We will focus our discussion on the development of

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Unformatted text preview: cedures (strategies) to the acquisition of new declarative knowledge. The ability to transfer strategies effectively during learning is 33 a component of the extremely important problem solving involved in learning how to learn. Cognitive Strategy Instruction Cognitive strategy instruction is the overall process of helping students to develop appropriate ways to solve problems. We will focus our discussion on the development of cognitive strategies for improving students’ ability to learn in classrooms. We will organize this discussion around a number of key questions. What is a cognitive strategy? A cognitive strategy is a plan of action that is relevant for solving problems (Reed, Hresko, & Swanson, 1996). It helps students know when to do what in order to manage a range of activities better (Perkins, Simmons, & Tishman, 1990). A cognitive strategy may be as specific as creating a diagram of a story problem, or as complicated as a multi-step process students go through as they study for a test. Also, strategies should not be equated with skills or algorithms, but instead should be considered examples of heuristics (Duffy & Roehler, 1989; Rosenshine & Meister, 1992). An algorithm is a rule or procedure for solving a problem that when properly applied always solves the problem. The term typically applies to mathematical procedures, but may also include routine operations or skills in other areas of performance. Some examples of algorithms are: • The Pythagorean Theorem, • Medical tests to detect the presence of antibodies associated with a specific disease and • Computer diagnostics performed by a mechanic on a modern automobile, 34 The disadvantage of algorithms is that typically they are only applicable to a narrow range of specific types of problems. For instance, from the above list, learning to use a computer to diagnose a automotive problem will not work if you are trying to repair a 1964 Chevy. Clearly teaching learners the algorithms used by experts may improve their performance when faced with a specific type of problem, but will not improve the learners’ general reasoning or problem-solving ability. A heuristic is a flexible problem solving approach that must be adapted to the demands of the problem-solving situation. For example, the skillful use of the scientific method requires a flexible application of these steps to solve different types of problems, or a particular textbook reading strategy may need to be used differently for different types of text. When experts are faced with novel or atypical problems, they resort to the use of heuristics (Perkins and Salomon, 1989). Examples of some of the heuristics used by experts include: • Find a problem that you know how to solve, that is analogous to the novel problem, • Simplify the novel problem by breaking it into parts or simplifying some to the variables, or • Draw a picture of the situation that shows the important relationships among the elements of the problem. Why is cognitive strategy instruction important? To be effective, selfregulating learners need to have a variety of strategies and a good understanding of how, where, and why...
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This document was uploaded on 03/29/2014 for the course EPS 324 at N. Arizona.

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