Strategies and Secrets for Effective Tertiary Study: Reading, Understanding, and Learning in the Academic Setting

By Ali Wegner and Brendan Bartlett.

Published by The Learner Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This article reports a study in which text structure instruction was provided for student teachers, with the first author teaching a first year university course in communication skills. Participants undertook a pre-intervention task at the first class meeting and a post-intervention task in the final session. Course content included study strategy skills (specifically the metacognitive strategy, top-level structuring [TLSing], and the use of visual organizers associated with TLS to organize and distil information from textbooks and course readers) as a regular part of the teaching-learning curriculum. Students compiled and discussed journal entries about their practice with the newly-acquired strategy to record their own developing procedural know-how and what this meant for their academic work. Comparison of pre- and post-intervention tasks indicated a shift in students’ strategies used and their metalanguage about these strategies. This study confirms earlier findings that learning to identify the organisational structure of text and using that knowledge strategically enhances learners’ metacognition, motivation, and self-confidence. The authors argue that the development of metacognitive skills is critically important and useful where universities espouse development of teacher education students’ own learning skills, and easily accomplished as part of coursework.

Keywords: Metacognition, Teacher Education, University Study, Top-Level Structure, Text Structure, Organization of Text, Reading Comprehension, Reading Recall

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 16, Issue 5, pp.327-346. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.799MB).

Dr. Ali Wegner

Lecturer, College of Education, School of Maori, Social and Cultural Studies, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand

I am a lecturer in the School of Maori, Social and Cultural Studies. I teach in a range of subjects including professional studies, communication skills, and research methods. My research interests include teacher education, metacognition and learning, autism spectrum disorders, cultural identity, working with infants and toddlers, practitioner research, cognitive apprenticeships.

Prof. Brendan Bartlett

Associate Professor, School of Education and Professional Studies, Griffith University, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Brendan is a Gellibrand Scholar, UNICEF Fellow, King Mongkut Medallist and award holder of the Rotary International Certificate for Significant Achievement in Education. He teaches graduate and undergraduate programs in teacher education at Griffith University. He researches how people identify the “big” ideas in texts they create or read and in their everyday homeplace and workplace problems – and how they remember and make sense of such ideas.


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