About Working Memory

Working memory (WM) is the mental workspace where we hold and manipulate  information in our mind. This is the information we need in real time as we are engaged in thinking, learning, planning and behavioural self control.

When it comes to behaviour, WM is where we hold the information necessary to 'think before acting'. In this way we are able to remember rules and consider consequences, so that we can make the best decisions about how we want to behave.

In order to pay attention, WM is necessary for us to remember what we are paying attention to. When distractions come along, we need to be able to process those distractions, yet remember what we should be focusing on.

In the classroom, the types of information held in working memory may be a series of instructions given by the teacher, or the words of a sentence a child is planning to write, whilst thinking about the spelling and punctuation of the words they are actually writing.