Last summer when Mariel Miller was asked to speak to our class about Self Regulated Learning, I was less than enthusiastic. Self Regulated Learning sometimes feels like an overused term in education. After working for seven years in a local inner city school, you can imagine I have heard the term more often than most. Our school seemed to put ALL our efforts and much of our finances into helping our behaviorally challenged students learn to regulate their actions, and to be honest, it was very important because when those students could learn to regulate their behaviour, we could all breathe a collective sigh of relief and attempt to teach the rest of the class.
Now on the flip side, I have joined a new school with a new environment, and although we still deal with behaviours to a degree, I am ready to learn something new… like how to teach literacy and numeracy, or inquiry learning, or project-based learning or maker education… but no more “Self Regulation”.
I was exhausted of regulating behaviours.
Enter Mariel Miller.
Not once did she mention behaviour.
Not once did she mention ‘green, yellow, and red zones of emotions’ or ‘how full is your tank? and how is your car running?”
Mariel Miller introduced me to the idea that SRL is so much more. In fact, SRL is the key barrier that is holding back so many of my bright students from engaging in autonomous, meaningful, and authentic learning.
What is Self Regulated Learning?
Self-Regulated Learning (SRL) is generally defined as learners who are motivated to learn, metacognitive, strategic, and willing to make adaptations (Johnson & Davies, 2014; Perry & Rahim, 2011; Pino-Pasternak, Basilio, & Whitebread, 2014; Winne & Hadwin, 1998, 2008). A self-regulated learner is a student who is able to control, evaluate, and adapt his or her own learning process (Zimmerman & Schunk, 2011). Rather than giving up on a task at hand, a self-regulated learner persists through challenges and makes changes necessary to complete a task (Perry & Rahim, 2011). With careful monitoring and evaluation, a self-regulated learner is constantly experimenting with their learning and fine-tuning it over and over again (Perry & Rahim, 2011; Winne & Hadwin, 2008). Self-Regulated Learning (SRL) is essential to meaningful learning in the classroom (Zimmerman, 2008).
In the following video lecture, Deborah Butler and Nancy Perry (2014) define SRL in the elementary classroom.
What is Self Regulated Learning? (Drs. Deborah Butler & Nancy Perry – Part 1) from Shawn Lam on Vimeo.
Why is it important? (a case for SRL)
Despite the prevailing ideas from the past and what they tell us, research now shows that SRL can be developed in learners as early as preschool (Corte, Mason, et. al. 2011). SRL is not inherent in children. It must be developed through thoughtful instruction, modelling, and experience. It becomes more and more apparent that large amounts of students in our schools are lacking SRL skills. Those students who have strong SRL skills perform better academically in literacy and numeracy than those who do not (Corte, Mason, et. al. 2011; Harris, Graham, Reid, & Mason, 2011). It is imperative that our school system begins to change to include the widespread implementation of SRL instruction (Corte, Mason, et. al. 2011).
As I continue my research in SRL, I am reminded with each new article, how important it is that I, as a teacher, explicitly teach SRL in my classroom across the curriculum. With the new push for inquiry-based learning in the classroom, it is more important than ever that our students are able to set goals, make plans, and monitor their progress. It is more important than ever that our students gain the skills to adapt their strategies and plans when things aren’t going as well as they hoped. In a world where information and knowledge is at our finger tips and readily available for all, it will be those who have the capability to strategically and adaptively learn who will always be a step ahead.
“The illiterate of the 21 century will not be those who cannot read and write. The illiterate will be those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.” – Herbert Gerjuoy (as cited in Richardson, 2012)
Corte, E. De, Mason, L., Depaepe, F., & Verschaffel, L. (2011). Self-Regulation of Mathematical Knowledge and Skills. In D. H. Schunk & B. J. Zimmerman (Eds.), Handbook of Self-Regulation of Learning and Performance (pp. 155–167). New York: Taylor & Francis Group.
Harris, K. R., Graham, S., Reid, R., & Mason, L. H. (2011). Self-Regulated Learning Processes and Children’s Writing. In D. H. Schunk & B. J. Zimmerman (Eds.), Handbook of Self-Regulation of Learning and Performance (pp. 187–199). New York: Taylor & Francis Group.
Johnson, G., & Davies, S. (2014). Self-regulated learning in digital environments: theory, research, praxis. Retrieved from http://espace.library.curtin.edu.au/R?func=dbin-jump-full&object_id=203527
Perry, N. E., & Rahim, A. (2011). Studying Self-Regulated Learning in Classrooms. In J. Zimmerman & D. H. Schunk (Eds.), Handbook of Self-Regulation of Learning and Performance (p. 504). Taylor & Francis. Retrieved from https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=XfOYV0lwzGgC&pgis=1
Pino-Pasternak, D., Basilio, M., & Whitebread, D. (2014, November 4). Interventions and Classroom Contexts That Promote Self-Regulated Learning: Two Intervention Studies in United Kingdom Primary Classrooms. Psykhe. doi:10.7764/psykhe.23.2.739
Richardson, W. (2012). Why School? How Education Must Change when Learning and Information are Everywhere (eBook). TED Conferences. Retrieved from http://www.amazon.ca/Why-School-Education-Information-Everywhere-ebook/dp/B00998J5YQ
Winne, P. H., & Hadwin, A. F. (1998). Studying as Self-Regulated Learning. In D. J. Hacker, J. Dunlosky, & A. C. Graesser (Eds.), Metacognition in Educational Theory and Practice (pp. 277–304). London: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Winne, P. H., & Hadwin, A. F. (2008). The Weave of Motivation and Self-Regulated Learning. In D. H. Schunk & B. J. Zimmerman (Eds.), Motivation and Self-Regulated Learning: Theory, Research, and Applications (pp. 297–314). New York: Taylor & Francis Group.
Zimmerman, B. J. (2008). Investigating Self-Regulation and Motivation: Historical Background, Methodological Developments, and Future Prospects. American Educational Research …, 45(1), 184–205. doi:10.3102/000283120
Zimmerman, B. J., & Schunk, D. H. (2011). Self-Regulated Learning and Performance: An Introduction and an Overview. In B. J. Zimmerman & D. H. Schunk (Eds.), Handbook of Self-Regulation of Learning and Performance (pp. 1–14). New York: Taylor & Francis Group.