Dear Gerlinde,

Our field does not have very well-defined ways to talk about our
constructs.  Without an unambiguous taxonomy we are left with many
overlapping terms that are more reflective of what they are trying to
emphasize than they are of independent categories.  The term cognitive
skills is meant to emphasize those aspects of studying and learning that
require information processing and thinking.  Study skills often include
these aspects (although not always) but can also involve behavioral
techniques.  In the past, many study skills were purely behavioral and did
not involve much thinking on the part of the student.  This "bag of tricks"
approach was what folks were reacting to when they started talking about
more mindful, learner-controlled methods, such as the use of learning
strategies and active reading.  As our field develops and matures, so will
our terminology.  For now, we must be careful to define how we are using a
particular descriptor or term since it may not have the same meaning for
our readers (or students).

Claire Ellen

Claire Ellen Weinstein, Professor
Department of Educational Psychology, SZB 504
University of Texas at Austin
Austin, TX 78712-1296

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