Academic journal article International Education Studies

Self-Regulation in the Learning Process: Actions through Self-Assessment Activities with Brazilian Students

Academic journal article International Education Studies

Self-Regulation in the Learning Process: Actions through Self-Assessment Activities with Brazilian Students

Article excerpt

Abstract

Learning a foreign language is, among other factors, based on the perception of one's own development and on undertaking strategies for greater communicative competence, which are founded in autonomous procedures that span the necessity for greater responsibility. As learning a language demands constant study, even after the school period - when there are no more teachers as mediators - the development of self-regulated learning skills becomes relevant. One option revealed in literature as a trigger for greater autonomy for learning, is the use of self-assessment. This study aimed at identifying and analyzing the potential of self-assessment for students to plan strategies and control their own actions, procedures which are part of self-regulated learning practice. The research adopted a qualitative approach in the form of a case study, and involved 25 students in the 8th grade of a public school in Northern Paraná, Brazil. Information from the instruments for data collection was subjected to thematic content analysis. The results reveal that self-assessment encourages the use of strategic planning and monitoring of one's own learning only if joined to teacher intervention and motivational strategies.

Keywords: self-assessment, self-regulated learning, English language learning

1. Introduction

Self-regulated learning has been drawing the attention of researchers and people who are involved in the field of education, due to students' daily struggle to acquire competence and academic control. Lack of responsibility and manifestation of procrastination lead to low levels of learning and high levels of dissatisfaction and stress (Zimmerman, 2011). Therefore, studies have shown the importance of working with self-regulated processes in the classroom in order to increase students' ability to regulate their own learning significantly, supported positively and enduringly by their motivational beliefs and self-efficacy (Rosário et al., 2005; Sá, 2004; Stoeger & Ziegler, 2011; Zimmerman & Cleary, 2004).

From a social cognitive perspective, self-regulated learning is a process in which one acts proactively in monitoring his or her own thoughts, behavior and feelings, aiming to reach pre-established goals (Zimmerman, 2002). According to Zimmerman (2002, p. 66), "self-regulation is important because a major function of education is the development of lifelong learning skills". The author points out that, after the school period, young adults need to continue learning other skills which help them function better in social, professional and cultural contexts, among others. Beyond the school walls, self-regulation is fundamental for the progressive and constant adoption of: "flexible answers to the problems and obstacles they face, sustaining perceptions of efficacy in delays or deviations to what was planned previously without, however, losing sight of the established goals." (Rosário et al., 2006, p. 81).

Despite the fact that children already recognize the importance of school activities to their learning from the age of ten (Sá, 2004), it seems that, over the years, students demonstrate less intrinsic pleasure in studying. However, elementary school teachers expect more independence from their students in relation to homework performance and length of study, thus delegating a greater quantity of activities from various subjects to be done at home. For this purpose, students need to have a good range of strategies and self-regulation skills, which generally doesn't happen in school reality. Most of the time, knowledge of self-regulation is poor, not allowing students to be aware of what and how to study in order to promote effective learning (Zimmerman & Cleary, 2004).

Preadolescents and adolescents "show fragilities in establishing goals and in anticipating the consequences of many courses of action, being less capable of controlling distractive elements by themselves (Rosário et al. …

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