In the wake of research and comparison discoveries of the accomplishment levels of American students vs. students abroad has revealed a rift between American potential for the claiming of the title of most-educated country and the reality of such a pursuit. America lags behind other developed nations and even some developing nations in regard to student proficiency levels in reading and content understanding.
The recent shift in educational focus by the United States federal government is a tell-tale sign of daily losses incurred by insufficient or disconnected teaching strategies. The government is vetting the system and finding that strategies are irrelevant, pushed by corporate opportunists and failing the nation’s children. In efforts to realize the goal of most-educated nation had become and remains paramount to the previous governmental administration and the current federal regime. As a result pressure ensues and school officials are pressured to produce better test scores and students skilled in reading in general.
Because of this pressure student proficiency in reading has become a burden of the classroom teacher. However, these men and women are not stranded without resource. There are systems available to help teachers build students in confidence and skill in the area of content literacy. Sufficient programs will include effective strategies for assessing student proficiency, ways in which to elevate students at different levels and accountable tracking methods to assure learning and improvement rates. While a plethora of resources is available to teachers online, scholarly packages from reputable providers is best. The cause for reading proficiency in American students has garnered the research and discovery on national levels over several decades.
The following statement is a confident implication based on scholarly and field research concerning learning patterns and student abilities to comprehend. This statement was made in 1990. “The following pages give sample templates to illustrate how simple it is to provide students with the support needed to understand the content” (Before, During and After pg.3). Confident findings and research from reputable professional can boost teacher moral and help them to thrust students into intensive learning environments for reading comprehension; this only helps.
Other strategies are more abstract and philosophical than concrete. One such strategy can be classified as a questions-based model. This model is purposed to encourage cognitive initiation by students by inviting them to ask questions about different materials. For example, students examining a newspaper article about the Israeli-Hamas conflict should come up with the right questions about the conflict to come to their own conclusions. Questions in this case my include but not be limited to: “who is the aggressor and who is acting self-defense,” “why have they resorted to violence” or “What are the possibilities in stopping them?” Implementing strategies such as these can provide unique windows into student cognitive abilities and in the least encourage critical thinking skills. Critical thinking skills are essential to comprehensive ability in that critical thinking forces students to analyze and extract critical information in formulating their own sentences. In one hopeful quote some of the proponents of this strategy make this statement: “In real life [sic] the questions that you need to answer must come from within” (The Essential Question).
Shaw, Darla Phd. The Essential Question: Student-Developed Questions Using the Newspaper (2006). Newspaper in Education Institute. Retrieved from: http://www.dispatchnie.com/content/digital/pdf/Essential_Question.pdf
Unknown (1990) Before, During and After: Helping Your Students Understand the Content. Retrieved from: http://www.roe13.k12.il.us/Services/KeriKorn/BDA/Book.pdf