If you’ve been following my blog and twitter, you’ll have noticed I am gaining more interest in the research that underpins our practice as teachers, particularly around memory. My latest find is perhaps not as powerful as some of the other research available, but is something to consider nonetheless.
- Have you ever been in a meeting and doodled on the agenda?
- Have you ever had feedback from an observer saying that learners weren’t learning as they were doodling on their notepads?
- Have you ever been bored in a lecture and doodled in your margins?
Well you may be surprised to hear that doodling can actually improve short term memory and concentration!
Research conducted by Andrade examined 40 participants in a monotonous mock telephone message for the names of people coming to a party. Half of the group was randomly assigned to a ‘doodling’ condition where they shaded printed shapes while listening to the telephone call. The doodling group performed better on the monitoring task and recalled 29% more information on a surprise memory test.
Look, I’m under no illusion that the small number of participants and the method of assessing concentration and short term memory is open to criticism, but it’s worth noting this:
Just because someone is doodling whilst information is being shared with them, it doesn’t mean that they’re not learning – equally, it doesn’t mean that they are. But at least if anyone challenges you about your own, or your learners doodling, then you can point them in the direction of this.