Facilitating Self-Regulation in Linguistics Classrooms. (Language Teaching & Learning)

By Lanehart, Sonja L.; Schutz, Paul A. | Academic Exchange Quarterly, Fall 2001 | Go to article overview

Facilitating Self-Regulation in Linguistics Classrooms. (Language Teaching & Learning)


Lanehart, Sonja L., Schutz, Paul A., Academic Exchange Quarterly


Abstract

This paper uses current theory and research in educational psychology to explicate how instructors in Linguistics classrooms can create activity settings that facilitate the development of students' self-regulated learning skills. The focus of the discussion is on the importance of goals in self-regulation and how goal-setting can be integrated into classroom activity settings. In addition, characteristics of activities that can be used to help develop self-regulated learning skills are presented. Finally, the process of facilitating students' self-regulated learning will be discussed as it relates to classroom management issues. The hope is that by combining research in educational psychology with Linguistics pedagogy a mutually beneficial interdisciplinary relationship will result that will better serve students and teachers' classroom practice.

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One of the dilemmas for today's teachers is whether we should teach self-regulation and critical thinking skills in addition to the content of subjects like linguistics and history in order to help students direct their own learning. Students obviously need both self-regulation and critical thinking skills in addition to content knowledge because the usefulness of the skills and content knowledge they acquire today will benefit them in their ability to regulate and continue their learning outside a classroom environment in the future. For this reason, self-regulated learning must be a concern of educational research and practice regardless of discipline.

Self-regulated learning is a multidimensional skill that is exemplified by students who are metacognitively, motivationally, and behaviorally active participants in their own learning (Zimmerman, 1986). In other words, as students develop their self-regulatory skills they become active controlling participants who direct what they learn and how they go about learning. Although there are different approaches to self-regulated learning, they do have at least one thing in common: the importance of goals in self-regulation. In fact, for most researchers, the term "self-regulation" implies that something is being used as a reference point to guide one's behavior (e.g., Carver & Scheier, 1982; D. Ford, 1987; M. Ford, 1992; Schutz, 1991, 1994, in press). Simply put, you cannot regulate without something to compare where you are with where you want to be. Goals are seen as those points of comparison because what you know and do now should help you achieve your goal of being at a higher level of development later. In other words, you need to be able to access your level of knowledge, self-regulation, and critical thinking skills so that you know where you are now and how far you need to go to get to a higher level of knowledge and skills.

With the importance of goals for self-regulation in mind, it becomes clear that in order to facilitate self-regulation in the classroom students need opportunities to develop their own goals and regulate their learning in relationship to those goals. In addition, if we want students to regulate their learning when they leave school, they need the opportunity to regulate their leaning while they are in school. This is important at all grade levels though activities to accomplish such will vary for elementary, junior high, high school, and college grade levels. Although most of the suggested activities described herein are targeted toward some high school and college classrooms, many can certainly be modified to be appropriate for all grade levels.

Facilitating goal development for self-regulated learning

Goals are an important part of the self-regulation process and a good place to begin facilitating the development of self-regulated learning skills. There are three steps that can be used to begin this process. First, create activities that provide students the opportunity to develop their skills at setting "useful" goals. …

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