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Leading Special Education Teachers to Envision Evidence-based Metacognitivist Instructional Strategi

Updated: Jun 6, 2019

Zaid N. Al-Shammari

Kuwait University, Kuwait

The present study intends to inspire special education teachers to envision ways in which to use evidence-based metacognitivist instructional strategies with a higher effect size than 0.4 in inclusive education schools. These evidence-based instructional strategies included: study skills, concept mapping, and reciprocal teaching. Recommendations are presented to address intensive professional development and workshops for special education teachers.

Evidence-based instructional strategies have become a new trend in the education of students with special educational needs and disability (SEND). Studies (see, e.g., Hattie, 2009-2017) have shown that these instructional strategies have positive influences on student learning and achievement. Hattie (2017) provided an effect size (Cohen’s d) for each evidence-based instructional strategy in education. Specifically, Hornby (2014) determined the effect size (Cohen’s d>0.4) for each evidence-based cognitivist instructional strategy that could be most effectively implemented in inclusive education classrooms when teaching students with SEND. These evidence-based cognitivist instructional strategies with effect sizes include: study skills, concept mapping, and reciprocal teaching (Hornby, 2014, 2018; Al-Shammari, 2019A, 2019B).

Each is described below. Study Skills Study skills are a teaching strategy that provides students with useful techniques for learning new materials. Research (see, e.g., Cornford, 2002) has indicated that students who use of study skills strategy develop selfregulatory and procedural skills, which positively influences their achievement. Other research (see, e.g., AlShammari, 2019B) has shown that special education teachers who teach students with SEND in inclusive education schools practiced study skills, including note-taking and representation, at a high level when following evidence-based metacognitivist instructional strategies. According to Chang and Ku (2015), the three essential components of note-taking are: quantity, quality, and representation. The quantity of notes has a direct correlation with higher test scores. The quality of notes taken reflects an understanding of the material. Representation is one way in which students can summarize information and even create concepts maps. All in all, the study skills strategy enables students not only to define, organize, and retrieve concepts, but also facilitates their understanding of how to draw lines and images to convey abstract concepts relating to complex definitions (Terry, 2003).

In addition, the study skills strategy enhances students' in-depth learning, performance, achievement, competence, participation, and interaction in learning activities, and memorization (Al-Shammari, 2019B, p68). Implementation of the study skills strategy varies among inclusive education schools. Students can start by engaging in note-taking, highlighting information, creating a “to do” list, following a schedule, and setting aside time to study/work (Chang & Ku, 2015). For instance, students who are being taught how to take notes in class should learn to condense the original information and extract concepts using critical thinking skills. They should also learn to summarize and use concept mapping to reorganize information. Students who engage in these processes will improve their comprehension and understanding through information integration. In teaching these strategies, special education teachers should first use explicit instruction when teaching study skills and then model ways to engage in note-taking, such as using index cards or concepts maps. Other methods of successfully practicing the study skills strategy in the classroom include: learning study skills (e.g., note-taking, highlighting, and summarizing), and gaining the ability to intensively summarize, extract, and gather original ideas and concepts from the content being studied (Al-Shammari, 2019B, p69).

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