Academic journal article The Qualitative Report

Teachers' Perspectives regarding the Impacts of the Secondary Education Expansion Policy on Students' Self-Regulatory Learning Experiences in Tanzania

Academic journal article The Qualitative Report

Teachers' Perspectives regarding the Impacts of the Secondary Education Expansion Policy on Students' Self-Regulatory Learning Experiences in Tanzania

Article excerpt

Many African countries have signed a number of international conventions to address the challenges of access to education. As a consequence, these countries and Tanzania in particular, developed education expansion policies directed towards the establishment of new schools as part of their commitment to the implementation of these resolutions. The policy focused on three main areas: increasing access, improving equity and enhancing the quality of education. As a result of this expansion policy, the number of schools and enrolment rates skyrocketed. While between 2004 and 2008, the number of schools increased by 194%, the enrolment rates rose from 22.2% to 84.3% in 2005 and 2007 respectively. In spite of the government's efforts to expand secondary education sector, student achievement has been declining, with the majority of lower secondary student leavers getting marginal pass grades or failing completely. This concern can be seen in the following data which shows that the student failure rate started to increase from 16.3% in 2008 to 49.6% in 2010, 46.4% in 2011, and 60.1% in 2012 (Ministry of Education and Vocational Training, 2011, 2012). This poor performance trend indicates that the expansion policy operated in challenging environment which in turn produced detrimental impacts on student learning. Daniela (2015) and Mega, Ronconi, and Beni (2014) argue that students' success does not only rely on teachers' commitment, but also how students themselves are self-regulated to learn. Therefore, since the impact of the Tanzanian secondary education reforms on students' self-regulatory learning has seldom been explored, my study set out to seek teachers' perceptions and understandings around this issue. One research question which this study has endeavoured to answer was: how do teachers explain implications of the secondary education development programme for students' learning behaviours?

A Review of Self-Regulatory Learning Concept

In the last three decades, a considerable number of researchers have attempted to integrate the key components of Bandura's learning theory with findings from other areas of cognitive psychology (Bruning, Schrow, & Norby, 2011; Krause, Bochner, Duchesne, & McMaugh, 2010). These attempts resulted in the development of self-regulatory learning theory. Self-regulatory learning refers to learners' personal responsibility and control for their own acquisition of knowledge, skills and attitudes (Ormrod, 2008; Zimmerman, 1989). These researchers, and other writers (Banisaeid & Huang, 2015; Lavasani, Mirhosseini, Hejazi, & Davoodi, 2011; Margaryan, Littlejohn, & Milligan, 2013; Schunk, 2005); however, highlight that self-regulatory learners do not necessarily learn on their own. Instead, these learners may ask for other people's assistance to enable them to work more independently. In this regard, teachers, parents and mentors endeavour to encourage or teach students to become self-directed learners. Santrock (2006) suggests that teachers who inspire their students to be self-directed learners convey a message that students are responsible for their own academic well-being. With regard to this, social cognitive theorists and cognitive psychologists conclude that selfregulatory learning is one of the best ways to enhance students' intellectual independence (Bruning et al., 2011), and learning habits and study skills (Zumbrunn, Tadlock, & Roberts, 2011).

A growing body of literature highlights that a professional teacher seeks to ensure that effective teaching and learning takes place. However, in order to achieve this particular educational goal certain pre-requisites are required. Gurney (2007), for instance, mentioned five factors responsible for achieving quality teaching and learning. These factors are teachers' knowledge and morale; classroom activities which encourage intellectual critical thinking and curiosity; assessment tasks which stimulate learning through experiences; effective feedback; and an interactive environment for teacher and students. …

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