By Michael Piccirillo, Ed.D, CASDA Executive Director
Happy Holidays and Happy New Year to you and your family! Before you head off to a well-deserved two-week break, we at CASDA are excited to bring you the last View from Here of 2019.
With the new year around the corner I thought it would be a good time to talk about goal setting. Traditionally, January 1st represents the start of resolutions for the new year. Resolution is just another word for setting goals. Each year when I take out my “goals grid,” my wife jokes with me about my goal setting “obsession,” her word. The annual process involves reflecting on the progress I have made toward a set of ongoing personal goals that include yearly and five-year targets. Reflection from my perspective represents a form of self-assessment. In terms of each goal, I assess where I’m trying to go, where I am at now and how I can close the gap to achieving my goals. Interestingly, I can’t remember exactly where or why I started this annual assessment process.
Thinking about my goal setting habits in the context of last month’s newsletter it became apparent to me that over time I developed some metacognitive skills. Specifically, I discovered these goal setting actions represent what Black & William (2009) refer to as self-regulated learning. Self-regulated learning is “the study of how and when learners set goals and then systematically carry out cognitive, affective, and behavioral practices and procedures that move them closer to these goals” (Black & William, 2009). This discovery inspired me to continue with the conversation about metacognition from last month. To that end, we are including in this month’s newsletter a CASDA research brief exploring the relationship between Zimmerman and Schunk’s foundational work on self-regulation and Zaretta Hammond’s “Learning Partnership Alliance” as outlined in Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain.
In November, we scratched the surface on the topic of metacognition. A few days after the November newsletter was distributed, I was contacted by Dr. Heidi Andrade, Associate Professor, Educational Psychology and Methodology in the University at Albany School of Education. She informed me of her interest and work in the study of metacognition. Specifically, one facet of metacognition, self-regulated learning, has been a focus for Dr. Andrade. Additionally, she shared with me the link to a website for the Self-Regulated Learning Lab, developed under a grant from the U.S. Department of Education.
The Self-Regulated Learning Lab website can be accessed here: https://srl.daacs.net/. On the homepage of the website you will find the following explanation for why self-regulated learning is important: Self-regulated learners strategically manage how they learn in order to meet their goals. Self-regulation strategies help students achieve more academically, study more efficiently, and have a more positive school experience. As you explore the site, you will find tabs under the menu for related topics including metacognition, motivation and learning strategies. Under metacognition for example, there are pages dedicated to planning, monitoring, evaluation, writing strategies, studying strategies, and reading strategies. All the information is presented in visually appealing graphics.
As referenced above in Black and Williams definition of self-regulated learning learners develop “practices and procedures” to move closer to achieving their goals. One of those practices is self-assessment. Panadero, Jonsson, and Botella (2017) analyzed 19 studies in four metanalyses examining the relationship between self-assessment, self-regulated learning and self-efficacy. They concluded, “We therefore reiterate that self-assessment needs to be a major instructional aim in every classroom, but not only for the sake of improving performance.” The authors further contend, “Since self-assessment intervention has an impact on students’ SRL and self-efficacy, self-assessment needs to be implemented for the sake of student’s empowerment and self-sustained learning.”
Self-assessment is not a skill I learned in school; however, wouldn’t it be nice if all students learned about self-regulation and self-assessment? Consider how empowering it would be for our students if they were taught to set goals, self-assess the progress they are making toward achieving those goals and adjusted based on their assessment. As you celebrate the New Year and perhaps think about your own goals/resolutions for 2020, consider giving your students the opportunity to do the same on the first day back and begin the process toward building self-regulation skills that will benefit them now and in the future.