The effects of mnemonic instruction for Hispanic and non-Hispanic elementary school children: a comparison study
Adams, Aida Medina
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Content material requires the integration of new material into an existing knowledge base as well as filtration through a cultural knowledge base. Mnemonics facilitate comprehension and recall by connecting new information to the learners already established schema. This study examined the effects of a memory technique, elaborative interrogation, on 41 Hispanic and 42 Anglo-American fifth-grade students. This memory technique does not accentuate an intricate use of language or literacy. Instead, the students utilize their reasoning styles and dispositions to produce a greater understanding of presented topics. One primarily Hispanic and one primarily Anglo-American classrooms experienced the elaborative interrogation condition (treatment condition), while a second Hispanic and Anglo-American classroom experienced the reading-to-learn condition (control condition). A fifteen multiple-choice test was administered immediately following the presentation of the facts and were administered again one week later. Participants in the treatment condition decreased an average of 16.32 points from one week to the next, whereas those in the control condition decreased and average of 22.47 points. Descriptive statistics suggest that, generally, the Anglo-American participants decreased approximately 2.45 points more than the Hispanic participants for the experimental condition, while the Hispanic participants declined approximately 10.89 points more than the Anglo-American participants for the control condition. A three-way analysis of covariance revealed significant F values for treatment conditions, ethnicity, and for the treatment by ethnicity interaction. These findings suggest that the use of elaborative interrogation may improve students' recall, when compared to the reading-to learn technique. Hispanic students may find greater benefits since it regards their own cultural backgrounds as a key component.