As a part-time instructor at several universities since 1993, Dr. Holifield spent years assisting college students during office hours by providing study suggestions for his college courses. He eventually realized students were lacking in a systematic approach to studying course content. Given his professional background in assessing students for ADHD and learning disabilities, Dr. Holifield decided to combine his expertise in memory functioning with knowledge of executive functioning to teach empirically-based strategies for long-term study success in a quarter or semester system. He trained under Dr. Milton Dehn, a well-published expert in short and long-term memory training. Dr. Holifield obtained his certification in Memory Intervention and incorporates many of Dr. Dehn's approaches to improve student memory, learning, and retention.
Executive Functions are core capabilities responsible for coordinating and integrating multiple cognitive activities and skills for academic learning. They are vital skills used for planning-prioritization, organization, work initiation, reducing distractions, time estimation, and mental flexibility. Other skills include managing frustration, goal-directed persistence, and working memory. All of these skills are important in college for planning one's semester, time management, prioritizing time for multiple due dates, note-taking, writing assignments, and managing concurrent courses at once.
Long-term memory skills are important for reading comprehension of course materials, studying for meaning, studying with repetition, and reducing the interference of multiple course concepts. Learning how memory operates and how to use skills to enhance retention of academic material aides in preparing for exams as well as improving in exam performance.
Sessions are designed for any high school student or students attending Cal Poly or Cuesta College who may want to learn how to become a more efficient learner. Students who struggle with ADHD or learning disorders and receive support from the Disability Resource Center are encouraged to contact Dr. Holifield.
A sample of the topics covered include:
Sessions are individually tailored for each student, yet typically follow a systematic flow in strategy content. Students will be expected to bring in their course syllabi, textbooks, and laptops. Binders may be provided to each student should a student not have one prepared. Students will learn a concept and will apply the strategy to individual work. Review of strategies and their applications will occur weekly. From time to time. students will be expected to show Dr. Holifield their Cal Poly Canvas, Cuesta Blackboard or other high school grade pages to review course content and progress. The ability for Dr. Holfield to communicate with the students' parents or university support staff is highly recommended.