In researching for this blog, I came across a site that provides valuable information on strategies for developing memory skills for learners with attention deficit hyper activity disorder. Quite often in the classroom environment, I suspect that their may be a barrier to learner’s grasp on the material, but they are not forth coming with information on how I can assist their development. I strive to provide a meaningful, rewarding educational experience for all of my students, so I found some of the tips here would be useful for myself in future classrooms when I may be teaching students with unidentified learning disorders. I am going to highlight a few of the tips that I think would be beneficial and relate to them to my specific learning environment: the professional kitchen!
> Use checklists for tasks with multiple steps. This is an essential part of being a productive student or employee in a kitchen environment. I will generally have a overall task list for the entire class. Learners could be assigned some of those task and develop a more detailed timeline that would help them be successful in completing the days production. At the end of the class, they reflect on the viability of the timeline and if it was effective with assisting them with their working memory.
> Develop routines. This is something I can create as instructor to maximize the efficiency of class time. In a live restaurant environment situation, routine helps keeping focus and with routine and repetition the learner will develop their memory.
> Experiment with various ways of remembering information. Creating rhymes or sayings are great ways of remembering in the kitchen class room. there is a tradition of sayings in the kitchens that are great learning experiences and assist with working memory. Some examples are “when in doubt, throw it out” “you have to time to lean, you have time to clean” or “FIFO: first in, first out” personal stories also assist with working memory, when relating to past experiences, it can make the task more interesting and memorable.
> Reduce multitasking. I often think multitasking is impossible. When a learner is struggling with focus and attention, trying to have them multitask is very difficult and often unsuccessful. Instead, using some of the tips above, break tasks down into lists, focusing on one task at a time. Consideration of efficiency should be taken into account when developing the list.
I found it interesting in the article that these were similar to principles that we use to organize ourselves in the kitchen environment to be successful. We have so many small tasks and details to take complete that are essential, so often checklists, routines, kitchen sayings, and doing one thing at a time enable us to stay on track. It is easy to get distracted and probably more so for a learner with ADHD. I believe some of these practices would be very beneficial for a learner who is struggling with their working memory.