“Embedded” Strategic Learning Coaching

The “embedded” strategic learning coaching model is designed to bring the knowledge base of strategic coaching directly into the classroom environment. Most students with learning disabilities, whether they are language-based such as dyslexia or written expression problems or reflect disorders such as ADHD, Nonverbal Learning Disability, or Asperger’s Syndrome, share core difficulty with areas of functioning attributed to the pre-frontal cortex of the brain. In addition, students with different disabilities have their own strengths and best ways of learning that need to be understood to enhance their learning experience and promote success. The great news is that even though this model is exceptionally helpful for students with disabilities, it is highly valuable for all students.

The strategic learning coaching model was designed to provide the student with the necessary tools for approaching tasks in school – and life, by directly teaching, facilitating and monitoring the use of strategies to build neural connections. By recognizing results of brain research that informs us that “neurons that fire together, wire together” and by studying the direct processes that need to be strengthened, this coaching model mirrors what the brain needs to be doing for effective learning. The focus is on “how” to learn, not what to learn. Learning “how” to do tasks in school, learning “how” to learn, “how” to organize information for learning, “how” to plan and organize, “how” to get the most out of reading a text – along with many other “hows” is more essential to success than perhaps any other skill.

However, in the typical classroom environment there tends to be much greater emphasis on “what” to learn, rather than “how” to learn.

Seldom are specific strategies for facilitating the understanding of how to learn directly taught in the classroom. This can result in many children finding themselves at a loss to know how to go about doing different types of school tasks for real learning. Those students with disabilities are particularly affected because their brain structures contribute to significant roadblocks in learning how to do this on their own. Without direct and explicit strategy instruction for the students, parents and teachers often find themselves taking over the role of the prefrontal cortex for their children. They become the external organizer. The goal of strategic learning coaching and the “embedded” model of SLC is to help students become independent in their use of strategies and to provide them with a repertoire of skills that they can use for the rest of their lives.

Some children will need a more individual approach directly with a strategic learning coach. In addition to private coaches, a strategic learning coaching model is also a valuable tool for special education teachers in working individually with students. The “embedded” SLC model recognizes the value and importance of teaching strategies of how to learn – embedded into the curriculum and daily teaching experiences in the regular classroom. By giving as much emphasis on how to learn as what to learn, students can be more independently successful, can feel a sense of accomplishment and confidence and learn to rely on themselves in approaching tasks.

It does take time and training for teachers to learn “how” to accomplish these goals. Strategic Learning Connections, Inc. offers training for schools and teachers through an intensive 20 hour training program. A syllabus for this coursework is available on this website for review. We are very happy to report that the Westminster Schools in Atlanta has adopted this approach and conducted full training for teachers with great success. (View Testimonials)

In addition, Strategic Learning Connections, Inc. is developing software applications for teachers and students to use strategies and techniques that are discussed in the course and schools completing training will have access to all new technology and expanded strategy development through the website.  Participants receive two units of staff development credit approved by the Georgia Department of Education for this coursework.

If you are interested in more information

on the "Embedded" Strategic Learning Coaching course for your school for either regular class teachers and/or special education teachers, please contact us!

Description of the Embedded Strategic Learning Coaching Course:

Major topics:

  • Focus on Neurology: Primer on brain anatomy; neuroplasticity; theories of autism; pre-frontal cortex and working memory
  • The neurology of ADHD
  • Brain differences in non-verbal learning disabilities
  • Brain differences in dyslexia, written language disorders, math
    Neurological structures involved in learning to read – where there may be a breakdown
  • Asperger’s Syndrome – Shared Commonalities
  • How understanding how the brain learns and where some breakdowns occur can guide the development of better teaching techniques for all students
    Understanding deductive and inductive reasoning
  • The core, fundamental strategic learning coaching needs of students with NVLD, ADHD, Asperger’s Syndrome, Dyslexia, Written Language Disorder and Math Disorder
  • Application to all students as they learn “how to learn”
  • The Conceptual Model of Strategic Learning Coaching
  • The Conceptual Model applied to a task: Completing a Long Term Project
  • Breakdown of the Tasks students must repeatedly do in school

What does embedded SLC look like in the classroom?

  • “Zeroing in” on major contributions to student difficulty in school
  • Tweaking techniques to individual student needs
  • Strategically using information available to you (e.g. test results; psychological reports)
  • Typical questions a teacher should ask when using embedded SLC
  • The 2 R’s – Rubrics and Reflections
  • The power of reflection – building neural circuits
  • The importance of teaching “how to learn” strategies as a part of everyday instruction

Study of Strategies in the areas of:

  • Strategic Reading
  • Strategic Writing
  • Strategic Math
  • Organizing for Study
  • Doing Research
  • Strategic Study and Memory Enhancement
  • Strategic Test Taking
  • Strategic Presentation Approaches
  • Special Situations and Troubleshooting

Each broad area of study includes techniques for a larger range of specific tasks that repeat themselves throughout a student’s career. For example,


Organizing for Study as applied to:

  • Note-taking
  • From the board/overhead
  • From reading a text
  • From video/lecture
  • Long term projects
  • Studying from notes
  • Studying from text
  • Organizing materials for a learning task(s)
  • Organizing assignments
  • Determining priorities
  • Organizing time for tasks
  • Homework completion and turning in
  • Writing down homework assignments