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  • Writer's pictureValerie Thomas

How to stimulate your students’ self-regulatory skills in the classroom?

A teacher can help students grow in self-regulated learning (SRL) in different ways.

Teachers can provide students with scaffolds, organize the learning environment in a way that students need their self-regulatory skills or teachers can explicitly teach students a particular self-regulatory skill. In this blogpost, an overview of the main ways to promote SRL in the classroom are shown, accompanied with some examples.

So, how can teachers promote students’ SRL skills?

Teachers can provide space for students to self-regulate which can be done by creating strong SRL learning environments. The teacher can indirectly stimulate SRL by adapting the classroom practice in a way that supports students’ SRL development, for example by allowing initiative and input from students or by providing problem-driven assignments. These problem-based assignments enable students to take responsibility for finding the right information, setting goals and monitoring the learning process. This is called indirect SRL promotion.

It is a bit like throwing students into the water so they learn how to swim (hopefully). However, by throwing them into the water the teacher, creates the space and opportunity to develop their skills in an autonomous way. The teacher takes on the role of 'coach' and guides and supports the students.

Indirect promotion

Another way to foster students’ SRL development is through the direct instruction of SRL strategies. Teachers can make learners aware of their learning process by asking specific questions or explicitly explaining what a particular learning strategy is and why it can be used. That is like teaching students to swim.

There are two ways in which these swimming lessons can be structured.

Implicit direct instruction

Teachers can show students how to swim without explicitly verbalizing the swimming technique. In terms of SRL, this way of implicit instruction can be done by modeling strategies, giving students suggestion or encouraging a particular strategy use.

A real-life classroom example on how to implicitly support students’ SRL can be found here.

Implicit direct instruction

Explicit direct instruction

SRL (and swimming ;-)) can also be explicitly taught.

One way is to instruct learners about:

  • what strategy to use

  • when to use it

  • why to use it

and to train learners how to use it.

Explicit direct instruction

A real-life example of a more explicit way to foster students’ SRL skills can be found here.

As you have noticed there are different ways to promote students’ SRL. Maybe you already include some of them in your teaching practice.

But what is then the best way?

All three ways to support students´ SRL are important and valuable.

However, explicit direct instruction has often been shown to be most effective for students’ SRL acquisition in different subjects.

Elementary school students can especially profit from explicit direct instruction: They are still at the beginning of developing learning beliefs and ineffective learning strategies may not be fully established yet - being an elementary school teacher gives you the opportunity to support students´ acquisition of adequate strategies right from the start and support their SRL development from early ages on.

Want to read more or deepen your knowledge about this topic, SRL promotion is also explained in the tMAIL app.

Photos: tMAIL app

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