How to memorise information using your strengths 

I’ve been challenged by David’s idea of memorising an entire chapter of Mark this year.  Memorising is not foreign to me.  As a classical singer, I’ve had to memorise over 3 hours of music in various languages, and add acting and dancing to the mix.  I’ve also memorised one hour piano recitals, having practised the music for up to 2 years prior.

So how can I memorise this first chapter of Mark?  After all, it’s not singing and it’s not playing the piano.  David has given us one idea of how to do it, stressing different words as we say the same sentence many times over.  You may find this a helpful way to learn.

There might however be some people who need other ideas for learning from memory.  Having taught many different demographics over the last 3 decades, I’d like to offer some other suggestions as to how we can go about committing so many words to memory in a meaningful, and hopefully fun way.

American psychologist, Howard Gardner, released a book in 1983 that put forward a theory of 9 different learning styles.  He termed these ‘Multiple Intelligences’ which is a complex title for what I like to call learning styles, or strengths.  Here is the list, which looks rather daunting, but below I will explain things simply for you.

Spatial, Intra-personal, Linguistic, Kinesthetic, Interpersonal, Existential, Mathematical, Musical & Naturalist.

Everyone has things they’re good at, and other things that they’re not so good at.  For example, I’m good at music, but I’m not good at maths.  In fact, if you have a mathematical problem, don’t ever ask me!  Ask Michael Naughton or Ash Humphreys.  They’re really good at maths.

Let’s unpack the various learning styles.  Here are some details of these strengths / styles, and how you could apply each one to memorising Mark chapter 1.  I’ve set these out in the following manner to help you find your fit:

Name of strength - summary
Brief description of what it looks like for you
Idea:  A way you can apply this strength / style to memorising the first chapter of Mark.

Spatial - picture smart
Visually artistic, you see the world in 3D.
Idea:  Draw or picture of yourself looking on or involved in the story of Mark Chapter 1.

Intra-personal - self smart
You understand your self, your feelings and what you want.
Idea: Write down your emotions as you read different sections of the Mark 1 story.

Linguistic - word smart 
You enjoy finding the right word to express what you want to.
Idea:  Re-write the story of Mark one to express it your way, with your words and phrasing.

Bodily / Kinesthetic - body/movement smart
You co-ordinate your mind with your body to express yourself through movement.
Idea:  Create movements to the story, or dances/ act out what you read in Mark’s 1st chapter.

Interpersonal - people smart
You understand people’s feelings & motives, you see multiple perspectives of events.
Idea:  As you read, discuss or note each character’s feelings & motives in Mark 1.

Existential - question smart
You enjoy seeking answers to the big questions of why we live, die & exist.
Idea:  Research and link the OT prophecies about John and Jesus with Mark chapter 1.

Logical/Mathematical - reasoning / number smart
You process things through counting, quantifying, hypothesizing and proving theories.
Idea:  Try a game / quiz with a friend on which verse is which in Mark’s first chapter.

Musical - sound smart
You hear and perceive the world through sounds, pitch, tone, rhythm, timbre & songs.
Idea: Create a sound track to the story of Mark 1 using original or your favourite music.

Naturalist - nature smart
You understand living things and seek to learn more about nature by looking & discovering.
Idea:  See the story of Mark 1 from the wilderness / Jordan river / lake or eyes of the dove.

It’s likely that reading through this list you’ve already figured out what learning strengths are not your thing.  That’s a great start.  Narrow down the list to your top 3 and decide which style is your main way of learning and seeing the world.  If you’re not sure, feel free to have a chat with me, or someone who knows you well.

If you find this information helpful, I would really like to hear your stories.  Perhaps you have your own ideas of how to memorise Mark 1 that I haven’t listed above.  Feel free to share your own ways so we can all learn new skills in memorising bible passages.

Galatians 6 : 4 - 6  “Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given ... each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best with your own life”.


Rosie Pryor, 20/04/2018