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How to help working memory do its job

Many pupils struggle to recall and apply information, and the challenges they face are not being addressed in the classroom, says Margaret Mulholland

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Robbie in Year 4 is reserved and quiet. He tends not to volunteer responses. He rarely answers direct questions, particularly in a whole-class situation. He sometimes becomes more vocal when working in small groups, although he doesn’t always discuss the task at hand.

We can all immediately picture children like Robbie in our lessons. He is just one example of a struggling pupil with a behaviour profile commonly found to be associated with working memory disability – an example cited by cognitive scientist Professor Sue Gathercole, programme leader for the memory and perception group in the ...

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