A strategy is a series of steps that we use to more quickly or effectively perform a specific task. We are always using strategies. In fact, we use them so automatically that most of the time we’re not even aware that we’re doing it. Strategies allow students to use the knowledge they already possess—to complete an assignment or to accomplish a goal.
Something to Consider
Strategies are like tools; they make a job easier. For example, can you lift your car? Of course you can! It is simple: All you need is a jack. But many students are in the position of being asked to perform an academic task without having the proper tools or knowing how to use them.
Characteristics of Strategic Learners
Characteristics of Non-strategic Learners
Able to analyze a problem and develop a plan
Able to organize multiple goals and switch flexibly from simple to more complicated goals
Access their background knowledge and apply it to novel tasks
Develop new organizational or procedural strategies as the task becomes more complex
Use effective self-regulated strategies while completing a task
Attribute high grades to their hard work and good study habits
Review the task-oriented-goals and determine whether they have been met
Unorganized, impulsive, unaware of where to begin an assignment
Unaware of possible steps to break the problem into a manageable task, possibly due to the magnitude of the task
Exhibit problems with memory
Unable to focus on a task
Experience feelings of frustration, failure, or anxiety
Attribute failure to uncontrollable factors (e.g., luck, teacher’s instructional style)
Listen to Steve Graham talk about using strategic behavior (time: 0:26).
Steve Graham, EdD Division of Educational Leadership and Innovation, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona
Strategic behavior helps you approach a task in a thoughtful, planful, and reflective way, providing you with the cognitive steps to get the job done in each of the academic domains, whether that’s a strategy for reading comprehension, whether that’s a strategy for writing persuasive text, or whether it’s a strategy for doing a long division problem. It helps you know what to do first, second, third.