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Teachers and Student Self-Regulation

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Uploaded image from Cristine Smith

Hi, all.  New to this group.  Cristine Smith here.  I just finished faciliating a three-session webinar on the research about adult student motivation and persistence.  We covered concepts such as self-efficacy, goal setting, and self-regulated learning, and their relationship to student motivation.  Self-regulation is defined as "Adopting a learning process where one (1) formulates learning goals, (2) tracks progress towards these goals, (3) identifies gaps in one’s knowledge or skills needed to achieve their goals, and (4) searches for relevant information or strategies to help them fill those gaps."  One of the issues we talked about on the webinar is the role of teachers in encouraging student self-regulation, particularly helping students track progress towards these goals.  One teacher asked this question:  Is there any evidence to suggest that some accountability toward the goals they plan is helpful? For example, is it helpful for a teacher to follow up with the student to discuss their progress toward their goal or is that regulating for them?  My response was that setting up a time to cue students to look at their goal and plan is always a good idea, and that the teacher would not be "regulating for them" if the teacher simply asked the students questions like, "So, what progress do you feel you are making towards your goals?" This made me then start thinking about the time constraints that teachers face, and I wondered, as program managers, whether any of you have built into the structure of your program an expectation that students should set their own goals, track their own progress, identify for themselves the gaps in knowledge and skills, and go out and find relevant info and strategies to fill those gaps.  Would you expect that teachers should do this as part of their classroom activities, or is there a time when students do that through counseling, or intake, or...?  If it is part of classroom activities, would this be something to discuss at a staff professional development meeting?  Have any of you had teachers who do this regularly?  Just curious how these types of activities, which are known to improve student motivation and persistence, have been or could be incorporated into program expectations and teachers or counselors supported to facilitate them.  Thanks, Cristine Smith (Associate Professor, UMass Amherst, former deputy director of NCSALL)  P.S.  I've also attached a graph that I made referring to the various evidence-based strategies for supporting student motivation and persistence).

 

Comments

Kaye Beall's picture

When I was teaching, I deliberately set aside time to consult with each student about the goals we had set collaboratively each week. That process started at intake and continued throughout the time the student attended classes. Students were motivated when they could see progress as well as tended to be more regular in attendance. It was a challenge to make time for this weekly update on goals, but it really did make a difference in student persistence.

Cristine Smith's picture

Kaye, thanks for weighing in.  I'm interested in hearing that you felt meeting regularly with students did make a difference in student persistence.  Some might worry that, for a student who isn't making much progress towards goals, this type of regular check in might be discouraging and actually worsen persistence...sort of like someone not wanting to go to the weekly weigh-in at a weight-watching program if they gained weight during that week.  Did you find that happening at all with any students who weren't seeing progress? If so, how did you deal with it?  If not, why do you think checking in on goals didn't decrease persistence even when a student wasn't making much progress?  Cris

Cristine Smith's picture

Kaye, thanks for weighing in. I'm interested in hearing that you felt meeting regularly with students did make a difference in student persistence. Some might worry that, for a student who isn't making much progress towards goals, this type of regular check in might be discouraging and actually worsen persistence...sort of like someone not wanting to go to the weekly weigh-in at a weight-watching program if they gained weight during that week. Did you find that happening at all with any students who weren't seeing progress?If so, how did you deal with it? If not, why do you think checking in on goals didn't decrease persistence even when a student wasn't making much progress? Cris

Kaye Beall's picture

I usually met with students once a week...and just briefly. The trick was to set goals for the week and to negotiate something that could be accomplished if the student came to class. We were taking small steps toward the longer term goals. 

I see your point about not seeing progress although I can't remember a student not seeing progress in at least one area...unless they weren't attending class. Then we had a discussion about attendance and checking out any barriers there and ways to create support systems.

Prue's picture

Cristine,

This is what works for me, along with trying to encourage students to own their learning process. Teachers teach it's our job, but the student's job is to learn. I think, for what ever the reasons, we have created a dependent group of low-literacy learners. Many of my students are young mothers with Toddlers. I ask them how they taught their children to dress, feed themselves and so on. They inevitably tell me that they did not give up on their children, and eventually their children learned their tasks. I ask them to now, use that same strategy on themselves.

Goal setting is part of the language that I try to use in the classroom, and we do a formal project on setting Smart Goals. I try to instill an understanding of intention rather than tell people just to set some Goals. I give them a few sentences structure to  their goal statements on using the old tried and true SMART goals. specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound.

“It is my intention to (insert goal outcome statement). I will achieve this by accomplishing these (at least 3 steps/tasks) by (add time parameter) I know I have achieved the goal I have set when I can (see, touch, improve my GPA by % or prove by other tangible means.)

Forcing them to put three steps allows them enough room to negotiate the tasks in reaching their goals if something changes. After they get the hang of it they can take off the training wheels and not be so wordy.

It usually sounds like this:

  • 1st Attempt at goal setting. “ I want to make better grades” this is just a whish not a goal.
  • Better Goal : It is my intention to make an A in my math 0099 class this semester. I will achieve my goal of increased GPA by doing these three things. 1. Discussing my performance with my teacher and asking for her advice on how to study, 2. Studying at the same time during the school week and tracking my assignments, and tests. 3. Reading my textbook, before I go to class and making notes during class. I will know that I am able to achieve my goal when I can evaluate I have passed every weekly test and the midterm and final.

once they get the idea that they have a creative power to control areas of their lives with goals, budgets and calenders some of the stress in their lives changes.

Prue

to be breif, goals/achivement become part of the every day language

Michelle Carson's picture

Prue,

I appreciated your example and I like how you have embedded goal setting into your classroom. The goal that you describe is one that most students have some idea about how to achieve, however, some of the goals the learner may have seen as not possible or failed at before.  I do think it is important to teach the skill of goal setting explicitly.  If a student has a goal of going to college--how many students would have experience with or know the steps implied in pursuing and attaining that goal? Aptitude tests, College searches, admission testing, admission applications, FAFSA filing, selecting class schedules, etc.  Just as no teacher would expect a learner to enter the classroom and know implicitly how to make educational gains in order to achieve their education goal, (the teacher teaches/facilitates) it is important that the goal setting process is taught explicitly including the specific steps involved with achieving the goal. Checklists are one way that a learner can understand the myriad of steps and review her/his progress, providing incremental checkpoints for the learner allows her/him to still own the decision and their progress. It also sets expectations and provides the student with a pragmatic way of self-monitoring progress with the teacher's encouragement. 

 

Michelle

Betsy Rubin - Chicago's picture

Christine,

You mention a 3-session webinar on research on adult student motivation and persistence. Is this webinar archived and accessible anywhere? Are there any related materials accessible online?

I am aware of  "Improving Adult Literacy Instruction: Supporting Learning & Motivation" from National Academies Press (http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=13469and also the Adult Learner Persistence website (http://www.nelrc.org/persist/index.html) but am eager to find more resources.

 

Thank you!

Betsy Rubin, Adult & Family Literacy Specialist

Literacy Works, Chicago IL

gailcope's picture

Betsy,

The webinar series was not archived but we hope to be able to offer the series again soon.  I will post an announcement in this group when dates have been set.

I just posted an overview of the first webinar as a new discussion in this group titled "Self Efficacy and Adult Student Motivation".  The overview includes key concepts and a chart which provides research findings and implications for practice.  During the next week, I will post summaries of the other 2 webinars.

You also could do a key word search in the LINCS Community and in the LINCS Resource Collection to find discussions and/or publications that relate to motivation, persistence, engagement, and other related terms.  Another excellent source for resources is the National Center for the Study of Adult Literacy and Learning (NCSALL) which can be found at http://www.ncsall.net/ .  That site archives research, reports, and publications and includes several resources on motivation and persistence.

I would like to hear from group members about other resources which you have found helpful that relate to motivation, persistence, and engagement!

Thanks!

Gail Cope, SME, Program Management

 

 

 

 

 

David J. Rosen's picture

Hi Cris,

You wrote, "My response was that setting up a time to cue students to look at their goal and plan is always a good idea, and that the teacher would not be "regulating for them" if the teacher simply asked the students questions like, "So, what progress do you feel you are making towards your goals?" This made me then start thinking about the time constraints that teachers face, and I wondered, as program managers, whether any of you have built into the structure of your program an expectation that students should set their own goals, track their own progress, identify for themselves the gaps in knowledge and skills, and go out and find relevant info and strategies to fill those gaps."

This is an area where technology may be able to help students and teachers, at least with the cueing. For example, several years ago OTAN in California developed Adulted Online, http://adultedonline.org/ a free online professional development system for teachers interested in improving their technology skills. In addition to specific learning goals and competencies, and online and other learning resources to complete their professional development plan and achieve their goals, there is an optional feature that allows a teacher to set progress check-in reminders. On the schedule they set, they receive an email reminder, something like "You said you wanted to complete goal 1,( the goal) by (the date). How's it going?" Some teachers like this; some don't.

I wonder if there is software that makes it easy for a teacher to work with students to develop their learning goals, and that has a reminder feature, or better still, that offers other options like being able to select from a menu of ways one can be stuck, and for each getting helpful suggestions on how to move forward. Of course, this wouldn't replace the very important involvement of a teacher, but might help teachers and learners know when and how a teacher's time might best be spent -- with which students and on which issues.

David J. Rosen

djrosen123@gmail.com

Jon Engel's picture

David et al.,

This particular topic is one that we have been talking a lot about in my program as prepare for the Fall semsester.  We have good systems for doing gola seting with our students at the beginning of "semesters", but we have not been so good about setting up regular times to revisit and revise goals.  This year we are revising our goal setting forms so that revisting goals at leat twice per "semester".  the baisc thought is to revisit goal setting at the tiem of progress assessment when there is an opportunity to discuss progress and refind goals.

 

Jon

 

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