David Thomas is a true Yorkshireman who has an incredible memory. After a difficult start in life, he got into trouble at a young age and was excluded from school. He worked in a factory, then in an office and eventually became a fire fighter. After being told by his seniors that he would never pass his promotion exams, David decided to do something about it. He had seen someone on the television recite the order of a shuffled pack of cards and ended up buying his book and starting to train his own memory. Within a few years he had come 4th and then 3rd at the World Memory Championships but really wanted to be the best so decided he would take on a Guinness World Record. In 1998 David managed to recite Pi to 22 500 digits, an incredible feat! (David showed us some of his skills by reciting Pi to the first 150 digits). He has since gone on to bigger and better things and even managed to recall 100 packs of individually shuffled cards! Over the last 20 years, David has spoken in over 20 different countries, written a best-selling book and appeared on a number of radio and tv programmes, including Oprah!
David talked about how visualising things can help with remembering them, using colour, images, and different senses when learning. He taught the children about ‘Mind mapping’ pictures and words. This is the best way to learn as it stimulates more neurons than when making notes or using bullet points.
He challenged the children to remember 20 objects as he went around the room, describing them in certain places and what they were. Everyone was encouraged to recall them up to a point with some success. He asked for a volunteer to recall all 20 items in front of everyone and the room went quiet! The pupil volunteers were successful in their recall of all 20 items, one managing this in reverse.
He went on to explain that in life it pays to put yourself forward, have a go, be willing to try, to stand out from the crowd and put yourself in situations which are outside your comfort zone – something to really think about and take away. David’s speech was not only inspiring but motivating too, teaching us that whatever your background may be, if you are willing to put in the work you can really go far and succeed in life. The memory techniques he introduced can certainly be used by the pupils to enhance their studying techniques.