Teaching Self-Advocacy

Teaching Self-Advocacy

Teaching self advocacy to students with learning disabilities encompasses imparting knowledge about how to make informed decisions, how to solve the problems they may encounter as well as developing critical thinking skills in their future lives (Wong, 2004). This is not only aimed at helping in changing their decision making process on matters to deal with sex, drugs and crime but it also aimed at enhancing their self-esteem and self confidence.

Metacognition encompasses the control center of a person’s cognitive system that enables him to acquire knowledge about his cognitive process which is relevant for effective learning. Effective learning for the students with learning disabilities encompasses instructions on how to monitor and control their Metacognition process (Israel, 2007). Most students with learning disabilities take a lot of time to decipher the information contained in their reading materials. This is because their Metacognition monitoring is at a low level, as their working-memory capacity is limited.

The students engage in Metacognition monitoring when they are reading simple texts that are easy to understand but they fail to monitor when reading difficult texts. To enhance the students Metacognition monitoring, they should be encouraged to build enough background knowledge and vocabulary about the topics they are learning through reading other related materials about the topic (Cartwright, 2008). This boosts their inferences so that they can pay attention to what they are reading. Before the strategies for improving Metacognition monitoring are implemented, the level of monitoring for the students should be measured to provide insight as into what strategies to be used.

The first method to be used is thinking aloud when they reading which helps to know the students who did not understand the text. The second method to be used is the reading of a comprehension and rating them according to the answers they provide on questions asked about the comprehension. The third method is error detection where mistakes are inserted into a text and student re asked to find them (Israel, 2007). The fourth method is putting error in a text and analyzing those students who reread the parts where the errors are. The last method encompasses the use of interviews or questionnaires to root out the students with learning disabilities.

These are students, who do not utilize such strategies as memorizing, summarizing, text structure, skimming or rereading and who provide the answers they think the interviewers want though they are wrong. Cognitive strategy instructions or Metacognition control strategies are utilized in eliminating these problems (Cartwright, 2008). These strategies include rereading the text, making diagrams to provide more insights, summarizing or paraphrasing as they read and using dictionaries to provide more understanding.

The students should also be encouraged to ask questions when they do not understand, and to read ahead to make more comprehension of the text being used in class. PQ4R which stands for Preview, Question, Read, Reflect, Recite, and Review should also be utilized especially when reading difficult texts that are hard to comprehend. This also encompasses the making of predictions which enhances more understanding (Wong, 2004). Teachers they should use multiple strategies where the students work with teacher support first and then work with the teachers, because studies show more success when multiple strategies are used as compared to the use of one strategy.

Students with learning disabilities find it hard to comprehend the texts they read because their level of Metacognition monitoring is low (Israel, 2007). To help them enhance their learning abilites Metacognition control strategies should be employed. Before these strategies can be employed the level of their learning disability should be measured using different methods so that the best strategies can be employed in the controlling of their Metacognition. The acquisition of a high level of Metacognition monitoring does not only boost their reading capacity but it also boosts their self-esteem and self confidence.


Cartwright, K. B. (2008). In Literacy processes: Cognitive flexibility in learning and teaching. New York, NY: Guilford Press.

Israel, S. E. (2007). In Using Metacognitive Assessments to Create Individualized Reading Instruction. Newark, Del: International Reading Association.

Wong, B. Y. L. (2004). In Learning about Learning Disabilities. San Diego, CA: Elsevier Academic Press.


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