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At the beginning of this module, you met Mr. Carter, who was
confused about his students' inconsistent performance on their
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assignments. You've had the opportunity to learn about implementing
strategies and how they can help students like Mr. Carter's to
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improve their academic performance. Strategies help students perform
tasks more quickly and efficiently. Years of research have proven
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that strategies can improve the performance of all students,
including students with learning disabilities. Specifically, you
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learned about the six steps used for strategy instruction developed
by Karen Harris and Steve Graham. While each step is important, they
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can be re-ordered or combined. Each step should be practiced and
reviewed along the way. The first step is to assess students'
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background knowledge. Before students can learn a particular
strategy, they must have the necessary skills or knowledge to
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perform the strategy. The second step is to discuss the strategy
with the students. Explain the need for the strategy and how it will
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help. Then explain the strategy to the students. Show them the steps
of the strategy and when and how it will be used. It's critical in
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strategy instruction for the teacher to model the strategy for the
students. In this step, the teacher will help the students to
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understand the thought processes involved in using the strategy and
why the steps of a strategy are performed. Effective modeling can
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demonstrate for students how to become more engaged learners and
thinkers. Students must also master the strategy. They must memorize
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the steps as well as the action that is performed for each step.
Students can practice quizzing each other, or they might even
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play a game to help them commit the strategy to memory. Teachers
must continually support the strategy. We compared this to learning
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to ride a bike. The teacher provides a lot of help in the beginning
as the students are first learning to use the strategy and then
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gradually lets the students perform the strategy more and more on
their own. Finally, students will perform the strategy
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independently. But it's important at this stage that the teacher
continue to monitor students' performance to make sure it's being
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used correctly and is helping students do their work better. You've
learned a great deal about strategy instruction in this module.
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You're ready now to help students like the students in Mr. Carter's
classroom to improve their academic performance. Strategies work
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because they enable students to use their knowledge to perform
tasks. One student with a learning disability once said, "Of course
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now I can write a story, someone showed me how."