Cover Image
close this bookTeaching (IAE - IBE - UNESCO, 34 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentThe International Bureau of Education - IBE
View the documentSeries preface
View the documentOfficers of the International Academy of Education
View the documentIntroduction
View the document1. A supportive classroom climate
View the document2. Opportunity to learn
View the document3. Curricular alignment
View the document4. Establishing learning orientations
View the document5. Coherent content
View the document6. Thoughtful discourse
View the document7. Practice and application activities
View the document8. Scaffolding students’ task engagement
View the document9. Strategy teaching
View the document10. Co-operative learning
View the document11. Goal-oriented assessment
View the document12. Achievement expectations
View the documentConclusion
View the documentReferences
View the documentThe International Academy of Education

9. Strategy teaching

The teacher models and instructs students in learning and self-regulation strategies.

Research findings

General learning and study skills as well as domain-specific skills (such as constructing meaning from text, solving mathematical problems or reasoning scientifically) are most likely to be learned thoroughly and become accessible for application if they are taught as strategies to be brought to bear purposefully and implemented with metacognitive awareness and self-regulation. This requires comprehensive instruction that includes attention to prepositional knowledge (what to do), procedural knowledge (how to do it) and conditional knowledge (when and why to do it). Strategy teaching is especially important for less able students who otherwise might not come to understand the value of consciously monitoring, self-regulating and reflecting upon their learning processes.

In the classroom

Many students do not develop effective learning and problem-solving strategies on their own but can acquire them through modelling and explicit instruction from their teachers. Poor readers, for example, can be taught reading comprehension strategies such as keeping the purpose of an assignment in mind when reading; activating relevant background knowledge; identifying major points in attending to the outline and flow of content; monitoring understanding by generating and trying to answer questions about the content; or drawing and testing inferences by making interpretations, predictions and conclusions. Instruction should include not only demonstrations of and opportunities to apply the skill itself but also explanations of the purpose of the skill (what it does for the learner) and the occasions on which it would be used.

Strategy teaching is likely to be most effective when it includes cognitive modelling: the teacher thinks out loud while modelling use of the strategy. Cognitive modelling makes overt the otherwise covert thought processes that guide use of the strategy in a variety of contexts. It provides learners with first-person language (‘self talk’) that they can adapt directly when using the strategy themselves. This eliminates the need for translation that is created when instruction is presented in the impersonal third-person language of explanation or even the second-person language of coaching.

In addition to strategies used in particular domains or types of assignments, teachers can model and instruct their students in general study skills and learning strategies such as rehearsal (repeating material to remember it more effectively), elaboration (putting material into one’s own words and relating it to prior knowledge), organization (outlining material to highlight its structure and remember it), comprehension monitoring (keeping track of the strategies used to construct understandings and the degree of success achieved with them, and adjusting strategies accordingly), and affect monitoring (maintaining concentration and task focus, and minimizing performance anxiety and fear of failure).

When providing feedback as students work on assignments and when leading subsequent reflection activities, teachers can ask questions or make comments that help students to monitor and reflect on their learning. Such monitoring and reflection should focus not only on the content being learned, but also on the strategies that the students are using to process the content and solve problems. This will help the students to refine their strategies and regulate their learning more systematically.

References: Meichenbaum & Biemiller (1998); Pressley & Beard El-Dinary (1993); Weinstein & Mayer (1986).