For education to be effective, there are strategies that enhance teaching and learning activities. Both learning and teaching strategies are known as education strategies. These are activities that teachers incorporate in class to help students understand whatever they are learning. I have chosen this topic in order to carry out research and analyze certain strategies and understand their effectiveness and potential. This paper analyses some learning strategies. It investigates the way they function as well as assesses their effectiveness.
Educational literature is rich in materials concerning learning strategies.
Wide research has been conducted concerning the use of classroom strategies of cooperative learning. According to research, students’ ability to retain information is higher and longer under the influence of cooperative learning. Students then tend to develop critical thinking skills. They build their communication skills as well. Cooperative learning has many benefits to students, though the listed ones are just a few.
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Studies reveal that children can only improve their reading skills if they practice this activity daily. Elementary students need specific well-developed strategies of teaching for them to improve their ability to read.
There are many strategies that work well for students. These are important strategies which help elementary students to learn how to read. The first one is called the word wall. In simple language, the word wall refers to a list of a category of words that have been taught in class. These words are displayed on a wall in class. The students in the elementary class have direct reference to when they are instructed, or any other time across any day at school (Hollowell, 2013). Word walls enable students to have quick access to words they need to remember any time by just checking the wall. Word walls are very effective and can be used all the year round.
One more strategy mentioned in educational literature, which is employed to aid elementary students to learn read effectively, is the word families. This is a vital element in the school of learning. This kind of knowledge helps learners to decode words based on the words’ patterns as well as their sounds. As soon as students get acquainted with the thirty-seven most general groups, they gain the ability to decode other tones of words. This helps children to recognize and then analyze the patterns of words based on the word family and groups of words, which are common.
Another strategy of teaching involves graphic organizers. Graphic organizers help children to organize their thinking through classifying ideas, and also in brainstorming. The materials children use in learning are presented in the form of graphics. This strategy is designed to make children organize ideas easily for faster and improved comprehension. The tool of graphic organizers aids teachers to make a quick analysis of the thinking skills of their students.
The next strategy is the repeated strategy of learning. This method simply means reading a given text many times, so much so that there are zero errors in the reading. The teacher can allow individual students or groups of learners to do the repeated learning. Initially, educators deemed that this strategy was specifically designed to help those children who had learning problems, but it was, later on, discovered that it was of great help to all the learners in the elementary schools (Milkova, 2011).
Another strategy mentioned in the relevant literature is called the phonic strategy. The teacher makes use of texts with rhymes; later he/she discusses the rhymes heard inside the reading with students. Teachers can also allow students to change or add their own rhymes. Then learners receive books that contain alteration and they try to identify and form their own alterations through brainstorming. The teacher also employs assorted words placed on cards. Students are divided into small groups. Then the teacher asks them to sort the different words into groups according to certain patterns, explaining to them the procedure at hand so that they may know the pattern they need to sort first. This strategy helps children to be able to identify items in pronunciation such as open and closed syllables.
The next strategy discussed in the literature is the multisensory teaching strategy. This strategy works on a simple principle that there are many students who capture easily what they are taught when the learning material they are presented with is in different modalities. This method of learning is a combination of a number of activities; movement and touch alongside what people see (vision) and hearing sense to aid learners in reading, writing and spelling (Hollowell, 2013).
The reading reluctant strategy is also one of the methods used in elementary classes. Generally, there are students who like reading while others do not like it at all. There are many factors which make students be reluctant in reading; the book to be read may be too complicated for the student to read, there may not be even the least encouragement from parents to the learner to read or students may have no interest in what they are reading. Thus, teachers have to develop a reading culture among students. This will encourage them and finally make those who are reluctant in reading love it. One may achieve this by creating activities that make learning fun. This includes being creative as a teacher and employing techniques that motivate students so that they can love reading.
I agree with most of the points in the readings since these points have been come to after thorough research. However, some points need further development and clarification. For instance, I wonder how exactly the reading strategy functions. I doubt its effectiveness in the real world. This is because reading in various environments is very distractive. The phonics strategy resonated with me. So far I have seen phonics strategy work for many students in different learning environments. The point of reading reluctant strategy needs more clarification to help people understand how it functions. Without understanding this point, the strategy does not seem that effective. If it is clarified, it will be easy to put it into practice. Educational psychology argues that different people have different abilities and interests. This affects their rate of learning (District Administration, 2005). Therefore, it recommends that each individual should learn through activities that will assist them to understand easily. That way, educational psychology helps me understand the various strategies recommended for different situations.
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As an educator, the study helped me understand that difference in students should not be a limiting factor to their performance. Although different students have diverse abilities and interest, it is possible to make the best out of each student (Cox, 2010). Therefore, I will apply these strategies in my career to ensure that all students get the most from the class. For instance:
- For students with a low interest in reading, I will incorporate activities that will make reading more interesting to them.
- For students with difficulties in reading, I will employ cooperative learning. When they read in groups, they will understand quickly.
- For students with difficulties in relating words, I will employ word families in word walls to help them comprehend faster.
In conclusion, it is easy to notice that there exist effective strategies teachers can employ to help students learn better. According to researchers, students with different personalities can benefit from diverse strategies. Although research proves that such strategies could be used in the process of education, one is left wondering how effective they are (Rusbult, 2009). That is: how well do these strategies achieve the intended goal? It also brings in mind the following question: how well can teachers incorporate these strategies in their classrooms? This is yet to be determined in practice. Critics argue that the effectiveness of these strategies depends on individuals teachers. It means it depends on how well an individual teacher can apply certain strategies in the classroom.