SYSTEM STRATEGY: LEARNING
When students cannot solve a problem, they need to learn to change so that they can discriminate and operate on the world in ways not previously possible. As their teachers, we have two options: (1) to change them so that they have a larger knowledge base from which to work; or (2) to change them so that they can learn independently to solve any of their future problems. Both options need to be pursued. If the latter is given strong emphasis, our students inherit a strategy for discovery that increases the probability that they can learn about, adapt to, and control the world when it is theirs. This chapter analyzes learning as a strategy and illustrates how to teach it.
Student-initiated learning is an inclusive subclass of SM behavior that can be partitioned into three subclasses, each of which can be expressed as a strategy. 1 Students require strategies to learn from text, observation, and experimentation. Because it directs observation and experimentation, learning from expository, content-based text is fundamental and is the focus of this chapter. If students desire to learn the unknown, the first step is the analysis of what is known. Most of our everyday problems are solvable by knowledge that exists in some form of text. Therefore, students who can learn through the use of text take a large step in satisfying their learning requirements.
In learning from text, a student goes about reorganizing knowledge in relationship to a problem, a question about something for which there is