Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Self regulation – it must underpin modern learning pedagogy!

Publications world-wide, such as the OECD The Nature of Learning, the Horizon report Elements of the Creative Classroom Framework and Spirals of Inquiry for Equity and Quality (Halbert & Kaser), agree self regulated learning (SRL) is an essential 21 C competency. After devoting 10 years to researching, trialling and developing tools for teachers to use I am still a firm believer that developing self regulated learning skills in our students is paramount to ensure they are future proofed and more than ready for 21 C learning and achieving, no matter the context or future environment.

At a time when knowledge is immediate and technology developing at a fast pace our students need to become self regulated learners so that they can monitor, evaluate and optimise their acquisition and use of knowledge. They also need to regulate their emotions and motivations during the learning process. We are all excited at the promise of modern learning pedagogy but actually good old fashioned effective practice and direct teaching of self regulation strategies and skills must underpin this new practice or students will be ill prepared to take advantage of it.

Let me re-cap:
A self regulated learner actively uses strategies to learn, know themselves as learners and have knowledge about learning tasks and environments. They have an understanding about various learning strategies, and they know how, when, and why to use the strategies in a specific context. They monitor their own thinking and problem-solving, allocating their time and assessing their progress effectively. They actively find a way to succeed and are motivated to learn. They continually reflect and make the necessary changes in order to complete tasks and succeed taking personal learning responsibility and expecting success.
Most importantly empowering self regulated learning promotes self-directed learning and ultimately personalisation.

Self regulated skills and strategies  need to be explicitly taught from year 1; skills such as:
·      set realistic and achievable academic and behavioural goals daily;
·      monitor their goals frequently;
·      self assess their progress and achievement;
·      reflect throughout the day on their progress and strategy use;
·      stay on task and continually direct/re-direct their learning focus;
·      know how they learn best;
·      maintain a growth mindset, persevere and be determined to succeed.

In order to develop self regulated learners teachers need to:
·      share the learning intentions, frequently, across the curriculum
·      co-construct success criteria with students in “kid’s speak’’
·      give frequent quality formative feedback both orally and in writing
·      direct teach how to set and monitor personal goals
·      encourage students to monitor progress against success criteria and exemplars
·      provide quality exemplars, models and visual criteria for self assessment and peer assessment purposes
·      provide sharing opportunities as a closure to a lesson reflecting on the learning intentions
·      co-construct next learning steps with a student
·      provide ample reflection time and tools
·      utilise differentiated approaches to learning
·      co-construct demonstrations of competence with students
·      direct teach how the brain works, learning styles, multiple intelligences and a growth mindset so that students gain an understanding of how they learn best
·      provide and encourage the use of self regulated learning tools such as STARs, on task/off task checks and carrels.

All of the above is really just plain old effective formative assessment practice that should underpin all learning in our schools.

On reflection,
Do you have a good understanding of why and how developing self regulated learners is crucial for 21 C competency? If not, why not?
Do you understand and use this effective practice to underpin all your learning programmes?
If not, why not?

I have developed an online SRL learning module for teachers. If you would like to undertake this module, at no cost, please contact me at: l.bird@selhouse.school.nz



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