One of the fun things about filming “Can I improve my Memory?” for Channel 4, was getting to work as memory coach for three very interesting people with very different personalities. With the release of tonight’s first episode it’s fun to reflect on the different learning styles of my three memory pupils!
When you’re teaching anything, you have to bear this in mind: everyone’s different and everyone’s memory is different. To be successful, you have to adapt to three things. First, people differ in what they’re interested in – and interests are key to memory; second, they have different associations in their brains, so they make different connections; third, of course, is personality, which influences more or less everything!
So here are some reflections on Amber, Chris and Len.
Love-Island winner Amber is incredible fun to work with. She’s fun, imaginative and high paced. And she has very strong opinions! So when you’re learning with Amber, you’ve got to be on your toes. One of her great strengths is that Amber is very intuitive and in touch with her emotions, which is a great asset for any learner, as she’s quick to realise what makes her interested, and what bores her- and not afraid to tell you. Because she understands this, it’s easy for Amber to use her imagination to change the way she looks at things till they become more memorable. That’s a huge strength.
Memory superpower: imagination!
Chris was a champion boxer, so he knows what it takes to win. And he knows that the eventual performance is 99% perspiration, 1 % inspiration. He’s also though a very deep thinker, someone who likes to understand and inhabit concepts before putting them into practice. He’s eager to learn, quite philosophical, and has a fascinating life story. All of these are great strengths to adapt to and work with. But it’s his champion’s mentality and hard work ethic that stand out! Knowing how to win makes a heck of a difference when it comes to high level performance.
Memory superpower: a champion’s mentality
It was great also to work with an older person in Len Goodman from Strictly, as so often people think that just because you’re old, you can’t learn. That’s nonsense, and I was excited to work with Len to prove the point. And so was he! At least most of the time.
Len is an extremely funny man, and a great character actor, which means he’s very able to finding amusing ways of learning things. Humour is like a magic wand in memory- as soon as you find something funny, it’ll stick into your brain. And that’s one of the most potent tools a learner can have. So while teaching Len, it was all about the jokes- which extended to him taking a tremendous ironic interest in early 1990’s rap!
Len’s superpower: humour
The golden rule: make it interesting
The golden rule of memory is to make what you’re learning interesting. All three of my pupils here had a gift for that- but in very different ways.
You can find out how they went about their learning in episode 1 of “Can I improve my Memory” here.