Cognitive strategy instruction

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Cognitive Strategy Instruction (CSI) is an instructional approach which emphasizes the development of thinking skills and processes as a means to enhance learning. The objective of CSI is to enable all students to become more strategic, self-reliant, flexible, and productive in their learning endeavors (Scheid, 1993). CSI is based on the assumption that there are identifiable cognitive strategies, previously believed to be utilized by only the best and the brightest students, which can be taught to most students (Halpern, 1996). Use of these strategies have been associated with successful learning (Borkowski, Carr, & Pressley, 1987; Garner, 1990).

According to Read (2005):

  • Cognitive Strategy Instruction is effective for a variety of learners, but particularly students with learning disabilities
  • Research shows that students who are actively involved in the education process have better retention, motivation and overall attitudes towards learning.
  • CSI is flexible and can be used in combination with different self-regulation techniques. These techniques would need to be taught explicitly and combined in the modeling, memorizing, supporting, and independent performance stages.
  • It will take a significant investment of time and effort in order to increase student performance to a level, where they are metacognitive and self-regulating

(isolated quotations - DSchneider).




  • Borkowski, J., Carr, M., & Pressely, M. (1987). "Spontaneous" strategy use: Perspectives from metacognitive theory. Intelligence, 11, 61-75.
  • Livingston, Jennifer A. (1977), Metacognition: An Overview HTML (retrieved 11:46, 24 May 2006 (MEST)).
  • Read, Bob (2005). Cognitive Strategy Instruction, UNL, University of Nebraska. retrieved from HTML (15:40, 25 May 2006 (MEST)).
  • Scheid, K. (1993). Helping students become strategic learners: Guidelines for teaching. Cambridge, MA: Brookline Books.