As we discussed the science behind SRL and the implications to the classroom I feel there are still many misconceptions. The term Self-Regulated Learning itself is somewhat of a misnomer. Taken very literally, 'self'' is a singular term. This implies that the person must do this on their own. The implication to the classroom is that this term disregards the role of the teacher or peers in helping to regulate or CO-regulate students. In our own lives, we often rely on others to keep us grounded and self-aware and therefore, we cannot expect students to come to school as young as 4 years old able to 'self' regulate all the time by themselves. It is our job to help them through modelling our own regulation, as well as supporting students to find their just right place. Then there is the word 'regulated.' This term in past tense implies something complete, in the past tense or a precursor to actual learning. Thus quite literally, 'self-regulated learning' implies that students must, on their own be regulated for them to begin learning. We simply know this is not the case, nor can we expect that once regulated all kids will learn the same thing at the same time.
The second misconception I see impeding proper implementation of SRL is when we consistently refer to SRL as a noun instead of a verb. Education is ripe with processes labelled as nouns. No more is this the case as SRL and Inquiry. These two dispositions when woven together allow us to see how they are interconnected and reflect how we approach learning as a whole; instead of the things we do for students. When we consider our brains have built in systems for self-regulation that develop over time and with experience, and that we are also pre-disposed to inquiring into our environments, we are able to see how capitalizing on these innate mental processes can influence learning. Therefore, SRL is not an 'add-on' to what we do in class. It is simply capitalizing on student's dispositions, wonderings and inquiries, while helping them develop new strategies to navigate the process successfully. As Dr. Stuart Shanker suggests, "Self-regulation is a process and not a packaged program that comes complete with a predetermined set of 'regulating tools'." As we implement SRL into our classrooms, we need to re-think the fidget tools, wiggle cushions and de-cluttering of classrooms as Self-Regulated Learning. While useful, these are just 'things' and do not reflect the active process of teaching how these things allow us to be (verb) Self-Regulated and how being self-regulated helps us be alert and attentive to the learning process.
As I reflect upon my own self-regulating processes, I am able to look towards others and the needs their actions are trying to meet. This has helped me become a better father, teacher and colleague. As I share my journey and missteps, I am trying to tackle some of the misconceptions noted above. Looking ahead, we need to continue to incorporate the essential elements of SRL which are the neuro-physiological domains of SRL, Social Emotional Learning and Executive Functioning Skills. While these seem like broad topics and more just added on to an already full curriculum, they are the key predictors of success and the heart of 21st Century skills.
In your journey to implementing SRL, have you taken a similar approach? Have you seen similar misconceptions and what do we need to do to move forward?