SRL – McQuiddy

I always try to address self-regulated in my classes. Giving students a way to improve their learning is part of what we do as teachers.  I must admit, however, it seems that my attempts are often to no avail.  Sometimes, students just don’t care.  For example, we did a project this week on topographic maps.  Students were given a rubric and a checklist.  I literally told them exactly what components needed to be included on their models and many of them just didn’t do parts of the assignment.  I was IN THE CLASSROOM with them.  I walked around and assisted and clarified directions and told them to get to work.  And they still didn’t complete some of the required tasks.  Granted, some students did a WONDERFUL job.  They used their checklists and turned in some awesome projects.  As I was reading the articles on self-regulated learning, I really just kept thinking about the (too many) students who could not complete the tasks while I was right there with them.  How would they be able to self-regulate in an online setting?  Sure, they may not have the distractions of classmates to interrupt learning processes, but if they are unmotivated to learn the content, how is that going to work.  Sorry, I’m being a pessimist today….

I think about the skills of a self-regulated learner mentioned in the first article: setting goals, adopting strategies to attain the goals, monitoring progress, restructuring physical and social context for compatibility with goals, managing time, self-evaluating methods, attributing causation to results, and adapting future methods.  Wow.  Is it just me, or do you guys see some of our students seriously struggling with those skills – even in a face-to-face setting with us encouraging and coaching them through things?  I absolutely think that self-regulation skills are important and we need to keep reinforcing them to our students – in all educational settings.  But I also think we need to realize that some students do not have the desire to self-regulate.

For my module, I do plan to utilize certain self-regulation skills in an attempt to help students manage their learning….I think.  Is it really self-regulation if I am providing them with the tools to utilize those skills? I had planned to provide them with a checklist of items to be completed (with dates for completion) but is that really self-regulation?  That’s not rhetorical.  I really don’t know.  If we want students to self-regulate, shouldn’t they create their checklist?  Shouldn’t they be the ones to reflect on learning without us having to tell them to do it?  Would they do it if we didn’t require it? Do we have time to teach them how to WANT to do that stuff (if it’s not for a grade) in the age of standardized testing.  I don’t know.  I would LOVE to have a classroom full of self-regulated learners but that’s just not the case.

So, I guess if the timeline and checklist count as self-regulated learning, then I do plan to address it in my module.  I think the fact that this module is pretty short (in the grand scheme of things) and the fact that I am still in the room with my students during the module make my need to address it specifically in the module a little bit less.  If the module was longer and I would not be seeing my students, it would probably need to be addressed further.

4 thoughts on “SRL – McQuiddy”

  1. Sarah – I totally agree with you. Many of your earth science students are not motivated learners in the least. They are there because we told them to be there. Might it be different if we are working with students who select an online course and choose to take it online? May be worth a try. We have to find a way to reach the reluctant learner. Hopefully your Chemistry students are bit more motivated than your Earth Science. Lastly, I have found with rubrics that students will do the minimum that it takes to pass the assignment as they set the bar so low. I have moved away from rubrics that include points for that reason.

  2. I really like your question: Is it really self-regulation if I am providing them with the tools to utilize those skills? I think it can be. If you use tools as a training technique for getting them to be able to do this on their own later on. I think we are all going to have to train our students and give them specific goals and show them how to become SRL. I don’t think many of them will do it on their own without some guidance from us.

  3. Sarah,
    I have the same concern as you – if we are giving them the structure for learning is it really self-regulated? I felt that it was not for my students. I have also seen the same behaviors that you do – even with a rubric/checklist, I frequently have students turn in programs that are incomplete.

  4. I agree, the words are confusing. I see SRL as teaching them skills that are learned to help them learn. I feel like this is so critical for virtual learning because i am not sure we have taught students how to learn in these environments like we have for f2f. They have spent their whole lives learning how to learn when their is a teacher in front of them telling them what to do. But sitting in front of a screen requires different strategies. You guys know what I mean?

    I think about it less in terms of “making them care about the material” – that is something else. I feel like this is just teaching them different skills for learning in this new environment.

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