A Critical Analysis of Self-regulated Learning and Strategy Use: SRL in NZ Schools' Policies, and Some Implications for Students With Learning Difficulties
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Self-Regulated Learning (SRL) is an extraordinary umbrella that includes various aspects of learning like cognition, metacognition, behaviour, emotions and motivation. It has become an important topic of research because of the high correlation between SRL strategies and academic performance. There are several theoretical perspectives that help us analyse the concept of SRL and multiple definitions aimed at identifying the important features of self-regulated learners. Several models of SRL have been presented which help us understand the key cognitive and metacognitive processes involved in the learning process and how the use of strategies can help to optimize achievement among learners. Zimmerman’s cyclical model of self-regulation is of specific importance as it not only presented a multi-dimensional perspective of learning, but also provided teachers with a framework to introduce strategy instruction in the classroom and improve self-regulation among students. Having established the high correlation between SRL strategies and academic performance, the present research sets out to understand how SRL strategy instruction could help enhance the academic performance of students with learning difficulties. Several cognitive and metacognitive strategies like self-monitoring, time management, self-instruction, imagery, goal setting and deep processing strategies are found to be effective in helping students who find learning tasks challenging. Good and effective feedback by teachers is another important tool that can help place students on a pathway of empowered strategic thinking and action. The process of feedback can be specifically important for students with learning difficulties as it helps them to understand their own learning behaviour and the strategies they can use in future to improve their performance. To gain an understanding of how SRL skills and strategies, and the key competencies are embedded in the curriculum delivery system in New Zealand, the school charter and strategic plan of five schools were studied. A huge variation was found in the planning and vision of different schools and it was only through the process of purposive sampling that enough data could be collected around the use of key competencies in the curriculum. This research helps us to understand that while the use of SRL strategies is considered an important indicator of academic success, there is a need for further research into the topic. There is a need to understand the causal relationship between SRL and academic performance in the context of students with learning difficulties, and develop a module of intervention that can be implemented in the Innovative Learning Environments in New Zealand through inquiry based learning.