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Assessment of working memory utilization improvement strategies for engineering and technology ESL students learning physics

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2018 Mid Atlantic Section Fall Meeting


Brooklyn Technical High School, Brooklyn, New York, New York

Publication Date

October 26, 2018

Start Date

October 26, 2018

End Date

October 27, 2018

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sunil Dehipawala Queensborough Community College

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Sunil Dehipawala received his B.S. degree from University of Peradeniya in Sri Lanka and Ph.D from City University of New York. Currently, he is working as a faculty member at Queensborough Community College of CUNY.

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Tak Cheung

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Tak Cheung, Ph.D., professor of physics, teaches in CUNY Queensborough Community College. He also conducts research and mentors student research projects.

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Vazgen Shekoyan

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Dr. Vazgen Shekoyan is a professor of physics and his experiences include pedagogy, CubeSat, etc.

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Working memory utilization improvement strategies in a flipped class environment, where the lowest cognitive level equals memorization in the Bloom’s taxonomy, have been implemented for helping the learning of physics in engineering and technology ESL students. The transitions to the various upper levels in the Bloom’s taxonomy pyramid, shown in the Vanderbilt flipped class webpage (, have been emphasized with graphical reasoning together with Google Translate technology assisted thinking. The keywords in the Bloom’s taxonomy verb chart in University of Arkansan Innovation and Pedagogy Support webpage ( have been found to be useful for lecture learning and lab report writing as well. The recent discovery that a studied group consisting of physics learning engineering Hispanic students in an urban university would use episodic memory, in addition to the expected use of the semantic memory, has been applied to the teaching of Chinese heritage ESL engineering and technology students in an urban community college in New York City. The assessment results showed an improved working memory utilization when the students were encouraged to use their mother-tongues in recalling the episodic memory. The strategic use of mother-tongue in terms of cognitive offloading and working memory utilization in the learning of physics by engineering and technology ESL students is discussed.

Dehipawala, S., & Cheung, T., & Shekoyan, V. (2018, October), Assessment of working memory utilization improvement strategies for engineering and technology ESL students learning physics Paper presented at 2018 Mid Atlantic Section Fall Meeting, Brooklyn Technical High School, Brooklyn, New York, New York. 10.18260/1-2--31446

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