A cognitive psychologist shares his secrets for memorable lesson plans.


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Many students can remember details from their favorite television show but struggle with remembering things their teachers say in class. Why is this?

Memory is an intriguing subject. You might think that your most recent memory would always be in front of you, but sometimes we find ourselves at a loss when trying to remember something from 15 seconds earlier, such as what I came into the kitchen for or even where my car keys are!

Meanwhile, other seemingly trivial memories can last our entire lives – for example, why do we remember some advertisements?

Daniel Willingham
Courtesy Dr. Daniel Willingham Facebook

Our guest in Episode 209 of Class Dismissed is here to help us make some sense of memory. He’ll also give us some teacher tips on how to make a more memorable lesson plan.

Dr. Daniel Willingham is a psychologist and professor at the University of Virginia. He’s also the author of “Why Don’t Students Like School?” His book dives into how the mind works and what it means for the classroom.

Willingham wants educators to know that “memory is the residue of thought.” In other words, your memory is not a product of what you want to remember or what you try to remember; it’s a product of what you think about.

To learn how educators can use this information to their advantage in their lessons, listen to Episode 209 of the Class Dismissed Podcast on your favorite podcast app or iTunes.

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