& Strategic Teaching
"The obvious is always least understood." ~ Prince Metternich
What does it mean to be a strategic learner?
How do strategic abilities vary across domains and contexts?
What can teachers do to help students become more strategic?
Solve problems or tasks
Understand and remember what we hear
Maintain focus and motivation
Comparing the Quality of Strategic Thinking
Set out simply to get the job done.
Get right to the task of problem solving.
Have little sense of which strategies work best in given situations.
Rarely modify or transform the strategies they use.
Have a limited repertoire of strategies on which to draw.
Let the strategic process run its course.
Seek the most effective & efficient means to complete a task.
Analyze the situation or task well before acting.
Have conditional knowledge for implementing strategies
See strategies as blueprints to be modified & personalized.
Have a rich array of general & specific strategies for various tasks & situations.
Become invested & monitor their performance.
Myths about Strategies
Strategic thinking is skillful performance
Good strategic thinking develops naturally
An individual is equally strategic in all domains
There is little that teachers can do to help their students become
Strategic Thinking Is More than Skillful
Strategies and Skills
Forms of procedural knowledge
Involve a sequence of actions to attain a cognitive goal
Academic success requires students to exhibit both strategic and skillful behavior.
Routinized or habitualized procedures
Generally operate at an unconscious level
Are conscious and purposeful actions learners implement when faced with obstacles to
Good Strategic Thinking Needs
to be Nurtured
Characteristics of Effective Strategic Thinking
Efficiency and Effectiveness
Conditional Strategy Knowledge
Personalization and Modification of Strategies
Extensive Strategic Repertoire
Capturing & Retaining Information
Underlining or Highlighting
Sorting & Categorizing
Method of Loci
Comprehending & Recalling Text
Identifying Important Ideas
Elaborate for YOURSELF!
Which general strategies would be most appropriate for YOUR
Which strategies do you use?
Were you taught them?
What are some of the Domain-Specific Strategies in your Subject
Strategic Thinking Varies Across Domains and
Social Contextual Forces
Availability of Nonhuman Educational Resources
Typical Problems and Strategic Emphases
Interaction with Learner Characteristics
Teachers Can Help Students Become More Strategic
Demonstrate the power of strategic thinking.
Make strategic thinking an explicit part of the classroom
Integrate instruction on strategies with academic content in
practical & meaningful ways.
Concentrate on a few fundamental strategies at a time, & teach
Teachers Can Help Students Become More Strategic
Prompt and scaffold students’ strategic efforts.
Encourage the personalization and modification of strategic processing.
Foster individual goals, self-regulation, & self-evaluation.
Allow sufficient time & incentives for strategic thinking.
Look to students as sources & models of strategic processing.
Strategy Example: Improving Memory with
Mental technique used to help remember information. At the simplest level rehearsal
involves repeating information over and over until it is memorized.
Types (see next slide for details)
To memorize information
Maintenance – primarily used for short-term memorization.
Elaborative – used for long-term memorization
Continuous repetition of the material to be remembered.
Typically uses rote repetition, either out loud or silently in head
Effective for short-term memory and for maintaining relatively
small amounts in memory for brief periods, (e.g., phone number
from information) but is not likely to affect retention in the long
Involves the association of new material with information that already exists in
long-term memory – this leads to the understanding of the material to be learned.
Examples of Elaborative Rehearsal
Generate personal examples to illustrate concepts or principles
Join a study group that will provide an opportunity for rehearsal with other learners.
Involve yourself in discussions or arguments about the topics to be retained – this enriches
the meaningfulness of the subject matter.
Try explaining the concept to a friend – this tests your understanding AND engages you in
Involves repetition of information by adding a new items or idea
to the list as each round of repetition is used.
round 1: a is for apple,
round 2: a is for apple, b is for bear
round 3: a is for apple, b is for bear, c is for cat;
round 4 a is for …
This is often experience in “name games”
Links to Rehearsal Strategy Sites
Encyclopedia type entry explaining rehearsal as a memory strategy – gives a good overview of
the topic in about 2 paragraphs.
Maintenance vs. elaborative rehearsal – offers a memory self-test and compares the two types of
Maintenance rehearsal – explains what maintenance rehearsal is and applies it to children.
Memory development – presents a course outline for information on memory development and
discusses two types of rehearsal strategies.
4 step strategy – presents a study of rehearsal training for children with Down syndrome.