Ideal Strategy

IDEAL Strategy (example attached)

Metacognitive skills allow students to become aware of their own learning process and choose among various cognitive strategies that will allow them to be self-regulated learners. One such cognitive skill is modeling for students how to effectively problem solve. You will model this cognitive tool by using the IDEAL problem-solving strategy found in Chapter 6.5: Approaches to Teaching Thinking.​

Bobby is a student in your fifth grade class with autism. Bobby is extremely bright and can fully engage in assignments with much independence, except activities that involve group work. In most instances, he has difficulty working with others and tends to get angry when students don’t listen to him. Often times, you find him in the corner of the room pouting.

  1. Using the IDEAL strategy, develop a possible solution to this problem. Describe your solution and how you employed the IDEAL strategy, clearly listing the five steps.
  2. Reflecting on the IDEAL strategy, did you find the process helpful in solving a particular classroom dilemma? Why or why not?

Imagine that you have the perfect teaching job (you are teaching the grade level and content that you desire). Describe how you might teach the IDEAL strategy to your own students. Why would doing so be beneficial? What might reasonably go wrong?

Running head: IDEAL STRATEGY 1






IDEAL Strategy

EDU 372 – Educational Psychology























IDEAL Strategy

The IDEAL strategy consists of five steps: Identify problems, Define goals, Explore

possible strategies, Anticipate outcomes and Act, and Look back and Learn. Identifying

problems can be more than just what we see in our text. As a matter of fact, our text tells us that

these are usually more than questions that are given to us and incorporate challenges that we face

on a day to day basis (LeFrançois, 2011). In a classroom, educators may face problems such as

the child who wants to act out, or the one who really just doesn’t understand the material. Once

we have identified the problem, we need to know what our goal is. By defining goals and

representing the problem, we eliminate any useless information while determining what our end-

state will be. For educators, this can involve identifying that some students who aren’t getting

the material will require more help. Exploring possible strategies involves looking at different

ways in which we can get from point A to point B. Educators will need to explore different ways

in which they will be able to help their students. Anticipating outcomes generally means to

conduct a hypothesis (LeFrançois, 2011). Educators will have to guess whether or not their

selected strategies will be useful. Once they’ve drawn their hypothesis, they will have to

implement it and put their strategy into action. Finally, looking back and learning can be one of

the most useful steps of the IDEAL strategy. “It’s important to evaluate the appropriateness of

each and by so doing, learn things that might be useful in the future,” (LeFrançois, 2011, para

6.7). You can take everything that you have learned during your previous issues and apply it to

new problems that arise.

Solving the Problem and Reflection

The problem seems simple; Bobby doesn’t like group activities. Since he is bright and is

able to fully engage in assignments independently, we can draw a record of his work. This is




important because we see that he can complete tasks as an individual, but not so much in a group

setting. This record may be useful if we need to approach his parents or utilize some other sort

of intervention in the future (Nunn & McMahan, 2000).

Obviously, the goal in this circumstance would be for Bobby to learn how to work in a

group. Not only that, but he will also need to learn how to not get angry if he isn’t being listened

to at the moment. The end state that we desire is for Bobby to not only learn the material and

accomplish the tasks, but also to be able to work in a group without getting frustrated.

In forming possible strategies, I feel that it would be important to speak with Bobby’s

parents to see if they know anything that could possibly help. Also, if there is a school

psychologist, they would probably be a good starting point too. There’s always the heuristic of

trial-by-fire. We can continue throwing him into group activities, hoping that he will learn what

he needs to. Of course, we will probably need to provide guidance and correction when needed

to keep him on track. Another, more reasonable, strategy would be to reduce the number of

members in his group. Start him off in a group with one other person. Once he is able to

complete his work and is acting in accordance with our standards, then we can add another child

to his group.

The first strategy provided will likely not work out well. We will continue throwing him

in the group setting in hopes that he learns from it. This hasn’t been working, which has led to

this whole dilemma in the first place. Continuing down this path will likely reinforce poor

behavior and Bobby’s education will suffer as a result. The second strategy seems like the more

likely candidate. By starting him off in a group with one other person, it will eliminate the total

amount of time that he is not listened to, which causes him to grow angry and pout in the corner.

Once he is able to handle a group with one other child, then we add another. We keep him in




this group until he is able to perform and not get angry if he isn’t listened to. We will still need

to provide guidance and correction for behavior in this setting, but it will not be nearly as drastic

as throwing him into a group of four or five other students all at once.

Looking back and learning from this scenario will be pretty vital, especially in the

inclusive environments that we are seeing more and more of in today’s education. Bobby is just

one child, but there are likely dozens of children with similar problems in each school district

around America. Bobby won’t be the last time we see this exact, or pretty similar, issue.

I personally found this strategy to work pretty well for this scenario. Especially if we are

able to involve the child’s parents or a school psychologist, we will be able to better cater our

plan of action towards the needs of the individual child (Nunn & McMahan, 2000). By doing

this, we aren’t just taking a canned remedy and applying it to any child that exhibits similar


Classroom Implementation

While the IDEAL problem solving strategy can be used in almost any circumstance, I

feel that it will be relied on heavily in science classes. In a science lab, you can pretty much

tailor the entire lab to the IDEAL strategy. Typically, you’re already going to identify what the

problem is, what outcome you’re looking for, identify ways that you’ll conduct the experiment,

and form a hypothesis all before you even begin the experiment. Afterwards, you’ll analyze and

compare your results and record what you’ve learned.

Aside from science labs, I feel that the IDEAL strategy will facilitate just about any

lesson. You can apply these steps in determining how you will present the material to a given

group of students. For example, you might have two classes going over the exact same lesson.

However, due to certain personalities in each class, you decide that you may have to present the




information in different manners. Using the IDEAL strategy, you can determine how you will

present the information to each class. Afterwards, you’ll have another useful tool in the toolbox

for future classes.

On the other hand, this might not work at all. By anticipating outcomes, you leave it up

to chance. Granted, the chances are in your favor after completing the first four steps, but there

is still a chance that you are selecting the wrong course of action.


As we’ve discussed, the IDEAL strategy is fairly simple to follow. By identifying the

problem and defining goals, you lay out what the problem is and what you want the end state to

be. By exploring possible strategies, anticipating the outcome, and acting, you analyze different

courses of action, pick the best one, and put it into action. Afterwards, you look back and learn

from the whole experience. Whether good or bad, you will learn and be able to deal with similar

situations in the future.

In Bobby’s case, we identified that he doesn’t work well in groups, and that our goal is to

get him to accomplish his tasks in a group setting. We looked at two courses of action after

(hopefully) speaking to his parents and a school psychologist. One was obviously not going to

work, while the other was more likely to show success. We chose a course of action in which

Bobby would be slowly introduced to a larger and larger group.

Finally, we looked at how easily the IDEAL strategy would be applied in a science class,

or more specifically in a science lab. We also looked at how the IDEAL strategy seems to be

useful in any class, given different requirements dictated by personalities within the classes. We

ended the discussion by addressing that the IDEAL strategy has a downside due to “guessing”

which course of action is the most appropriate for your situation.





LeFrançois, G. (2011). Psychology for teaching (11th ed.). San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint

Education, Inc.

Nunn, G. D., & McMahan, K. R. (2000). ‘IDEAL’ problem solving using a collaborative effort

for special needs and at-risk students. Education, 121(2), 305.


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