Monday, September 3, 2012

Theatrical Puppetry Exercises with Musical Choral Speech Serve as a Tool to Enhance Memory and Learning Proficiency

Today, there are many brain exercise programs online that expect the client to have the motivation and interest to stay focused with an often tedious program. Many are random visual figure exercises to learn a series of images. The various types of visual and listening memory are not over-viewed, and, what is presented are visual memory exercises that are difficult to complete.

What is obviously missing from this paradigm is the crucial "listening-auditory memory" facet. Researchers have long written that auditory memory must couple with visual memory for the learner to understand or comprehend new information. Auditory/listening memory exercises must accompany the visual ones, and obtain effective results in the process. This challenge becomes a complex measurement and evaluation process to discover what is effective and works with all learning levels and capabilities. Following years of test-train-testing iterations, puppets were found to be an engaging, differentiating tool.

Yet, it can not be “any puppet, with any instructional purpose, or with any filmed procedure”, but should have a specific rationale and lesson objective in mind. Students are taught how to interface, react, and engage effectively.

To teach rapid auditory-visual memory, and to make the training palatable and exciting, I engaged a family of historical vaudevillian ventriloquist puppets that taught sequential learning to children age 9, up to the adult learner, who appreciated “the Charlie McCarthy – Edgar Bergen retro Hollywood radio days”.

Puppet characters offer the following beneficial qualities:

1) They offer a non-threatening, stress free, fun-like presence, and can become a “family affair” for the learning process. The learner remains in an abstract "one-up" position. Although they can challenge your capabilities to the next level, they do not intimate. When they back-talk, you are not personally offended, as they become your friend.

2) Their messages are rapidly understood. For example, they have been used in political cartoons and comic strips for decades.

3) Their vocal intonations penetrate the memory system.

Becoming an effective learning tool, we can learn from speaking puppets, but only when uniquely presented, are programmed effectively, and engage the learner.

Rather than fighting your way through a labyrinth of random, abstract memory lessons, as an alternative, instructional Mem-ExSpan puppetry games can improve our cognitive skills and memory uniquely and easily. We can learn visual and auditory factual names, words, and sequential memories, as in learning technical procedures, having jumped past outdated, rote memory systems.

And, if we find that these puppet characters do give us "guff," we really do not mind!

To find out more about Jan’s 5-Gen’s of classroom instruction backed by published, juried research, visit