Learning-Strategies Research (page 3)
As discussed in Chapter 1, the metacognitive perspective has been the most influential perspective for research during the last several years. This perspective stressed the lack of involvement with the educational task in children with learning disabilities. In response to this perspective, various researchers began to develop a set of metacognitive strategies that enable the student to participate in the task in a more active fashion. Two types of metacognitive intervention strategies were developed—those that focused on an acronym representing the steps in the strategy and those that did not.
Learning strategies involving the use of acronyms to structure inner language were associated initially with Donald Deshler and his associates at the University of Kansas Learning Disabilities Institute (Boudah, Lenz, Bulgren, Schumaker, & Deshler, 2000; Deshler, 2006; Schumaker & Deshler, 2003). The strategies specified the steps for an adolescent student with learning disabilities to go through when completing specific tasks. These steps formed the basis of inner language for the student to use when completing the task. The acronym itself was to be memorized. Interest Box 11.1 presents the RIDER learning strategy. When applied in a consistent classwide or schoolwide fashion, this -learning-strategies approach can greatly enhance learning (Lenz, 2006).
Since the earliest development of strategies, a number of these strategies have been developed for various types of tasks. Strategies have been developed for reading a paragraph, completing a multiple-choice test, reading a chapter in a subject-content area, studying captions under the pictures in a secondary text, and many other specific learning tasks.
SLANT is one example of a learning strategy intended for use on a specific learning task—note-taking (Ellis, 1991). SLANT is an acronym for the steps a student should go through in effective note-taking: S—Sit up; L—Lean forward; A—Activate your thinking; N—Name key information; and T—Track the talker. The student memorizes these steps and is given repeated practice in implementing each step. Time spent on this strategy will enhance a student's note-taking skills.
Test-taking skills represent one area in which students with learning disabilities often have problems. The SCORER strategy was developed to help students learn how to take multiple-choice tests. The acronym for this strategy is straightforward: S—Schedule your time; C—Clue word use; O—Omit difficult questions; R—Read carefully; E—Estimate your answers; R—Review your work. Research has indicated that this strategy can improve the test-taking skills of secondary students with learning disabilities.
A great deal of research has been conducted on learning strategies, including much recent research on word decoding, reading, and literacy (Archer et al., 2003; Deshler, 2006; Schumaker & Deshler, 2003; Whitaker et al., 2006). For example, Whitaker and her co-workers recently developed a strategy called FISH to assist students in decoding words at the elementary level. In this strategy, F indicates the student should "Find the rhyme," which means they should identify the vowel, vowel sound, and the remaining sounds of the word. I suggests the student should "Identify the rhyme or word that ends with that sound." S means the child should "Say the rhyme," and H tells the child to "Hook the new onset (or beginning sound) to the rhyme." By applying this new learning strategy, using the same steps described above, the authors demonstrated in an action research project that students could not only learn to recognize rhymes directly taught and decode words involving those rhymes, but could also transfer this knowledge to rhymes that were not specifically taught using the FISH learning strategy. Thus, this learning strategy provided those children with a word-decoding strategy for simple word recognition.
As you can see, the array of tasks that can be addressed by strategy instruction is wide and includes many of the tasks that students with learning disabilities will have to perform to be successful in school (Lenz, 2006).
Teaching Tips: RIDER (A learning strategy to improve reading comprehension)
A learning strategy consists of an acronym that indicates the actions a student is supposed to take while completing the educational task. A sample learning strategy is the RIDER strategy, which enables students to form visual images of material while they read in order to enhance recall and reading comprehension.
Read Read the first sentence. Image Make an image of the material read. Describe Describe your image—(1) If you cannot describe it, explain why. (2) If you can make an image, compare it to the earlier image (from earlier sentences). (3) Describe the image to yourself. Evaluate Evaluate your image for completeness. Check to see that your image includes as much of the information as possible, and if it is complete, move on. Repeat Repeat the earlier steps for the next sentence.
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