A Photographic Memory Technique

A Photographic Memory Technique by Linda Smith

photographic-memory-girlDiscovering your child’s natural learning strategy and expanding on it is probably the shortest short cut possible to a successful teaching/learning experience with your child. If you have been so daring as to set for yourself the Herculean task of home schooling or when you are helping your kids with their homework or giving them powerful tips on how to do better in school generally, this Photographic Memory Technique is fabulous.

I imagine that if you want everyone involved to have the most fulfilling and least stressful studying experience possible, try this to help your children (and yourself?) gain a new resource for the memorization part of learning. In other words, to borrow a metaphor, “teaching them to fish” better.

This is an astonishingly simple memorization technique that was observed in champion spellers and then developed into an easily followed technique developed by Robert Dilts, while he was studying with Dr John Grinder, ( John has often been described as one of the greatest thinkers of our lifetime for his innovations in patterns of human excellence), and Dr Milton H Erickson, a celebrated psychiatrist whose work is revered and studied the world over (google the Milton H. Erickson society if the subjects interest you).

To learn how your child learns best, the first thing you have to do is find out where s/he stores his visual memory, or, where she stores the picture of the information that s/he is “looking” to remember. To do this, identify where the person’s visual memory storage is located by watching their eyes as you ask a couple of visual memory questions like:
“What color were you wearing last Sunday?”, “What did the couch you had when you were a child look like?”, “What color was your first car?” “What do you see when you look outside your kitchen window?”. You get the idea.

To find out where your child visually constructs new concepts and information, ask questions like: “What go you want to be when you grow up?” “What do you imagine a timberland pro pit boss steel toe work boot (or anything that s/he has probably never seen) looks like”, “What kind of car do you want?” Or ask anything about any future event.

Watch where their eyes move to find the information: They will look up either towards the left (more common for memory) or up towards the right (more common when imagining or creating something new). Asking both kinds of visual questions and observing where their eyes go to either retrieve or create the information, you will know where s/he stores her visual memory, or where their photographic (visual) memory is located. John Grinder and Richard Bandler, in their process of developing Neuro-Linguistic Programming, realized that as a general rule, emotional memories (as opposed to Visual Memories) are stored *down in feelings*, so the eyes will go up when looking for pictures (where the best spellers store their words) and they will look down when “looking for” feelings.

So, we will use spelling as an example for teaching the photographic memory technique.

Ask your child to do the following:

“Look at the correct spelling of a word.” (e.g. the word might be “assistance”)
“Close your eyes and remember a time when you were very relaxed and perfectly comfortable. Feel the feelings that you have when you are very comfortable and relax…..”
(While you are certainly not inducing a full trance, you are looking to get them into a nice, relaxed state of mind and body.)
“Open your eyes and move them up and to the left.” (or to the right, depending on which side you have found his visual memory to be located).
“Picture the correctly spelled word (take a photograph) in your mind.”
“Look up at your mental picture of the word and read off the letters that you see.” [Write the letters down and check against the correct spelling. They are most likely to be the same.]

Further helpful hints:

Break the word into groups of three and build the picture three letters at a time.
Make any unclear letters stand out by making them look bigger or somehow different.
Picture the word in your favorite color.
Put the letters on a familiar background.
Watch and feel yourself tracing the letters in the air or on the table with your finger.

(Revised from a spelling strategy developed by Robert Dilts)

Linda Smith (moi) is a somewhat retired Neuro-Linguistic seminar designer. Back when I enjoyed traveling, I taught health care professionals throughout North America and Europe. Now I enjoy “the boonies” with modern amenities, beautiful lake view and hubby in his trusty Timberland pro work boots. We are building websites that are useful to others and still enjoy a nice road trip with our dogs.

In future, I hope to post more comprehensive articles about accessing positive states of mind for use use in developing even more positive and useful personal resources.