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Conceptualizations of strategies in the context of instruction

Many of the issues alluded to in the previous section may be dependent on the context in which strategies are employed. These issues refer to both the domain and social setting within which strategies and strategy use are considered. The second section -Strategies in Action - explores how domain or social setting may change the role of strategies within the broader framework of learning. Strategies and strategy use are considered in the five major academic domains - reading, writing, mathematics, science, and history.

First, Afflerbach et al. (Chapter 7) consider the nature of how strategies and strategic processing both influence the reading situation, as well as how optimal reading strategies can be instructed. Similarly, Graham et al. (Chapter 9) consider domainspecific strategies in writing and how these can be trained. Both of these chapters embed notions of strategy use and their training in contemporary models of reading comprehension (e.g., Kintsch, 2004) and writing (e.g., Graham & Harris, 2006). An important addition to the research on strategy use while reading and writing is undertaken by List (Chapter 8) in her exploration of strategies around multiple text use. The need to employ specific strategies to navigate multiple sources of information is becoming particularly salient with the explosion of information that is prevalent in the age of the Internet and social media. This is especially true as that multitude of information contains conflicting views that the reader must navigate.

Similar explorations of mathematics and science are undertaken by Newton (Chapter 10) and Lombardi and Bailey (Chapter 11) respectively. Given the incredibly broad depth of the field of mathematics, Newton focuses primarily on strategies used to solve algebraic problems and fraction problems - two critical gatekeepers for future mathematical inquiry. Although her chapter focuses on these two areas, we are confident the implications of the chapter could be applied to numerous other areas of mathematical inquiry (e.g., trigonometry) and hopefully give the reader a framework to explore these other areas on their own. Similar to mathematics, the broad range of strategies required across the numerous physical, life, and social science domains are difficult to manage in one chapter. Lombardi and Bailey handle this well by focusing on recent strategies that are common across these sometimes disparate fields - namely, argumentation, science as modeling, and the incorporation of socio-scientific topics to promote strategy use. In the current climate where science is under attack by certain political forces, this chapter provides clear direction with regard to helping the populace use these strategies to better advance science as well as our overall way of life.

While the preceding domains have a richer history of strategies and strategy instruction, De La Paz and Nokes (Chapter 12) tackle strategies in the domain of history. These authors discuss the intertwined nature of historical inquiry with both the domains of reading and writing. However, as they astutely point out, historians must possess particular strategies that enable them to engage in historical thinking that reaches beyond just those who read and write text. For instance, being able to generate interpretations and knowledge claims are considered a central strategy for historians to have at their disposal.

Next in this section is a primer for understanding how learners’ individual differences may influence their strategy use and ultimately their learning outcomes. Taboada Barber, Lutz Klauda, and Cartwright (Chapter 13) explore how language proficiency and atypical reading development (i.e., students with reading comprehension deficits) may influence strategy use. Their key argument is to examine these issues in relation to executive function (i.e., working memory, inhibition, and cognitive flexibility). While they situate this exploration primarily within the domain of reading, we believe this framework could be used equally well to explore strategy use and individual differences across multiple domains and contexts.

However, task completion and problem solving are not always so easily broken down into a single domain or context. Baars, Wijnia, de Bruin, and Pass (Chapter 14) discuss how working across individuals in social settings as well as across domain barriers can be best conceptualized and facilitated. Using an SRL framework, these authors provide the reader with strategies - at the cognitive, metacognitive, and self-regulatory levels -to cope with complex, dynamic problems.

Winne (Chapter 15) takes on the difficult task of trying to synthesize strategy use and training across these multitudes of domains, contexts, and individual differences. Winne provides a framework - situated within self-regulated learning - to tie together these otherwise disparate chapters. This insightful synthesis will no doubt go far in helping the reader construct for themselves a more global view of strategies and strategy use, whether or not that view is more heavily oriented toward SRL, as Winne would argue, or less so, as the editors here would argue for.

 
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