Who was your first teacher? What was your first classroom like? What is you remotest childhood memory? How long did it take you to retrieve those information? What does that reveal about the nature of long-term memory?
Retrieving my memory of my first teacher is definitely fast. It took me only a few seconds to remember her. My first teacher is Sister Virginia. Recalling her now gives me a vivid picture of her in my mind. She is in her white dress holding her box of colored chalks. She draws bible characters on the board using her chalk as she tells us stories about God. Uh, how I wanted to have chalks like those.
An image of Sr. Virginia was constructed in my long term memory. It is an episodic memory that reminds me about the actual room temperature and the time of the day when I was in kinder. My fascination with her colored chalks and my wanting to have those were imprinted in my memory.
The theory of Serial Position (Primacy-Recency) Effect explains that my memory of my first teacher was stored in my memory for more than two decades now because she was the first person I met in school. Hence, first impressions last. The colored chalks she used caught my attention and were registered in my memory as the very first tool in school that I would want to have at home. Every time she drew on the board, I was so focused with the swirling and swishing of the chalk against the blackboard. When my mother finally bought a box of colored chalks for me, my experience of drawing in any wall at home allowed me to elaborate the information by allowing me to have my own personal experience of colored chalks.
So when asked about my first teacher, I will always retrieve two images from my mind: the image of Sr. Virginia and the box of colored chalks in her hand.


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