Studiu de specialitate – The Use of Rhythmic Mnemonics To Improve Memory and Recall in English language And Not Only

Autor: prof. Cristea Daniela
Școala Gimnazială Dimitrie Luchian, Piscu, Galați

Abstract – Mnemonic strategies that use imagery and visual cues to facilitate memory recall are commonly used in the classroom. A familiar tune, song or jingle, used as a mnemonic device is another popular memory aid. Studies of the brain and memory reveal that exposure to music not only alters but increases brain function in students. The purpose of this study is to examine the effects of musical and rhythmic mnemonics to facilitate the recall of academic content in the classroom.
A review of the literature indicates that memory and recall improve when lyric and song are integrated as a learning strategy. The literature also reveals that musical mnemonics are particularly effective as a memory aid for the learning disabled and mildly handicapped student.
Experiments were conducted in three grade school classrooms. Children were taught songs with academic content in the curriculum areas that were current at the time. The students were interviewed and subsequently tested on the retention of subject matter and their experience.
A survey of teachers was conducted to investigate their knowledge of the effectiveness of musical mnemonics as a tool in the classroom and the frequency of their use. Findings indicated that using rhythmic and musical mnemonics in any classroom provides an attractive and innovative alternative instructional and learning strategy.
The research hypotheses were:
1)How effective are mnemonics, musical or rhythmic in triggering the memory of students in elementary grades?
2)Do students have better retention and recall of English language when it is taught through rhythmic or musical mnemonics?
3)Can they subsequently independently recall those memory jogs when needed, in a test or quiz and use them to their advantage?
4)If indeed it is shown that students benefit from learning English in the classroom mnemonically, what is preventing teachers from using them more often in the classroom?
Keywords: acquisition, music,mnemonic, vocabulary, interview, second language, survey

Introduction – The „Head and Shoulders” song I taught in first grade every year was always a big hit. Children enjoyed not only singing but also touching and pointing to body parts as if part of a game. Five years later, while solving an English jigsaw one of my students simply started singing and taking her hands to her head, shoulders etc. I knew at that very moment that it was the „Head and Shoulders” song that she used in order to recall some body parts.
Students appear to learn and retain more when the subject matter is presented through rhythm and/or song. They can also retrieve information if taught the correct cues. Students do not have to be musical scholars in order to benefit from the joys of being taught mnemonically. When textual information is presented as the words of a song or familiar tune, it is better recalled and its memory is more durable. Also, when the lyric and melody are partened and then rehearsed, the melody is an effective cue for retrieving the lyric. (fragment)