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Continuum of Strategies Essay

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This paper will discuss Chapter 5 and the continuum of strategies using the SIOP model and the appropriate situations to use each within the classroom. It will also discuss when these strategies may be used inappropriately in the classroom.In research literature, learning strategies of three types have been identified, which are cognitive strategies, meta-cognitive strategies, and social/affective strategies. Cognitive strategies assist students in organizing information through learning that is self-regulated. Meta-cognitive strategies use awareness, interaction, and reflection in a manner that is interrelated, integrated, and recursive.

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Social/Affective Strategies are affective and social influences on learning. Enhanced learning is possible when people interact with each other to clarify their doubts or when they involve themselves in group related activities to solve a problem (Echevarria et al, 2000).

During the process of teaching learning, a continuum of strategies occurs from teacher-centered, teacher-assisted, peer-assisted, and student-centered. Through practice with student-centered and peer-assisted strategies, students’ ultimate goal is to develop independence in self-regulation and self-monitoring. However, difficulties are faced by several English learners in initiating an active role in using these strategies. This happens because English learners are required to focus their mental energy on language skills development. It is therefore important that sheltered instruction teachers scaffold English learners by providing them with numerous opportunities to use a wide range of proven, effective strategies (Echevarria et al, 2000).Consider a common sheltered instruction classroom scenario, where a topic is being taught by a teacher. For example, assume that the topic is conservation and preservation of terrestrial resources.

A teacher could model and teach several important processing strategies by engaging students in the SQP2RS/Squeepers activity for the expository text selection that include evaluation, self-questioning, prediction, monitoring and clarifying, and summarizing. A teacher could then lead students through the modeled activity, providing support for surveying text, question generation, predictions confirmation or disconfirmation, and information summarization. Added to this, 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 (Echevarria et al, 2000). 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.Teaching of strategies to students by a teacher can happen in an inappropriate manner if a teacher asks students to make predictions based on the topic title, does not probe into student responses to encourage deeper thinking about the topic, does not ask for other predictions, or does not reinforce and build upon other students’ predictions during the reading of text from the topic.

It is often the case that teachers ask students for predictions, accept the responses, and move on further with the topic without actually expanding or revisiting them later in their instruction (Echevarria et al, 2000). Strategies can be used inappropriately if a teacher attempts to scaffold student learning by reading the entire topic orally to the students or by making students read the topic title together. This significantly reduces demands of reading the text. If a teacher reads all of the topic text aloud to the students, then gradual support reduction will not take place, thus making students less likely to become independent.

In situations where higher order thinking skills need to applied, strategies could be used inappropriately if a teacher fails to incorporate adequate questioning strategies to engage the thinking of students, probe student predictions for reasons behind their conclusions, or promote inquiry skills in students. Strategies may also be inappropriately used in the classroom if teachers involve students in activities that are removed from the topic at hand.The chances of English learners turning into critical thinkers can be increased by sheltering instruction consistently through strategic teaching, modeling, appropriate scaffolding support, and questions that require students to apply, interpret, and synthesize what they have learned.


Echevarria, J., Vogt, M.E., & Short, D. (2000). Making contentcomprehensible for English language learners: TheSIOP model. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

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