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How to Guide Students to Self-Regulated Learning

Parents are often curious on how to motivate children to take the initiative when it comes to homework assignments and academic responsibilities. Here’s how to guide students to self-regulated learning!

Before discussing self-regulated learning, it’s important to define what the term actually means. According to the Literacy Information and Communication System (LINCS), self-regulated learning can be broken down into four categories: goal setting, self-monitoring, self-instruction, and self-reinforcement. Let’s break down each of them!

Goal Setting: An important part of attending school is time management – keeping track of due dates and allowing ample time to complete larger projects. When it comes to self-regulated learning, students should be able to budget their time more effectively if they have a clear understanding of which assignments should take priority. At Tutor Doctor, we often recommend students categorize their responsibilities into alpha (primary) and beta (secondary) tasks to assist in planning a schedule. Color coding is also an excellent tool to stay organized. Check out our guide on creating a planner that works for you!

Self-Monitoring: This component of self-regulated learning relates to gauging one’s own progress and level of attention. Students should “check in” with themselves every so often for a mental review of what they just absorbed. To help with focus and attention problems, we recommend setting up a quiet environment designated for homework that is free of background noise and electronic distractions. It’s also important for students not to binge study – cramming is never a good idea! When students self-monitor effectively, they should be able to allow for short breaks in order to stretch or grab a healthy snack to refuel.

Self-Instruction: This category involves a student’s ability to teach themselves new material, but also recognize when their understanding is lacking. Self-directed learning is the best way to practice self-instruction – homework assignments and independent projects are great examples. If your child is having difficulty with a concept, encourage them to do some sleuthing and see if they can find the answer themselves. Self-instruction is very much related to self-awareness – we want students to try their best to show confidence and teach themselves while also not being afraid to ask for assistance when something isn’t making sense.

Self-Reinforcement: Our final component relates to rewarding oneself for a job well done (a pat on the back!). This can be done in several different ways – from an academic standpoint, a student should congratulate themselves for their successes. Parents can help by providing additional praise when their child receives positive results. However, self-reinforcement also relates to resilience and a student’s ability to “bounce back” after a disappointing grade. Check out our blog on how to see failure in a positive light for more info on this topic! Finally, self-reinforcement also includes tangible rewards – giving yourself a well-deserved break after completing assignments is an excellent motivator! If you have an activity you particularly enjoy, use it as an incentive to finish your assignments on time.