While I elaborate on how doodling helps memory, let me tell you that my son aged nine is about to appear for his first term assessment at school. He is in Grade V now. As any other normal mother would, I tend to do the running around and ensure that my child has revised his lessons well before the exams commence. All this while, my son plays around with his Rubik’s cube, totally oblivious of the enormous frustration and tension that his mom carries on her shoulders till his exams are over!
Ecology concept doodle -Image courtesy of KROMKRATHOG at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
As kids go to higher grades, chapters are vast. You cannot possibly expect them to memorize. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what certain kids do at the last moment. Memorizing without understanding basic facts doesn’t make sense. Kids also get bored easily looking at long answers to questions. So what could be the right way to learn better and improve your child’s memory power?
Memorizing stuff does make sense if you do it the right way! That is when doodling or noting with sketches comes into picture.
Doodling Helps Memory
As kids, how many times did you get scolded for doodling away in class? The last page of every notebook was silent testimony of your lovely artwork 😉 But then how many times have you scolded your child to stop doodling with pencil while you explain a concept? You feel that it is distracts attention and is absolutely silly. Well, its time to stop that.
Doodling or making rough sketches while you learn can actually help you understand concepts and memorize things better! Doodling helps the brain to make a visual representation of a particular concept.
Doodling Simple Concepts – eg. Photosynthesis
Take a very simple example of the process of “photosynthesis” – Natural chemical-process by which chlorophyll (magnesium-containing pigment in green plants, blue-green algae, phytoplankton, and green and purple bacteria) uses sunlight (radiation) energy to convert (synthesize) water and atmospheric carbon dioxide into life sustaining organic compounds such as glucose. Being also responsible for almost all the oxygen in atmosphere, photosynthesis is the basis of all life on earth.
Now look at this doodle of photosynthesis in plants.
It covers all points mentioned in the definition. Plus you have an awesome mind map at hand to go thru before exams.
Doodling Makes Kids Better Listeners
Did you notice that when children blindly take notes or copy matter from the black board in class, they do so without understanding and hence fail to retain concepts in memory. However, when a student doodles, he listens, he concentrates, deciding on what information he needs to put in the doodle and what not. The result is that important facts get encoded in the brain automatically and the student gets a deeper understanding of the matter.
So how to make kids doodle stuff?
Encourage your child to draw step by step, rough sketches for subjects like history, geography, science, english literature etc. These are the subjects where the child has to describe content like sequence of events in history, structure of the Earth’s layers, structure of human digestive system, synopsis of any play by Shakespeare etc.
While you explain these concepts, make them doodle. Sketches must be in sequence though. A doodle can be as simple as a bubble with something written inside it and an arrow for labeling. This will make them concentrate more on what you say, as they have to implement it in the form of sketches.
I caught my child yawning once when I was teaching him the structure of the nervous system. I could sympathize with him as the matter was too vast for a 9 year old to grasp. Then I took a whiteboard and a marker, told him to doodle as I taught him. I found him listening keenly and sketching stuff side by side. Try this, it works, especially when you need your brain to digest a lot of matter without getting all dazed and sleepy.
Doodling Helps The Brain Carry More
Research has revealed that the brain can remember concepts better if all the information is encapsulated in an image. In fact, William Klemm, a neuroscience professor at Texas A & M University confirmed this fact at a Learning and the Brain conference held in San Francisco.
Doodling Before Exams
Keep your doodles or rough sketches safe. Going thru them just before an exam helps a child recollect concepts properly without missing a single step or fact. Once the doodle is memorized, all a child needs to do is to elaborate on those points in his own words.
So try this and let me know how it goes!