The Future of Strategy Theory, Research, and Implementation

Roads Less Traveled

Authored by: Patricia A. Alexander

Handbook of Strategies and Strategic Processing

Print publication date:  February  2020
Online publication date:  January  2020

Print ISBN: 9781138389939
eBook ISBN: 9780429423635
Adobe ISBN:


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Since the 1970s, my academic life has been intricately intertwined with strategies—text-processing, cognitive, metacognitive, problem-solving, learning strategies, and more. I was drawn to strategy research because I saw these intentional, effortful, and planful processes as a part of the answer to the question that brought me to graduate school in the first place: How can I help students who struggle to learn, especially when learning requires them to make sense of written language? By serendipity, I became intrigued by this question at a time when certain forces aligned. The Center for the Study of Reading led by Richard Anderson was in its heyday (Anderson, Reynolds, Schallert, & Goetz, 1977), John Flavell (1979, 1987) and Ellen Markman (1977) were unfolding their theory and empirical work on metacognition, and Ruth Garner (1987), my advisor, was a young, brilliant Assistant Professor at the University of Maryland exploring the boundaries between cognitive and metacognitive strategies. When I completed my PhD and headed to Texas A&M, more elements fell into place. I began to collaborate with Claire Ellen Weinstein (Weinstein, Goetz, & Alexander, 1988), a key player in learning and study strategies, along with colleagues like Diane Schallert and Ernest Goetz (Schallert, Alexander, & Goetz, 1988), who were alumnae of the Center for the Study of Reading. In a matter of a few short years, I was set on a path that I hoped would lead to deeper understanding about the very nature of strategies and the component processes they entailed—a path I continue to follow today.

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