Vermont Higher Education Collaborative Logo

Collaborating with experts to support schools and deliver professional development, ensuring the success of all students.

Memory – 10 Things People Get Wrong

Remember: Learning and Memory are Largely Under Our Control

Here are 10 quick reminders about how memory works.  These characteristics about memory show how much of memory is in our control whether we are working to recall something ourselves, designing learning opportunities for students or helping students improve their own learning skills.  

The most noteworthy points for me were emphasizing that memories are not like a filing cabinet of concrete and unchanging facts but that memories change depending on how they were learned and how we recall them:

  • Recalling memories changes them each time. The process of recall is actually actively constructing the past every time you recall that memory, which means
  • Memory is unstable – what you choose to remember gets stronger as compared to the things you don’t often recall, and
  • Reloading reinforces memory – every time we switch tasks or go back to review and recall certain
    things those memories are reloaded and made stronger.


That puts a lot in our control, “techniques like using different contexts, switching between tasks and strenuous reconstruction of memories can all help boost retention” and can help us learn and retain difficult skills and concepts.

See more here:


Dennis has been the Director of the the VT-HEC since it was founded in 2000. He spent 16 years at the VT-DOE as Director of teams with various names that included: special education, Title I, health and wellness and other family and education support services. Prior to that Dennis worked at the Barre Town School (VT) starting as a special educator and serving many years as the Director of Student Support Services. He also spent 6 years as a classroom teacher grades 5-8 in NJ.

Leave a Reply