Thursday, 15 July 2010

Making memories

I went to my daughter's primary school play yesterday. She was very good, as was the production. The head talked very briefly at the end of the show that its purpose was to 'make memories'. I couldn't agree more.

I attended another memory-making event today in the form of a graduation ceremony. Oleg Liber was receiving an Honorary Doctorate, along with ('Big!') Sam Allardyce.

Memory plays such an important role in learning. We often say that something has been learnt if it is 'remembered' (spellings, tables, for example). But these memories are very interesting. If the distributed cognition crowd are right (and I'm beginning to think they are), then memories are not in the head, but dependent on the context within which people live their lives. Events like graduations and school plays are special contexts, and with special contexts come significant moments of 'personal bio-psychosocial organisation'. The 'memory' is in the organisation - particularly in relation to the context it occurs in.

When it is recalled, the essence of the event is important. (The essence may be the trigger...) And the essence of the event is usually something significant, dignified, maybe joyful: the triviality of learning, teaching and assessment leads directly to something more substantial, human and eternal.

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