Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Smarter Strategies for Student Success

Even students who’ve had years of active involvement in learning activities don’t automatically use strategies that best foster learning. However, working smarter through the use of specific success strategies can have a profound influence on learning outcomes. In this article, we share practical strategies teachers can use with students to help them learn smarter and with greater independence.

Explain It to Your Brain

One creative way for teachers to help to get students engaged in the process of developing effective learning strategies is to apply a metaphor we call “explain it to your brain.” Students who use self-explanation tell themselves what they are thinking and doing when learning. This strategy is closely related to metacognition, a characteristic of successful student learning and professional success across careers.

A favorite way to teach this skill is by modeling self-explanation aloud across contexts in the classroom. For example, when working at the board in math class, you might pose a question like, “How might I solve this algebra problem?” Then you could begin to talk through the problem aloud so that students can learn from your modeling how to engage in self-dialogue when problem solving, reading, or performing other learning tasks. After students have experienced your modeling across various examples, give them opportunities to use this strategy aloud too. Over time, the goal is for students to use this tool silently and independently.

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