Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Becoming a Self-Regulated Learner

Annotation created by Melissa Han

Zimmerman, B.(Spring 2002).Becoming a Self-Regulated Learner.Theory into Practice,41(2),64-70.


~”Although these studies have clearly revealed how self-regulatory

processes lead to success in school, few teachers currently prepare students to learn on their own”(64).

~”Although teachers also need to know a student's strengths and limitations in learning, their goal should be to empower their students to become self-aware of these differences”(65).

~”Even if it were possible for teachers to accommodate every student's limitation at any point during the school day, their assistance could undermine the most important aspect of this learning-a student's development of a capability to self-regulate”(65).

~”Self-regulation refers to self-generated thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that are oriented to attaining goals”(65).


“Becoming a Self-Regulated Learner” defines self-regulation as having self-generated thoughts, feelings, and behaviors as an act that students do for themselves in a proactive way. These types of learners are aware of their strengths and limitations, therefore are guided by personally set goals and task-oriented strategies. Zimmerman goes on to state that self-regulation is not a trait that some students possess or lack, but that can be taught. Teachers should empower students to be aware of what they need to know about themselves in order to mange their limitations during efforts to learn.

Student learning level is based on the presence or absence of the following characteristics of self-regulation:

  • ·Set specific proximal goals for self
  • · Adopt powerful strategies for attaining goals
  • · Monitor one’s performance for signs of progress
  • · Restructure one’s physical and social context to make it compatible with goals
  • · Manage one’s time use efficiently
  • · Self-evaluate one’s methods
  • · Attribute causation to results
  • · Adapt future methods

The self-regulation process has three phases. Phase one is forethought. Within the forethought phase, students have goal setting and strategic planning. Next in the performance phase, students have self-control and self-observation. The final phase is self-reflection where students self-evaluate. Novice self-regulators don’t do the forethought phase and rely on comparing their learning to others. Expert self-regulators will self-evaluate to their personal goals rather than to others.

Zimmerman states that interventions should be created for students with lower levels of self-regulation development. Some suggested interventions is to give students choices regarding academic tasks to pursue, teach methods for carrying out complex assignments, study partners, and assess student beliefs about learning in order to identify cognitive or motivational difficulties before they become problematic.


As I read the section about creating interventions for students with lower self-regulatory development, the thought “Have I had it all wrong this whole time?!” came to my mind. Interventions have typically been for the concept or skill that a student is missing. But this article is stating that it’s not conceptual but the self-regulatory skills that need to be taught or emphasized. As I seek to increase student voice and reflection to guide my teaching and our learning, I realize that we will need to dwell on the forethought phase where we will learn how to set goals for ourselves.

Other Sources:

Schunk, D.H., & Zimmerman, B.J. (Eds.). (1998). Self-regulated learning: From teaching

to self-reflective practice. New York: Guilford Press.

Zimmerman, B.J., & Risemberg, R. (1997). Becoming a self-regulated writer: A social

cognitive perspective. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 22, 73-101.

Zimmerman, B.J., & Campillo, M. (in press). Motivating self-regulated problem solvers.

In J.E. Davidson & R. Sternberg (Eds.), The nature of problem solving. New

York: Cambridge University Press.

Zimmerman, B.J., Bonner, S., & Kovach, R. (1996). Developing self-regulated learners:

Beyond achievement to self-efficacy. Washington, DC: American Psychological


Zimmerman, B.J. (2000). Attainment of self-regulation: A social cognitive perspective. In

M. Boekaerts, P.R. Pintrich, & M. Zeidner (Eds.), Handbook of

self-regulation (pp. 13-39). San Diego, CA: Academic Press.

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