What is self-regulated learning?
Self-regulated learning shifts the classroom dynamic so that the teacher no longer holds and gives all of the knowledge. Ultimately, we want students to know that they have the power and capability to gain knowledge through their own efforts. This shift results in students becoming active participants in their own learning rather than being passive listeners that accept information at face value.
Self-regulated learning is a process. Students have to plan out how they are going to answer a question or solve a problem. Then they use strategies, skills, and prior knowledge to figure it out. As they are working, they are also reflecting on their progress and results to generate further questions. When students are able to take ownership over their learning and test their theories, they develop critical thinking skills that will help them differentiate between what is and is not true. This is an especially important skill in today's society. The world is constantly changing as technology and science progress. As new knowledge and information present itself and/or dispute what they have previously learned, they need to be able to analyze, utilize a critical eye, have an open mind, and research further to confirm or deny what they encounter.
In order to achieve this type of classroom dynamic, tasks must be student-centered and student-led. In this environment, the teacher becomes a guide. The teacher's role is to encourage students to ask meaningful questions for deeper exploration of concepts, take risks and try new things, and research what they do not know. Student-centered and student-led tasks can be facilitated by tapping into students’ natural curiosity and interests. We believe that curiosity motivates students to explore and take charge over their learning, and can foster a genuine love for learning.
How will we implement self-regulated learning in our classroom?
One-on-one time → We limit a class size to 25 students with 2 homeroom teachers. Since most of our school day is filled with student work time, teachers have time to sit down with individual students to develop deep relationships. Students need to trust teachers in order for them to feel comfortable enough to discuss areas of need and struggles, brainstorm strategies and next steps, and set goals. Teachers also need to trust students and give them the autonomy and space to explore and work independently.
Project-based learning → Through projects that connect with their real lives, we provide opportunities for students to acquire new skills and practice learned skills in a meaningful way. For example, instead of adding two numbers just to practice computation, students are utilizing their addition skills to solve real problems they encounter in their project. Students naturally begin using the skills they have learned to progress in their project. Not only will students gain and use hard skills, like subject knowledge, but they will also gain and use soft skills (communication, teamwork, collaboration, etc.).
Learning arcs → Our learning arcs are specific enough for students to know what direction we are working towards for our project, and open-ended enough so that students can research and explore other points of curiosity that arise during the project. Learning arcs are flexible as the timing of each arc fluctuates in response to our students' pace and interests. Students are encouraged to inquire further about topics they are curious about, which may extend the duration of the arc. Exploration will sometimes require a bit of risk-taking. Exploration will always present challenges.
Closing circle → During this time, students are given time and space to reflect on their academic work, character development, and behavior. As they reflect, they will consider the progress they have made, any obstacles they have faced, and what their next steps could be. By allowing students to independently monitor their own progress, they become self-aware and are more self-motivated to achieve personal growth. They learn to be responsible over themselves and their own learning.