Teaching Tip: ARTS: An Essential Metacognitive Strategy

With higher education so strongly embracing metacognitive strategies as a method of aiding student success, we’d like to offer a strategy that instructors can use on the first-day of class to help their students learn more deeply and persist to graduation. The first day of class is often either wasted or used to go over basic course information, but selling students on the importance of the ARTS strategy might prove the most valuable piece of instruction during the entire semester.

Attend class. Whether you believe that half of life or 80% of it is merely showing up, you can’t deny the research that student attendance directly correlates with deeper learning. A butt in a seat is more effective than having others take notes. The instructor can facilitate this guideline by always taking attendance, or, better yet, giving a reading quiz/reflection at the beginning of each class.

Read the material. Studies show that college students read on a sixth-grade level, rarely read entire assignments, and when they do read, they are easily distracted, almost never comprehending the entire page. They do not understand critical reading. The instructor can help them by explaining how to find theses in pages and by not overwhelming them with a ridiculous amount of reading for its own sake (in a World Lit class, we average 12 pages of reading per class).

Take notes. Like reading, students have no idea how to take notes. They need to be using indentation and subordination that are of outlining rather than simply trying to take down everything said. The instructor can aid them by 1) being organized and 2) providing a sample page of notes for a class.

Study the material. Once again, neither high school nor college students know how to study; in fact, the average college senior will spend only five hours per week doing so. The instructor can teach students to retrieve. Show them what flashcards (both on paper and the electronic version) are. Explain interleaving. Caution them about the uselessness of simply rereading and cramming.

A(ttending)R(eading)T(aking notes)S(tudying) is a simple, yet effective strategy get the most out of your class.

Submitted by:
Charlie Sweet
Hal Blythe
Rusty Carpenter
Eastern Kentucky University