Learning to think in the current era has become a necessary and right requirement for all students, and it is not restricted to students who have a high or good IQ; Rather, it includes even categories of students with low intelligence abilities, as everyone has the ability to learn the main thinking skills if appropriate learning conditions are created for them.

The student’s possession of thinking skills means that they possess the necessary skills for the current era, away from memorization and oral indoctrination, so that they are able to build knowledge and process it on their own without relying on others for that.

There are a set of teaching strategies that help students acquire cognitive skills, but the most important of which is the reciprocal education strategy, which is one of the interactive teaching strategies that improve students’ comprehension and increase their awareness of what they know and what they lack, and how they can link the knowledge they learn today with their previous knowledge in a single building.

Interactive teaching is based on the main idea of ​​social interaction in the classroom. It depends mainly on participation and cooperation between learners and teachers based on a set of skills, and the teacher has the role of assessor with providing feedback.

Education bears the full responsibility for developing the potentials of learners, making their participation positive, developing their abilities to derive appropriate strategies for learning, activating their previous knowledge and employing it in new learning situations, keeping them away from dependence on others and receiving external support from others in planning, organizing and learning the matter, which leads to a decline in their academic achievement.

The use of the reciprocal teaching method in education allowed the transfer of many responsibilities from the teacher to the learner, and proved its great impact in developing students' abilities, preparing their minds, developing their thinking, and making them the focus of the educational process.

The concept of the reciprocal education strategy:

If we go back to history, we find the first roots of the strategy of reciprocal education in Greek thought, but it was clearly manifested in the writings of "John Dewey", who showed that the task of teachers should be to motivate learners to work cooperatively and participate in learning through their regularity in a small group and in a way that classroom learning becomes a mirror that reflects life in society.

This style of learning will give them new models of thinking through their interaction and dialogue and their entry into discussions with their colleagues within the same class. This strategy is an appropriate alternative to direct teaching.

To clarify the concept of reciprocal education, “Hassan Zaitoun” sees that reciprocal teaching is an educational activity that takes the form of a dialogue between teachers and students, or between students with each other so that they exchange roles according to the sub-strategies that include “predicting, questioning, clarifying, and summarizing,” with the aim of understanding the read material and controlling this understanding by observing it and controlling its operations. He also defines it as an educational activity used by the human being to address and investigate problems with an organized scientific methodology and to reach solutions to them.

Naima Hassan Ahmed believes that it is an educational activity that aims to train the student in intellectual dialogue related to the scientific text, using four cognitive and metacognitive activities: "summarizing, generating questions, clarifying, and predicting.”

Jawdat Ahmed Saadeh says that it is that style of thinking that depends on the scientific method or scientific viewpoints, such as realism, naturalism, pedagogical, empirical, and positive view points.

The importance of the reciprocal teaching method in education:

The use of the reciprocal teaching strategy benefits primarily the students who are the basis of the educational process. It helps in deep understanding, improves questioning skills, and increases opportunities to achieve motivation and to increase academic achievement, teamwork, cooperation, as well as the ability to dialogue and manage it, elicit,  and extract information from study materials.

In addition to many other skills that increase cognitive and scientific mastery, distance from intellectual adolescence, train students to avoid failure and increase confidence in themselves, and link what they learn to their daily lives, and then contribute to introducing them to practical reality, creating opportunities for creativity and innovation for them, and encouraging them to self-learn. It makes the learning process fun. 

Strategies included in reciprocal education:

1. Prediction strategy:

Prediction means the student's guess about their educational expectations about what ideas this title may contain or issues that may treat. The student's background on the presented topic is activated.

They formulate specific hypotheses on that topic, anticipating what the author can say on this topic. Here the teacher can intervene to help the students formulate their assignments by reading the main topic to them as well as sub-topics and reading the beginning of each paragraph, using the questions posed by the topic, choosing some sentences from within the paragraphs to motivate them and increase their motivation, using pictures when they exist, and noting names, tables, numbers and dates.

2. Generate questions:

This stage is higher than the previous one to understand the activities of the lesson. Here the student must ask many questions that they get from the text presented to them. They identify the main questions and what is important is to know their answers and differentiate them from secondary questions that will not make much difference in understanding the topic if their answers are not obtained.

Asking questions is one of the effective ways to provoke students, improve their understanding and to increase their attention and recall of information. Subjective questions are also a way for the students to monitor their understanding of the topic. They analyze the subject and relate it to their previous knowledge and evaluate it.

Here the teacher can explain to their students that they can use a set of interrogative tools to inquire about superficial information such as who, what, where, when, and other tools are used to get deep meanings, such as why, how, should, could, was, is like, is Differs.

3. Explanation:

It is the process by which students aim to clarify abstract concepts, specific issues that are difficult to grasp, or difficult words with unclear meaning. Here, the students seek to identify the reasons for their low understanding of the subject. When the student begins to ask questions for clarification, this means that they have become  aware of the obstacles that stand in the way of their full understanding of the subject.

4. Summarizing:

Summarizing means the student's ability to identify important information on the subject and collect it in one building that gives a complete picture of it. This skill enables them to identify the most important ideas contained in them and achieve integration in their knowledge building by linking them with their previous knowledge.

There are a number of things that are considered as criteria that should be emphasized when the student summarizes. The most important of which are “not repeating information, identifying important terms, focusing on the main headings and subheadings, deleting unnecessary information, and defining the time required for summarizing, whether the summarization is required orally or in writing, meaning that the teacher must clarify what is required of the summary.

Foundations and principles of reciprocal education:

  • Reciprocal education is a joint responsibility between the students and the teacher.
  • Responsibility is transferred gradually to the students.
  • Cooperative work is the basis for implementing this strategy. The teacher must ensure that all students participate in the implementation of the activities.
  • Students should constantly remember the main strategies involved in reciprocal teaching “predict, question, clarify, and summarize”.

What is the teacher's role in the reciprocal education strategy?

  • Divide the students in the class into a small working group of 3 to 6 students each.
  • Possess the ability to diagnose learners' abilities and skills, with the aim of providing them with support when needed before leaving the groups.
  • Monitoring the work of the groups after leaving them to make sure that everything is going well.
  • Enhancing the correct educational attitudes and correcting the wrong ones.

In conclusion:

The learner is affected by the method or strategy adopted by the teacher in teaching; therefore, they are negatively or positively affected by that strategy. One of the methods that are used in education and have a positive impact on the learner is the reciprocal teaching method. Reciprocal teaching is one of the meta-knowledge strategies that are based on cooperation and active participation between the teacher and students, which is manifested by asking questions during class discussions based on four main stages: “prediction, inquiry, clarification, and summarization”.

This type of education is relied upon in order to reduce the effort that both the teacher and students make, as well as the effort that students make with each other. The practice of this strategy is very important. It develops the students' self-skills, increases their motivation to learn, and works on providing them with thinking skills, such as the skill of formulating and asking questions, drawing important conclusions, developing the ability to predict, and increasing the ability to work together.