Self-regulation is a critical skill for people of all ages, and plays a huge part in successful learning. With students still growing and developing, self-regulated learning isn’t the easiest area to build up, however, there are huge benefits to improving these skills. Self-regulated learning can not only help students with things like being able to sit and listen in a classroom, have increased focus on a task but can also help them work through difficult projects independently as well as manage their own time and performance. Here’s 6 ways to encourage self-regulated learning and help students build up these important abilities over time!
1.Always Make A Plan
When it comes to self-regulated learning, it’s always important for students to create a plan of action before they start working on a task. This may seem like taking a step backwards, but it will ultimately help them to be more efficient with their time and focus much easier. Here are some of the questions they can ask themselves:
- Is this a task I've done before or something new?
- How much time will it take? How much focus will I need?
- What resources will I need for this task?
- How much time do I have available?
2.Set Realistic Goals
With self-regulated learning, setting realistic yet focused goals is the key to staying motivated. It also helps students get past the ‘right now’ and be able to visualise what they’re working towards in the present moment. Goals can be centred around anything, whether this is achieving a specific grade, raising their hand more in class or just handing all their work in on time. Once they have some goals written down, it’s important to refer back to them on a regular basis or have them written out somewhere they see regularly. Doing this will help remind students they need to manage their current learning habits in order to achieve what they set out to do.
3. Reflect On Performance And Monitor Progress
It’s easy for many students to only focus on the outcome of their grades or goals, however, it’s also important to encourage them to regularly check in and reflect on their current performance. This self-reflection can help them understand why they earned a certain grade and realise new ways they can improve their performance. It’s also essential to monitor the progress of the goals they have in place and reflect on whether the strategies they’re currently using are working or if they need to try something different.
It’s not unusual for students to not have a clue where to start with self-regulated learning. That’s why it’s so important to provide examples of how students should be completing assignments and the different ways they can prepare for exams and big projects. Without this knowledge or guidance, it can be difficult for them to understand the level of planning involved, or the type of goals they need to be setting. Over time students should be able to tackle most tasks without additional information, however, this is a skill that is built up over time and with lots of practice!
5.Promote Time Management Skills
Self-regulated learning requires excellent time management skills, which is why it’s crucial to encourage students to build up this skill. A great way to do this is at the start of each school year or term, ask students to create their own study schedules, building it up around exam dates and project deadlines. This helps them start to visualise how much time they need to put into specific subjects beforehand and how planning out their schedule will benefit them in the long run.
6.Build Up A Self-Regulated Learning Toolkit
Finally, when it comes to self-regulated learning, it’s important to remember how easy it is for students to feel overwhelmed and stressed, which can mean they start to fall behind and feel demotivated. That’s why it’s an excellent idea to encourage students to build up a simple toolkit of ideas they can work through to help them get back on track with their learning. Here’s a few ideas of what this can include.
- Taking a mental break. Whether this is reading a book, listening to music, enjoying a hobby, going for a walk or doing yoga, it’s important for students to have a calm state of mind so they are able to refocus and get motivated.
- Revisit goals. Sometimes life can get busy, meaning students lose track of their goals. Going back through their original goals and either adjusting them slightly or making a new plan of action can help with self-regulation.
- Social support. If students need help getting back on track with their studies, it’s probably a good idea to connect with a parent, friend or teacher and ask for some support or guidance.