|Seven Instructional Strategies Every Teacher Ought to Know, Part 6: Study Skills|
|posted by: Melissa | July 14, 2016, 02:28 PM|
Over the past few weeks, we’ve been focusing on a series of blogs about seven essential teaching strategies as identified by the IES. Most of these strategies have focused on the teacher making small adjustments to practices that they likely already do that have been proven to be powerful motivators of student improvement.
What we’re focusing on today is not so much of a teaching strategy as it is a subject. It’s a subject that should be woven into every class and every unit from elementary to high school. Today, we’re encouraging teachers to focus on teaching study skills.
This will inevitably lead to the question, “What is meant when you teach study skills?” In answer to this, there are three things that students need to know and do so that they can study independently. First, as discussed elsewhere, students need to know how to space their studying out, so that when they sit down at a study session, they are looking at material they learned a while back and not material that they just learned. Second, students need to be able to adequately judge what they do and do not know while looking at potential test questions. If students can’t judge what they know accurately, they do not know what material they should be spending their study time on. These are the skills that teachers need to focus on.
While it may seem that students should instinctively know what they do and don’t know, studies have shown that students actually need to be trained in this very valuable skill. As always, the IES has some suggestions on how to do this. They identify the following method as being the best practice in teaching study skills. First, teachers need to set aside time in class for this. Teachers are often reluctant to do this because of how valuable class time is, but this is one of those skills that once taught will pay dividends through the rest of the school year and the students’ lives, so it shouldn’t be ignored.
Second, during this study session, the teacher should provide the students with quiz questions that may appear on the test. Instead of answering the question outright, the students should be asked to guess how likely they think they are to get the question right. Only after students have made that guess, should the teacher show them the correct answer.
Third, after the teacher has repeated this strategy several times, they should switch to only showing the students the questions without the answers, and start to help students use this strategy as a way to identify study topics.
Finally, as in most teaching techniques, the teacher should then take a step back and allow the students to practice this strategy on their own during class time or study halls.
Using this technique, the teacher can help students learn how to identify the material that they do and do not know adequately and through that teach them how to conduct independent study sessions.