Shortcuts don’t work…

WARNING: This week’s post will be quick and dirty.

Daniel T. Willingham’s article on strategies how to improve a student’s memory really resonated with me. First of all, I have to admit that I am a sucker for ANYTHING that helps me memorize, retain, and recall relevant information (I am scatterbrained by nature… runs in the family).

I had a good laugh when I reached the section about “memory myths”, especially myths #3:

“Herbal supplements or pharmaceuticals that can enhance memory or attenuate the cognitive decline associated with aging” (p. 21).

I felt a hint of embarrassment, as it reminded me of a purchase I had made a couple of months ago:


So, wait…. You are saying, Ginkgo will NOT help me study for my comprehensive exam? Bummer.

Okay, now I am alerted. How about these Lumocity-loving people (actors?) who use the software to – for example – “remember people’s names”?

But joke aside. Although I am clearly exaggerating (i.e., the Ginkgo bottle is still unopened), for me it simply highlights the fact that learning and maximizing the ability of memory cannot be achieved by taking shortcuts. Recognizing how students learn, how information is retained, processed and converted into tacit knowledge and how this can shape teaching is a complex endeavor – a pop of Ginkgo can hardly do much…


One thought on “Shortcuts don’t work…

  1. Neat post. As I approach the age where I qualify for Medicare, I keep looking for short cuts myself…and not finding them. My wife and I do have an extensive collection of completed crossword puzzles and sudoku…on the off chance it might keep our brains “elastic”. 🙂

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