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Teaching Four Study Skills

One of teachers most important functions as educators is helping students improve their ability to learn by instructing them in study skill strategies (Klausmeier, 1991). The purpose of this paper is to explain and discuss the following four study skills and the common ways teachers apply these in the classroom: (1) Outlining; (2) Readability; (3) Memory Devices; and (4) Learning Logs.

Teachers instruct students in outlining as a study skill through both: a) modeling the behavior (such as when they outline a lecture they are presenting on the chalkboard or provide students with written outlines of materials they are going to cover in the class) and b) through formal instructional processes (Ornstein & Hunkins, 1993). Although no evaluations have been conducted of the instructional efficacy of modelling outlining, there has been some research examining the effectiveness of formal instruction in outlining.

For example, one instructional plan for teaching the reading study skill of outlining involves ten days of instruction for a thirty minute period in how to outline various reading passages. The plan teaches students three categories of outlining: (1) title/main topic selection and format; (2) subtopic selection and format; and (3) detail selection and format. (Bianco & McCormick, 1989).

Evaluative data collected on the use of this formal instructional approach to teaching outlining---collected using a sample of high school students 15 to 17 years of age---found that students' outlining skills not only increased but the increase was maintained at both four and eight week follow-ups. It was also found that students increased their performances on tasks used to assess the generalization of this study skill (Bianco & McCormick, 1989).

Outlining is sometimes referred to as a form of freewriting; other forms might include summarizing presented information into small paragraphs covering basic themes. It has been found t...

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