Cognitive Strategy Instruction

Cognitive Strategy
EEX 3257
Core Teaching Strategies
University of FL
Strategy Instruction
Rationale: For students to be successful in
inclusive classrooms and in community
settings, it is imperative that they are taught to
use strategies that help them to successfully
accomplish task demands within those
Strategy Instruction
Strategy instruction is most meaningful
when students see the connection
between the strategy they are learning
and the tasks they are (or will be)
required to perform in general education
Strategy Instruction
Students make the greatest and most
lasting gains in learning and using
strategies when they have opportunities
to apply strategies in authentic (real
world) situations.
Strategy instruction teaches students
HOW to solve problems and HOW to
gather and use information.
Where should strategy
instruction take place?
If the majority of students need
instruction, then the general classroom
is appropriate
Requires a teacher skilled in teaching
Sufficient practice time must be
available in the class schedule
Which students benefit?
All students benefit, but strategy instruction is
especially effective for:
Students at-risk, not in special education
Students with learning disabilities
Students with emotional disorders
Students with cognitive disabilities (mild or
Students with hearing impairments
Definition of Strategy
A set of responses organized to solve a
problem (Swanson, 1993)
An individual’s planful approach to a task
(Putnam, Deshler, and Schumaker, 1993)
3 Concepts Associated with
Strategy Instruction
(1) Cognition: refers to a student’s ability to know what
to do in order to complete a task
(2) Metacognition: refers to a student’s ability to
monitor his performance, and be flexible to change
plans when the task is not being successfully
(3) Problem solving: includes all of the following:
planning, reasoning, selecting relevant information,
and monitoring performance
A Misconception Explained
Teaching students the steps in a
mnemonic is not strategy instruction.
Teaching the steps AND teaching
students how to use those steps
proficiently and strategically is strategy
Strategy instruction requires explicit
Strategy instruction is intensive (daily)
and extensive (minimum of 4 weeks)
It requires extensive practice and
Characteristics Cont.
Students are provided with information
on the usefulness of the strategy
Mastery is required
Students must acquire the ability to use
the strategy independently
Students are taught to self-correct
Students must practice strategy on
controlled material (their reading level)
1. Pretest & Commitment
Select a strategy based on student need.
Pretest students on a task.
Get student buy-in for the new strategy.
Link strategy to meaningful goals
Establish logical linkage to earlier strategy and the
benefits they gained.
Describe different contexts (it could be used for…)
2. Describe
Describe the strategy (what
each step stands for).
Talk about how the steps
are used by people who are
proficient (experts) in use
of that strategy.
3. Model
Demonstrate skilled use
of the strategy.
Use think alouds along
with verbalization of the
Model errors, selfcorrection, and
positive self talk.
4. Verbal Practice
Memorize the steps
(mastery is required!).
Mnemonics are
recommended (keep
working memory capacity in
Graphic strategies might not
require verbal practice.
5. Controlled Practice
w/ feedback
Students USE strategy for the
first time.
EASY content (at or below
current level).
Feedback should progress from
teacher-mediated to studentmediated.
Rubrics could be used for selfevaluation (which is critical
Meet and reteach small groups
of unsuccessful students.
6. Advanced Practice
w/ feedback
Students progress to more
advanced materials.
Feedback continues to
move toward more
Student performance may
decline at first because of
more complex content.
Mastery of strategy use is
required at this stage.
7. Posttest
Use an instrument
similar to pretest to
allow students to see
Show students results
(powerful motivator).
8. Generalization
Use of strategy in other
Students know when,
where, and how to use
strategy and they USE it!
Promote strategy use in
novel situations - extend
beyond your classroom.
Students’ Strategic Behaviors
Goal setting: leads to the development of
strategies to achieve goals
– Knowing oneself (capabilities and
– Making choices (decision making)
– Identifying desired outcomes (product or
performance goals)
– Planning to accomplish goals (process)
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