Using Self-Regulated Learning Theory in the Classroom

In my opinion, one of the most helpful components of my At-Risk concentration courses were our discussions of theory-related teaching strategies. While I do find educational theory to be incredibly interesting (and I can see the merits in many of them), I personally find it more useful to not discuss a variety of theoretical perspectives, but to bring these ideas to life and apply them to the classroom as well. With regard to Self-Regulated Learning Theory (SRL), there are a wide variety of things that we as teachers can do to help children to develop the skills that are needed in order to monitor their own progress at school.

First of all, one of the main ways to apply SRL to the classroom is through consistent modeling of self-regulatory skills. This is especially true for younger children, who need to receive explicit instruction in order to develop these capacities in themselves. At any grade level though, I would be sure to model self-regulatory skills for my students, and discuss the strategies that I use to keep myself on-task throughout the day. On a similar note, it has been shown that students benefit from the use of frequent check-ins (self and teacher), discussions which isolate certain skills and learning strategies, think-alouds, and the use of anchor charts listing learning goals and success criteria. Another helpful SRL-related strategy is teaching your students about the value of metacognition. I was first introduced to this concept by my Grade 10 English teacher, Mr. Richard, who to this day is still one of my favourites. He explained metacognition in a way that was incredibly straightforward and easy-to-understand, because he told us that it was simply the practice of “thinking about thinking.” In other words, metacognition can be practiced by pausing to think consciously about our own thinking patterns, and the strategies that work best for us as learners. This information was a game-changer for me, and as a student, it helped me to become more self-aware and efficient at keeping my learning and productivity in check. I can definitely see myself using these techniques with my students, regardless of the grade level I end up teaching.




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