My Seventh Graders and Self-Regulated Learning KWasosky

the_cycle_of_srl

In an ideal class, I have faith in my students to be able to create great things and experience a deeper learning of others’ perspectives through this module. I would love to hand them the assignment, explain the rules of engagement in the discussion forum, and answer any questions they have before beginning. I would then be excited to say, “Okay, Go!” It would be incredible for them to have all work turned in showing growth in learning the material through their conversations with each other and each part of the module thoroughly completed well and on time. I would even be happy to see them reflect through their essays on what they have learned through the process that touched them on a personal level. However, I don’t believe most seventh grade students which I teach will be able to adhere to the principle of being responsible and setting goals to move through the module without guidance. I believe I can give due dates for different activities and they can carry out a modified form of SRL, if that can even be possible. After all, SRL must be student regulated, right?

I am torn when it comes to addressing SRL in my module. Does it need to be addressed? Absolutely it does. Although, I am not sure how to go about teaching it.  I thought about how I can model  SRL principles by expressing to my students how I plan their lessons each week. For instance, I would explain what goes into creating what I think we should accomplish and try to meet those goals. If we don’t meet them, then I have to re-calibrate my date to be sure that there is a clear understanding of the material. I feel that would be a good example for them to visualize the process of beginning a lesson with them in class and then determining the timeline I expect to have a lesson finished and begin another and so on. I could also model self-reflection by explaining how I assess my job teaching them after getting results from their assessments. I do short-term self-reflection of how I am doing when I have conversations with them in class about the content. Asking probing questions that offer a glimpse of their understanding of the content.

Within the module, I could have them keep a record of what time they began an assignment and what time they finished. Have them self-reflect on what knowledge they gained that can be used later in their assessment essay. Since I believe that most of my students are not practiced self-regulated learners that skill will have to be incorporated and practiced often for them to achieve it. I am a little concerned that as seventh graders, full mastery of self-regulation may not be possible because they don’t possess the maturity to carry it out. Any thoughts from my colleagues about seventh graders being able to achieve that goal of SRL would be appreciated. Do you think it is possible?

6 thoughts on “My Seventh Graders and Self-Regulated Learning KWasosky”

  1. Having taught middle school, yes, I think it is possible for pre-teens to at least improve their self-regulation. You are on target when you wrote that the new behaviors would have to be practiced often. When I have worked with students with learning disabilities typically a structure is given to the student and then it is tweaked and slowly withdrawn as the student masters the new skill. Student buy-in can sometimes be elusive. SRL is definitely not something we can mention once or twice and just expect secondary school students to just “do”.

    1. Thank you for your insight, Lisa. I can definitely see some of my students getting it right away. I spoke with my daughter who is a freshman in college and she is very organized. She has shown examples of srl throughout high school and into her college life. I asked her the other day when she figured out that she became aware that she self-monitored her education in the form of keeping a calendar, working with due dates for assignments and sequencing what was most important to finish in which order. She stated that perhaps late 8th grade and definitely once she was a freshman in high school. I believe we can definitely introduce the concept and practice it a lot in the 7th grade, but I feel mastery of it will not come until a little later.

  2. I agree that it is something that must be taught and reinforced repeatedly in order for them to master it. I do believe that one of the reasons your daughter mastered it early on was because you taught her to do it and to me that is the key. If a student is in a home where independence and self regulation is taught and encouraged and absolutely reinforced then they get it. Unfortunately, I do not believe in our current society that is what is being taught. I do think that many families are teaching students that it is up to the teacher and the school system to keep them on track and regulate everything for them. Just my thoughts………

  3. I think it would be possible for younger students to begin to become SRL. I am not sure, but would think the individual skills necessary to become a SRL could be introduced at a young age that then build and reinforced as the student moves through grade levels. Maybe work on specific study skills that build success and move on from there?

  4. First of all, I love your idea about modeling self reflection by discussing with the students how you reflect on your job based on their assessments, conversations etc. I think it is always beneficial (no matter age or level) to learn by watching.

    I agree it needs to be taught and I am increasingly interested in learning how to do so (especially with the possibility of PHS going 1 to 1 next year). I think self regulated learning is important to instill in all of our students, no matter their level or the type of educational setting and it’s something that students should continually practice until it’s mastered. The question is however 1. how do we go about that? and 2. where do we find the time to do so with the pressures of SOLs etc.?

    1. Amanda, you read my mind. Time constraints are definitely present in just adding “one more thing” to our plate. However, it is probably one of the necessary things instead of a pointless one. I will be trying to do some srl with my students now from this point on. Not everything, but definitely trying to push them more and find the “breaking point” of where we need to start the practicing so that they can become more automatically inclined to move ahead with some things instead of waiting for me to give them the answers without the investigating on their own and making goals for themselves. 🙂

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