Monday, September 5, 2016

#LTW: #gifted students and #memory problems

Memory is very important when it comes to learning anything new and storing it away for future use. Sometimes gifted students have problems with their short term memory, especially the spatially gifted learner.


            Although the temporal, parietal and occipital lobes have their own distinct functioning in the brain, they all contribute to the learning process through memory acquisition and retention. The occipital lobe, located in the back of the brain, is responsible for the processing of incoming information.
The temporal lobe, located in the lower part of the cerebral cortex, is responsible for controlling the information transfer from short-term to long-term memory. When a student learns something new the information is first processed through the short-term or working memory then stored in the long term memory after the temporal lobe transfers the information to the hippocampus
 Bruning, Schraw & Norby found that people can hold large amounts of information with in their memory when information is presented in chunks. Chunks are meaningful units of information presented to the learner. A learner cannot hold more than seven chunks of information at one time. Monru (2013) found gifted students are able to process larger chunks of information at one time. They also are able to retain more knowledge within their short-term memories than their peers. Geake (2009) found gifted children’s working memory has a higher efficiency rate than their non-gifted peers. Gifted children are able to achieve this through the use of a high-level frontal cortex with a bilateral frontal-parietal network.
The parietal lobes, located near the crown and rear of the head, constructs spatial maps and mental images. Munro (2013) found gifted children begin with a higher prefrontal activity but as they progress into their teen years the enhanced activity transfer to the parietal lobes. Thus the student loses their advanced abstract thinking and gains the ability to learn more quickly through mental images and spatial reasoning. Some gifted students excel in mental images and spatial reasoning more than others. These gifted students are known as gifted visual-spatial learners.

Sword (2011) identified two types of gifted visual-spatial leaner; 1) children who are identified with extremely high IQ’s on an IQ test because they have a greater ability completing tasks with visual-spatial and auditory-sequential thinking process. And 2) bright children who are often are not identified with a high IQ on a standardized IQ test because they have a great visual-spatial with a lower than normal auditory-sequential thinking process. The later are after “at-risk” because they are not identified and/or receive the extra support that is required for them to become academically successful. Sword (2011) found gifted visual-spatial learners possess poor auditory short-term memory and think primarily in pictures. Thus, when teaching a gifted visual-spatial learner the educator needs to be aware that these gifted students need to visualize the material in order to learn. Sword (2011) also found gifted visual-spatial learners experience oversensitivity to physical stimuli due to their supersensitive nervous systems.   

Asher, J. (2006) Cortex Matures Faster in Youth with Highest IQ. Retrieved from National Institute of Health website:
Bruning, R. H., Schraw, G. J., & Norby, M. M. (2011). Cognitive psychology and instruction (5th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.
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Geake, J. (2009). The Brain at School: Educational Neuroscience in the Classroom. Retrieved from ttps://
Gross, G. (2013, October 21). Who is the gifted Child [Web log post]? Retrieved from
Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2012). Anatomy of the brain. Baltimore, MD: Author
Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2012). Connectivism learning theory. Baltimore MD: Author.
Monru, J. (2013). High-Ability Learning and Brain Processes:How Neuroscience can help us to understand how gifted and talented students learn and the implication for teaching. Paper presented a the Research Conference, Australia
Mrazik, M., & Dombrowski, S. C. (2010). The Neurobiological Foundations of Giftedness. Roeper Review, 32(4), 224-234. doi:10.1080/02783193.2010.508154
Sword, L. (2011). I think in pictures, you teach in words: The gifted visual-spatial learner. Tall Poppies Retrieved from
Treffinger, D (Ed.). 

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