may be a combination between the outside and the inside causes.
However, what it is down to is that it is students themselves who are the most responsible to their memory inability. 2. Solutions 1. Memory types of English students of Hanoi University [pic] Figure 4: Memory types of English students of Hanoi University Figure 4 describes the memory types of English Hanuers. As generally demonstrated from the findings, participants belong to various types of memory. Not only do they possess single type of memory but also those of combination. Nevertheless, more students belong to single types than mixed types.
Of six categories provided, visual memory is the most preferred one as 31% of students are classified in this category. People owning visual memory type have tendency to memorize by creating mental images, looking at pictures and diagrams. Auditory memory refers to people who memorize information better through melodies, beats and rhythms. They prefer to hear instructions or lectures rather than watch or write, and better take in information presented orally (Cusimano, 2001). As shown in the chart, 23% of respondents belong to type of auditory memory.
Meanwhile, 15% of the subjects show that they are likely to be in the group of kinaesthetic memory. Those prefer trying or experiencing things to memorize and they tend to enjoy activities more during class time. [pic] Figure 5: Memory skills used to better memory Figure 5 presents some memory skills students use to better their memory. Connecting old and new information is the most popular methods to be employed by English Hanuers (42. 3%). Meanwhile, 30. 8% of respondents feel that using mindmaps helps them most in studying and remembering things.
Taking notes while studying seems less effective as just only 26. 9% of students choose it as their favorite method to memorize. Undeniably, new information can be easily memorized if it is organized based on the connection with the background knowledge. The better you understand the subject, the longer and more vividly you remember it. Using mindmaps is considered as an effective skill in improving memory because it boosts the react of both sides of the brain (Tony, 2008). Users not only create a mental image but also depict a real map on the paper, which help the brain ave time to transfer the information into long-term memory. Taking notes while studying also is very important since students cannot remember all the contents during the class. It is a muscle activity, and the fact is that our muscles have significantly better memories than our heads (Kesselman- Turkel, Peterson, 1982). When writing something down, you will remember more efficienly than just only read or listen. Moreover, the lecturer or professional may give a lot of precious and interesting information from their knowledge and experience, which are not written in any books.
Hence, it is vital for a student to take notes for reviewing after class time. However, because of laziness, some students still have the wrong awareness of note-taking skill. IV. Conclusion In brief, this small-scale paper investigates reasons and solutions to poor memory among English students of Hanoi University. Firstly, laziness, low concentration and over-learning are the most common factors contributing towards students’ memory inability. With regards to these problems, some memory skills are recommended. Different students choose their own method which helps them remember most effectively.
They highly appreciate the connection between background knowledge and new information as well as the role of reviewing in memory’s improvement. However, because of the small scale of the research conducted, the limitations are unavoidable. We failed to testify the correlation between students’ memory types and their most favorite memory skill. Hence, in further research, this should be taken into consideration as an important key point. It is our attempt in giving some brief review about memory and the ways to boost students’ memory.
We hope that the research helps students identify their memory’s type and define the most effective skills and study methods. REFERENCES Adam, K. (2002). I’m a gifted, so are you. England, Times Media Pte Ltd. Cusimano, A. (2001). Learning disability, there’s a cure. Pennsylvania, Achieve Publications. Harry, L. (2000). How to develop a power memory. New York, NY: Free Press. Higbee, K. L. (2001). Your memory: how it works and how to improve it. New York, NY: Maloew and Company Katz, E. (2006). Secrets of a super memory. New York, NY: Free Press.
Kesselman-Turkel, J. & Peterson, F. (1982) Note-taking made easy, Lincolnwood, IL: Contemporary books. Tony, B. (2002). Mind maps book. USA, Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated. Tony, B. (2008). Use your head. London, BBC Pubns. William, W. A. (2009). Memory: How to develop, train and use it. UK, The Elizabeth T- wne. APPENDIX QUESTIONNAIRE We are Hoang Thi Hoa and Dam Thi My Hanh, from class 11a10. Our research aims to investigate the reasons contributing to the students’ poor memory and also find out some effective ways to hasten their memory.
We would be grateful for your honesty in answering these questions. Thank you so much for your cooperation. I. REASONS 1. Were you taught anything about your memory skills at school? ? Yes ? No 2. Do you think that you have a good memory? ? Yes ? No ( If yes, skip question 4, if no, skip question 3) 3. What could be the reasons explained for your good memory? ? Naturally, I have a good memory ? It is the result of my practice Other(s):………………………………………………………. ( please specify) 4. What factor(s), in your opinion, contributes to your poor memory? You unable to concentrate when you study ? You have to learn too much knowledge at a time ? You are lazy ? You disuse what you have learned ? You do not understand clearly what you learned ? You try to remember only when you are forced to ? You have negative attitude when having something to study and remember II. SOLUTIONS A. TO BEST REMEMBER INFORMATION,… (circle only one for each question) 1. When learning new words, I often try to… a. Visualize the word b. Say the word aloud c. Write the word 2. When needing concentration to study, I usually… a. Look at something carefully . Listen to music c. Find a quiet place 3. When reading, I… a. Like descriptive scenes b. Enjoy conversations and try to hear the characters c. Prefer actions and do not like reading much 4. When learning something new, I… a. Like to see diagrams or pictures b. Prefer to hear instructions or like to talk about it with someone else c. Prefer to jump right in and try it B. TO BETTER MY MEMORY, I… ? using mind maps ? connecting old and new information ? taking note while study Other(s):………………………………………………………………. (please specify) THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR YOUR COOPERATION!