SRL in English Language Teaching

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missmaryam

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Feb 6, 2016
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United Arab Emirates
Hi All!

Some of you may be familiar with SRL and some not. I would like to share my ideas about it and how I think it plays a great role in English language Teaching. I currently teach English to adults at the Elementary level. SRL stands for Self-regulated learning. In simplest terms it means to take control of and evaluate one's own behaviour in learning. A self-regulated learner works hard to achieve his/her goals and has the motivation to do so despite outside factors which may hinder the learning process. A self-regulated learner is focused and succeeds in accomplishing learning goals.

In my class for example, students want to learn English in order to communicate better with their colleagues at work, improve their writing and reading skills, and more importantly become more fluent in their speaking. A self-regulated learner in my class for example would always come to class on time, do his homework, ask questions if he did not understand something and practice speaking English outside of class not only to achieve good grades but to improve his own learning and implement what was learned in class for his own benefit. At the end of the day he is focused on his own learning and benefit rather than grades.

I have such a student in my class - he wants to get into medical school. He needs to first learn English very well and pass an IELTS exam in order to apply. Although he is just starting out as a beginner, he is focused on what he needs to do, he stays on task in class and does not get distracted although other students sometimes laugh and make jokes and do not pay attention. He is always diligent in his homework, participates in class and is not afraid to ask questions, even if it seems like a silly one. I have firm belief that this student will succeed as he has a specific goal in mind and is motivated in working hard towards achieving it.

This, in a nutshell is what it means to be a self-regulated learner, and I think if we as teachers instill this habit into our students they will benefit far more greatly in their journey of learning English - they will not just focus on getting a good grade and passing the course but will actually learn and benefit from using the English language.

Any thoughts or comments?
 

Skrej

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Yes, these kinds of dream students are fantastic. However, in my experience, they're a relatively small percentage of any given class.

Off the top of my head, I'd say something like only 5% of my students at any one time are like that. If you included students who are still good students, but are primarily focusing on getting good grades, then the number goes up to maybe 40%.

Then there's the ones who are putting in a mediocre effort - those make up the bulk of any class. Finally, you've always got several who are the complete opposite of your SRL. You're not really sure why they enroll, because they clearly not there to learn.

I primarily teach adult learners, so even my most dedicated students still have to focus on other real life issues with sick kids, job schedules, etc. It's not that they don't value learning English, but there are times when you just have to skip class to take the kid to the ER, attend parent teacher conferences, work overtime, show up for court hearings, renew visas, attend funerals, return to home country, etc.
 

missmaryam

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Feb 6, 2016
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English Teacher
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English
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Canada
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United Arab Emirates
Hi Skrej,

Yes, you do have valid points. Many people are juggling so many different things in their lives and it's hard to stay focused at times. I think that's the whole point of SRL - to learn how to manage time and accomplish what you need to do despite outside factors... it can of course get overwhelming and stressful at times but somehow people manage to do everything.

I think we as teachers need to learn more about SRL and impart this knowledge to our students and help them make their lives a little easier!

Any tips on time management we can give to our students to make things a little easier for them?
 

Tdol

No Longer With Us (RIP)
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UK
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Japan
I don't want to have to assess hospitals, which I am currently being encouraged to do- I am not qualified to do so, so I want to go to a hospital near my home, and if they cannot do it, to be referred by a doctor who knows what they are talking about to someone with the expertise to deal with my case. SRL is all very well and good, but if the teacher doesn't come across as an authority, then I think it's weakening things. Getting students to take more responsibility can be good, but it has its limits, and de-skilling teachers is one of those limits for me.
 
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