The Implementation of Self-Regulated Learning

One of the key themes that are discussed by Martin and McLellan (2008) and Paris and Paris (2001) is a variety of definitions, omissions, and contradictions in the definition of self-regulated learning in education. These issues limit the professional and scientific advancements, which are related to disregarding different perspectives and paying attention only to one or some of them. In terms of Foucault’s philosophy, when a person uses the self to understand himself or herself, it is a practice of freedom. Martin and McLellan (2008) develop the above idea and state that teachers often fail to properly encourage students to refer to their selves. Namely, they pay more attention to institutional mandates than students’ individualities. Therefore, teachers are to show examples and stimulate interpretations to improve students’ self-management instead of merely providing direct instructions. As for research, the above authors recommend that future studies should become more universal in terms of definitions.

The implementation of research on self-regulation in students is deeply explored by Paris and Paris (2001), who assume that students of all ages are to be educated to become independent and strategic learners. Within the last years, self-regulated learning (SRL) was confirmed to promote cognitive thinking, task engagement, social support, and motivation. In their study, Paris, and Paris (2001) review the contribution of SRL research into practice in three areas, such as reading/writing, self-assessment, and cognitive engagement in assignments. One of the most convincing arguments is provided regarding cognitive engagement, which states that only those students whose needs are met by the learning context can be involved. This argument requires the tasks to be interesting to the students, life-related and promoting cooperation. However, if the tasks include worksheets, rote memorization, and other non-engaging strategies only, it is not likely that the class will be academically successful.

There is a range of perspectives that explain how SRL is implemented in practice. Answering the question of how students become self-regulated, Paris and Paris (2001) claim that each of the designs is a personal theory of SRL. It means that students can learn from their experience, observing others, self-regulation tasks, and so on. While they can build ill-informed or appropriate theories, their knowledge and skills would grow, which is important for mastering cognitive strategies and learning to cope with learning challenges. In their turn, teachers also have a lot of ways to adopt educational psychology research findings, beginning with discussions and ending with the minimization of tests (Paris & Paris, 2001). Open-ended instructional activities and the search for alternatives to resolve a problem are great strategies to develop self-regulation in students.

Four sociological perspectives on the implications of SRL are explored by Vassello (2011). Functionalism implies that a student succeeds in education due to personal hard work, and no oppressive regimen can serve as a barrier. According to neo-Marxism, a class position determines the quality of education a person would receive. Symbolic interactionism states that not structural determinism, but the social lives of individuals matter. In terms of the cultural reproduction theory, a person’s behaviors and thoughts should be considered about cultural specifics, which are to include material and intangible details (Vassello, 2011). It is significant to apply multiple perspectives to consider the importance and relevance of various ideas, thus strengthening those of them that meet students’ needs and motivate them to become self-regulated learners.


Martin, J. & McLellan, A.M. (2008). The educational psychology of self-regulation: A conceptual and critical analysis. Studies in Philosophy and Education, 27(6), 433-448.

Paris. S., & Paris. G. (2001). Classroom applications of research on self-regulated learning. Educational Psychologist, 36(2), 89-101.

Vassello, S. (2011). Implications of institutionalizing self-regulated learning: An analysis from four sociological perspectives. Educational Studies, 47(1), 26-49.

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