The writers firstly mention that using different strategies makes students’ learning better and they provide several references to support their claim (Echevarria, Vogt & Short, 2004, p. 82). Learning strategies could be defined as mental processes which are used during learning. According to research there are three types of strategies as follows: meta-cognitive strategies, cognitive strategies and social/affective strategies (Echevarria, et. al. , 2004, p. 82).
Meta-cognitive strategies make use of awareness, interaction, and reflection in a way which is interrelated, integrated, and recursive. Cognitive strategies are directly related to each student’s learning and help students in organizing information during self-regulated learning. Social/Affective Strategies are known as social influences and affective on learning (i. e. group work).
Echevarria, et. al. (2004) mention a continuum of strategies which is suggested by Muth and Alvermann (1999, p. 33) and occurs during teaching and learning process from teacher-centered, teacher-assisted, peer-assisted, and student-centered (p. 82-83). Developing independence in self-regulation and self-monitoring are the main goals of student-centered and peer-assisted strategies. But as ELs are required to focus their mental energy on language skills development they might have difficulties in initiating an active role in using these strategies.
Because of that it SI teachers should help ELs by providing different opportunities to use a variety of proven and effective strategies. As an example of use of different opportunities in a SI classroom a teacher could model and teach several important processing strategies by engaging students in the SQP2RS (Surveying, Questioning, Predicting, Reading, Responding, Summarizing) activity for the expository text selection (including evaluation, self-questioning, prediction, monitoring and clarifying, and summarizing).
After that the teacher could lead students through the modeled activity, providing support for surveying text, question generation, predictions confirmation or disconfirmation, and information summarization. Moreover, Vocabulary Self-Collection Strategy (VSS) could be incorporated. VSS helps students in carefully selecting and discussing vocabulary that is important to the studied topic. Scaffolding can be improved by teachers by incorporating a wide range of techniques that provide support with the aim of eventually making students independently apply several strategies.
During topic instruction, a teacher could use grouping configurations including triads, partners, small groups, or the entire class. Modeling of strategies for the students can happen more efficiently if a teacher plans them prior to the time they require application. Choice plays a critical role, so a teacher could encourage students to select important vocabulary and homework questions that interest those most.
Questioning could be incorporated throughout topic instruction, including debate/discussion questions at varied levels like literal, analysis and evaluation, application and synthesis, and synthesis and evaluation. This way, through SQP2RS activity, the difficulty of text could be effectively reduced and at the same time it can be ensured that the cognitive demand of the questions is not reduced. By consistent use of SI through strategic teaching, modeling, appropriate scaffolding support, and questions the chances of English learners turning into critical thinkers can be increased.
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