Relying on good practices as a way to implement innovative concepts is tricky and might be misleading, researchers say.
SLIDEshow collects good practices illustrating how teachers can support their students' self-regulated learning. Although collecting such good practices is a complex process , teachers want examples showing them how things work in classroom practice. What's more, teachers are much more likely to integrate innovative concepts when they can see other teachers applying it successfully.
Yet, the researchers involved in the SLIDEshow project recommend being careful with sharing good practices. They point to several pitfalls that should be avoided.
1) Learning is complex by nature
Learning is highly complex. Educational models will always be a simplification of reality. Yet, the self-regulated learning model does quite a good job showing the interconnectedness of different elements in one's learning. It clearly describes the relationship between concepts such as goal-setting, motivation, self-evaluation, self-satisfaction, and subsequent learning goals.
Curious to learn more about this model on self-regulated learning? Download the tMAIL app and have a look at the mini-course 'what is self-regulated learning'?
Good practices that aim to illustrate how self-regulated learning is implemented in practice can only describe one or several of these concrete self-regulation strategies. Yet, students will benefit most from a continuous support of all aspects of their self-regulation rather than a sporadic and fragmented focus on one or two strategies. Although good practices can help teachers start experimenting with self-regulated learning, it will be insufficient to actually turn all students into strong self-regulators.
2) One size does not fit all
When reading good practices, teachers may judge that the examples are not applicable in their classroom. It won't work at this age. My group of students is way too diverse. It might work in reading, but not in my math classes.
Indeed, good practices will always have to be adapted to teachers' specific context. They will need to find a balance between keeping the essence of the good practice and adapting it so that it will work in their particular setting. The impact of good practices relies on teachers' professional competences. It is key to know what you want to achieve and how you can monitor whether it is working.
3) The self-regulated teacher versus ticking boxes
Good practices might lead teachers to quickly conclude they are already supporting students' self-regulated learning and don't need to invest any more effort.
In fact, learning to adopt self-regulated learning skills in practice is a long process (Hoyle & Dent, 2017). This means that the use of practical self-regulated learning supports should be more systematic and used on a longer term to actually see the development of the students.
Good practices should not lead to a tick-box culture. They should show the variety of ways in which students' self-regulation could and should be supported. (dr. Jeltsen Peeters)
Teachers need to self-regulate their own guidance and constantly set goals, monitor how students' self-regulation is developing, and adjust their support accordingly.
4) Awareness is key
Then, how do you recognize a 'good practice' about self-regulated learning support?
We'll tell you the secret: teachers' and students' awareness! Practices in which teachers intentionally and explicitly teach self-regulated learning strategies are most effective.
Teachers need to consciously design practices that intentionally support students' self-regulated learning. Only shaping classroom environments that offer students more autonomy is in fact dangerous. (Prof. Dr. Hanna Jarvenoja)
Dangerous? How so?
It is a common misunderstanding that self-regulated learning is all about offering students more autonomy to decide what, how, and when to learn. Self-regulated learning skills are competences that do not develop automatically. So, only offering a supportive environment which allows them to take their learning into their own hands is likely to fail. On the contrary, students need to be taught strategies which help them cope with increasing levels of autonomy. This process should be carefully supported and scaffolded.
5) How to get the most out of good practices?
Good practices can really support teachers in integrating innovative concepts. Yet, the dissemination and adoption of good practices should be well thought through. Curious how we solved the issue in SLIDEshow? We'll soon publish a new post on the topic! Too curious to wait? Read on!
Preview: We'll link the good practices published on this website to the theoretical framework and scientific evidence as explained in mini-courses in the tMAIL app. Likewise teachers have a set of good practices that can be easily adopted, while having quick and easy access to the theoretical underpinnings. This should help teachers keep in mind the exact self-regulation strategy they aim to support with the particular good practice. Also, it may help understanding how a particular self-regulation strategy is linked to other self-regulation strategies. Understanding this interconnectedness is key to offering systematic and long-term support regarding students' self-regulation.
Hoyle, R.H., & Dent, A.L., Developmental Trajectories of Skills and Abilities Relevant for Self-Regulation of Learning and Performance, in: Handbook of Self-Regulation of Learning and Performance, Dale H. Schunk, Jeffrey A. Greene (Eds.). New York: 2017