This study investigated the relationship between elementary students’ use of cognitive strategies during social studies critical thinking tasks and their perceptions of classroom instruction. The subjects were 141 third-, fourth-, and fifth-grade students. Students were first given a social studies critical thinking task and then were asked to determine what cognitive strategies they used to approach and solve the problem. The students also assessed their teachers’ strategy instruction and generic classroom instruction. Results of the canonical correlation analysis between the set of student strategies and teacher behaviors yielded four significant canonical coefficients. The combination of specific instruction in strategies and generic teacher behaviors influenced the students’ choice of strategies during social studies critical thinking.
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