Analysis of educational setting, teacher training, and the modeling and instruction of metacognitive strategies for students with learning disabilities in Jewish day schools
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Employment of metacognitive strategies has been documented as a key factor in academic success. For students with learning disabilities (LD), however, exposure to these strategies is crucial to both their academic and social growth. While there has been much research demonstrating the importance of modeling metacognitive strategies for students with LD, there is little research available to identify key variables associated with effective instruction and modeling of these strategies. The purpose of the current study is to help examine a number of variables that heretofore have not been thoroughly researched in regards to their association with effective metacognitive instruction. Although several subvariables were identified within each of the major categories, the three primary areas of focus were classroom setting (i.e. self-contained vs. general education), teacher training, and actual modeling and instruction of metacognitive strategies in the classroom. The Modeling Metacognitive Strategies Questionnaire (MMSQ) was distributed to 129 teachers who were teaching in a variety of classroom settings. In addition to the background section, the MMSQ includes a 45 item survey that measures the following 6 concepts across a 5 point scale. The survey focused on the teachers' beliefs (BE), attitudes (AT) and actual modeling and instruction (MI) of three specific metacognitive strategies including reflection (RE), self-monitoring (SM), and planning/organization (PO). The results demonstrated that although there is no significant difference regarding the degree to which metacognitive strategies are instructed and modeled between those teachers who have earned master's degrees in education and those who have not, teachers who had attended professional development seminars targeting the modeling and instruction of metacognitive strategies were more likely to actually instruct accordingly than those who had not attended such seminars. Additionally, teachers who instructed in a self-contained special education setting were significantly more likely to model and instruct (MI) metacognitive strategies, including reflection (RE) and planning and organization (PO) than teachers who taught in other types of educational settings. This means that, despite the myriad of benefits of students with LD learning in a general education setting, in the current study, they were more likely to be exposed to the instruction and modeling of metacognitive strategies in a self-contained classroom and with teachers who have received targeted instruction in metacognitive strategies. One of the important implications of the current study is that amongst the many educational and social variables to be considered when determining an appropriate educational placement for students with LD, particular attention should be paid to variables that impact upon the degree to which these students will be exposed to metacognitive instruction. Additionally, this study highlights the significance of teachers receiving targeted instruction in metacognition so that they are equipped to model accordingly for their students.