Working Memory in the Junior/Intermediate Classroom
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This research project explored the connection between working memory and children’s learning. The project created a resource titled Working Memory Strategies for the Junior/ Intermediate Educator: A Handbook based on a literature review, the deconstruction of theoretical and empirical studies, teacher resources, and findings from a needs assessment completed by teachers that together show there is insufficient support for teachers working with students who have deficits in working memory along with other common classroom learning disabilities. As learning disabilities become more common in the classroom that increasingly affect working memory in a majority of cases, teachers must be prepared not only to address specific symptoms of the conditions, but also to help students learn how to navigate and become aware of their working memory ability. The handbook thus was developed as a useful resource for teachers looking to expand their knowledge about how learning occurs. A needs assessment completed by junior and intermediate division teachers in Ontario helped determine what educators found most important for inclusion in the handbook, and the same teachers were offered the opportunity to review the completed handbook. Teacher participants provided constructive feedback and indicated that the handbook would be a valuable resource for them and their colleagues when working with students who have working memory issues. It was suggested that the handbook would be useful when creating students’ Individual Education Plans and that the assessment checklist included in the handbook would be an excellent resource for teachers collecting data regarding students’ working memory and ability to learn.