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  • Writer's pictureVrije Universiteit

Research based ideas and help for teachers to better understand students’ SRL process

August 2019, University of Oulu

SLIDEshow project offers research based ideas and help for teachers to better understand students’ self-regulated learning processes and practical SRL classroom supports

As the world is becoming more and more complex it is important for the learning today (and for the future) that students possess skills that enables them to take charge of their own learning in schools but also beyond in their lives. Research on self-regulated learning (SRL) has shown how skillful learners regulate their own learning actions by, for example, setting clear learning goals for themselves, doing practical planning, using different learning strategies, monitoring and controlling own actions and evaluating own progress and adapting the behavior. These skills are not only connected with students’ good learning results, but also with their motivation to engage in learning. In long run, these SRL skills (or lack of them) can have detrimental effects on their coping and wellbeing. There is no signs indicating that the importance of these SRL skills would be decreasing in the future, as people need to deal with complex problems and various demands not only in schools but in work and everyday life.

However, students’ self-regulated learning skills are not something that develop automatically with age. SRL researchers have repeatedly shown that it is not always easy for the students to regulate their own learning. This is the case with smaller students but also in higher education (and also in work life). Students of all ages need help and support when they are learning and practicing SRL. School years are a good time to safely practice and develop these skills with low risk.

Teachers are in a key role for providing possibilities to practice SRL and to support students’ in their learning process. They are, or at least should be, the experts that help students to mature as self-regulated learners and gradually developing into independent, autonomous, skillful and strategic learners. Considering this essential role of the teacher, it sounds unbelievable that many teachers are still missing practical means and tools to plan and to put into practice teaching methods and learning support that would promote SRL in their students.

At the same time as the teachers are in a great need of new theory-based and practice -translated ideas of conducting SRL support in school practices, educational scientists are developing various ideas how students SRL can be assessed and supported. To fill this gap, our SLIDEshow project experts from Finland – who have been studying SRL for years in different school contexts - have examined the various kinds of SRL tools that already exist in the field. They focus particularly unpacking how these tools could be implemented by teachers if they want to adapt SRL supports at schools and in their classrooms. The study was just presented at the EARLI (European Association for Learning and Instruction) 2019 conference in Aachen, Germany, where we had opportunity to get useful feedback from the researchers and experts of the field of the learning and education. In the following Fall, the same information will be shared with teachers and teacher educators from all over the Europe in the SLIDEshow teacher training taking place in Athens before the end of this year.

Teacher training is a great way to help you as a teacher to become more familiar with the SRL concept, to start planning SRL supportive teaching methods, and to learn how to implement various tools and practices in your own teaching work. Also, different trainings give great opportunity to get to know other teachers interested to promote regulated learning as well, by providing opportunities for sharing ideas and practical experiences -good and bad. This was well seen in our teacher feedback from the previous training the SLIDEshow organized year back in Vienna.

SLIDEshow team is very exited about the new forthcoming teacher training in Athens. We all hope that it will include lot of interesting discussions between SRL experts and teachers about SRL, and stimulates sharing of practical ideas on how to support students in regular classroom practices in various domains and age groups. See you in Athens!

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