Reviews | Writing improves memory recall | Opinion


Regardless of a student’s major, there is one essential skill that improves comprehension and memory: writing.

According to a study 2020, writing in all subject areas enhances learning by improving the ability to recall information, make connections between concepts, and analyze information. In the study, leader Steve Graham and his colleagues define the retrieval effect – how writing consolidates information into long-term memory – explaining why information can be quickly forgotten if it is not written down. .

In college, academic writing is most often taught in a series of introductory courses to enhance students’ critical thinking. JMU offers a series of General Education courses such as Rhetorical Reading and Writing and Human Communications, which teach students soft skills used for critical thinking and writing formats. While it is crucial that these courses be provided, their importance is often overlooked as some students complete the course with minimal effort. Junior Josh Kuesters, spoke about his college writing experience and how major-focused writing has helped him.

“I think it’s beneficial to know the structure of the basic article, especially the research articles, but the articles for English lessons didn’t really help me much compared to my articles based on computing,” Kuesters said. “I think different types of writing courses should be used depending on your major.”

On the other hand, Adrien Ponce, a senior, said the writing can be hit or miss, depending on the class. He also said that the course he found most beneficial was his freshman writing class, which allowed him to write about topics he was passionate about.

“The most useful writing class I took was my freshman writing class because I was able to write about things that were close to my heart,” Ponce said. “One of these articles allowed me to write about a friend of mine who passed away a few years ago. With this, I don’t think writing should be implemented in all majors because, in the case of a computer science major, it just seems like more work and unnecessary.

According Arkansas State University — additionally, if a student uses writing in a math class and sees improvement in that area, they may be more motivated to apply that skill in other subjects.

Benefits of physical note taking

There are many ways to include writing in all subjects, such as incorporating handwritten notes into one’s note-taking method. While many believe technology is the most efficient way to work, handwritten notes allow people to retain information better. This is due to several factors, including speed, personal style integration, increased brain activity, and stronger memory encoding and retrieval.

According to neuroscientist and professor Kuniyoshi L. Sakai, a study from the University of Tokyo found that volunteers who filled out paper notes were 25% faster to complete their note-taking than those who used digital devices.

“In fact, paper is more advanced and useful than electronic documents because paper contains more unique information for better memory recall,” Sakai said.

The paper itself allows the writer to incorporate personal queues for writers to remember crucial information, whether it’s a crease in the paper or an indentation. Handwritten notes are also tangible while digital notes disappear with a click. Ponce added that the typing does not produce the same desired effect.

“I always use handwritten notes because I’ve found that typing my notes doesn’t help me remember information as well as writing it down, and that’s more satisfying, in my opinion,” Ponce said. .

While learning proper writing techniques helps students excel in their own field of study, it can also help them develop their verbal communication skills. Writing stimulates the brain, stimulates the imagination and speeds up brain function, which promotes the ability to refine and explain ideas to others. Perfecting your writing format makes it easier to explain ideas to others in a professional, concise, and understandable way.

Oriana Lukas is a media arts and design student. Contact Oriana at [email protected] For more editorials regarding the JMU and Harrisonburg communities, follow the Opinion Bureau on Instagram and Twitter @Breeze_Opinion.

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