Would you believe that some of the age-old beliefs about studying are actually not the best advice? Have you heard that finding a designated quiet, study space is the best way to study? Many educators and scientists would disagree! In fact, studying the same material in different locations can actually improve retention. One theory is that studying in different locations helps the brain create connections between the material and different surroundings. This gives the material a stronger anchor in the mind.
Mixed practice is also another tool to increase learning. Rather than studying the same type of problems or focusing only on spelling words, mixing up topics can actually help students learn the material better. For example, mixing reading comprehension with spelling words is a great way to try this technique.
Parents, teachers, and students alike are often afraid to make material too difficult, or they are worried about the students if the material is hard for them. While it is important to teach to a student’s comprehension level, it is also important to note that the student is apt to learn better when it is not easy for them. The “desirable difficulty” effect is the idea that the harder something is to remember, the harder it is to forget later. So, even forgetting is okay occasionally if you take the time to remember!