What is study skills instruction?
- Study skills instruction involves
teaching students to utilize a process for thinking about thinking,
usually in steps. It requires students to "recognize, recall,
and execute" the particular steps in the study skill or strategy.
By mastering these skills, students are equipped with the tools
to ‘learn how to learn.’ This is called metacognition.
- Study skills encompass the capabilities
for acquiring, recording, organizing, synthesizing, remembering
and using information and ideas.
- Study skills include many behaviors
that pertain to various school- and home-related situations. These
to learn (e.g., personal discipline, organizational skills,
attitude, ability to self-monitor), how
do learners acquire knowledge (e.g., listening, note taking,
outlining, and organizing), and applying
knowledge (e.g., test-taking, writing, remembering, and self-monitoring).
Why is study skills instruction
- Education researchers such as
Gordon Alley, Candace S. Bos, and Donald Deshler, have found that
in order for students to achieve in the classroom, they must use
effective strategies for learning and retaining information.
- Not surprisingly, students with
learning and behavior problems have difficulty developing these
skills. They often use a limited range of strategies, are inflexible
in their approach to studying, and fail to make the connection
between using effective study skills and academic achievement.
- Too often students reach high
school with very limited internal resources; often they lack the
ability to learn how to learn.
- Students with effective study
skills are more likely to feel competent and confident about their
ability to learn. This leads to better attitudes about schoolwork.
- Study skills help prepare students
for lifelong learning — not just academic learning. Specific skills
such as organizing, listening, and retaining information can be
applied in a variety of settings and situations, such as when
applying for a job or planning errands. It is therefore important
for teachers to make students aware of the various types of study
skills and their benefits.
What type of student can benefit
from study skills instruction?
- Those students who are most in
need of study skills are typically those with mild disabilities
or learning problems. These students often have difficulty monitoring
their study habits and staying organized.
- Students who are transitioning
into middle or high school, and must adjust to a new workload.
They may find that their previously-used skills are not sufficient
for their new learning tasks.
What obstacles have kept study
skills from being taught explicitly?
- Ironically, middle school teachers
face their own time management challenges when they wish to fit
instruction regarding study skills or learning strategies into
their already busy schedules. Often teachers are pressed
to meet state and district curriculum standards and objectives,
which may not include study skills instruction. Understandably,
many focus on teaching content rather than strategies, hoping
or believing that their students have either already acquired
such skills, or that they will somehow learn them as they go along.
This is rarely the case.
- Many teachers and parents assume
that students acquire effective study skills either on their own,
or through schooling. Unfortunately, while most researchers agree
that study skills are prerequisites to school success, they are
incorporated into a formalized, structured curriculum infrequently.
What does research tell us about
effective study skills instruction?
- In addition, teachers can use
and Tips outlined in this link to help students assess their
skills, plan and monitor goals, and develop a system for improving
- It is important for teachers to
provide explicit instruction regarding learning strategies and
study skills to students with learning and behavioral disorders.
Such instruction may be woven into content-based lessons. The
most effective strategies for these students are general, can
apply to a relatively
broad spectrum of learning contexts, and are straightforward.
are the goals for teaching study skills and other strategy instruction?
study skills training will help students process information. There
are four desired goals teachers should keep in mind when teaching
and using these interventions.
improve background knowledge
This will help students because a key component in the learning
process is connecting new ideas to what one already knows. The
more familiarity a student has with a subject or concept, the
larger is the foundation for building new knowledge. Also, the
better students become at reflecting on their prior knowledge,
the more active they become in the learning process.
develop or enhance schemata
This will help students by assisting them in building frameworks
and structures for learning. These organized learning methods
help students obtain knowledge by empowering them to create space
for new information that connects with previous concept and a
student's experience. This way, information is clearer and easier
To increase metacognition
This will help students become actively and consistently involved
in their own learning, by engaging in planning, monitoring, and
controlling the learning process. Learning is very personal, and
students must reflect on their own strengths and weaknesses as
learners in order to develop effective ways to improve the process.
(Wood, Woloshyn, & Willoughby, 1995).
implement learning strategies
Students will benefit most from study skills and strategy instruction
methods when they have opportunities to apply them in their learning
at school and at home. Learners must generalize the use of learning
strategies across a variety of environments and situations if
they are to become active and independent learners.
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