|Input Processing and Retention
We continue on the theme of listening, with Anna-Maria Ramezanzadeh giving us an insight into the processes involved in listening, input processing and retention.
Studies into how memory operates shine some interesting light on the importance of listening. Very roughly, if we imagine memory as a flow chart,on one hand we have some form of input, so this is either a visual or audio stimulus or both- (i.e.) audio-visual stimulus- items (or pieces of this input) are noticed and this is then transferred to the working memory. The working memory retains information for a short period of time before deciding whether or not this is transferred to your long-term memory, which is where it becomes more entrenched and can be recalled. Your working memory is where things get really interesting. This actually has three components, one of which is the central executive, so this is the boss of the working memory, and this makes the decisions, very roughly about what is then transferred to the long-term memory, other factors aside.
In addition we have two storage facilities. One is the phonological loop and this relates to audio or aural input (so the sounds of words or phrases) and the other is the visuospatial sketchpad, so what a word looks like the things that is associated with. The idea of effective transfer from working memory to long-term memory relies on a number of things. One is that you need to notice the input and this is when motivation comes into play. If a resource is of interest to a student they’re much more likely to notice items that are important to them. These are then much more likely to be stored, by a process of following this flow chart, in your long-term memory. If your student is bored out of their brains are unlikely to notice anything which means aren’t likely to retain information.
The other interesting thing about this is that it relies on quality input, so the rate of transfer from, or the effectiveness of transfer from your working memory to your long-term memory and retention in your long-term memory of vocabulary items, etc, relies on quality input, both phonologically and visuospatially, and this is where the importance of multimodal input comes into play. So as we said before, even if you just want to learn Arabic to be able to read and write having phonological input, having aural input as well as written input, seems to help the rate of transfer from your working memory to long-term memory, in other words it makes words easier to remember, it makes language easier to learn and retain if you have multiple sources of input in terms of a particular word and multiple formats of that word that you’re being exposed to.