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Working memory and learning during school years

Joint British Academy/British Psychological Society Lecture, delivered by Professor Sue Gathercole, on 3 December 2003.

Working memory refers to the ability to store and manipulate information in mind for a brief period of time. The capacity of working memory increases considerably over the childhood years, and also varies markedly between individuals of the same age. This lecture will provide an overview of evidence that children's with poor working memory capacities often fail to achieve normal scholastic progress in key learning areas such as literacy, mathematics and science. Furthermore, measurement of working memory skills at school entry at four years of age has been shown to be an effective predictive of later achievements at national curriculum assessment points. A recent observational study of young children with poor working memory skills has identified difficulties in the successful completion of many routine classroom activities that impose significant demands on the capacity to store and process information. The final part of the lecture will focus on methods of reducing the working memory burdens of learning activities will be discussed, and ways of identifying children with poor working memory function.

Speaker: Professor Sue Gathercole, Professor of Psychology, University of Durham.

More about the Joint British Academy / British Psychological Society Lectures

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