In Khalifah Model School (Secondary), when we transformed the school system from teacher-centered essentialism to student-centered progressivism, we believed that this transformation will help to save our students from being victimised by public education that concentrates a lot on low order thinking skills, mainly memorising and understanding. The transformation involved a lot of different approaches in teaching. In the new setting, students are supposed to take charge of their own learning, with teachers changing their role from being the ‘expert’ in content to the expert in designing a learning activity.
But we found our students got stuck in many ways. The progressive setting of active learning, inquiry learning and contextual learning do not easily assist them to improve their learning. One of the things we discovered is our students are not individually competent to make the transformation success. They are not self regulated learners.
So, how can you expect them to take charge of their learning, and to reduce their dependency on what the teachers feed?
To me, self regulated learning is a concept where learning can be progressively built by a learner who has the accurate, positive and motivating worldview in pushing him or herself towards betterment in learning. The student identified his or her strengths and enhance them, identified the weaknesses and has the skills to overcome the weaknesses. He or she also is always mindful about his present learning condition at the metacognitive level. When students do not understand something, they know what to do, where to go, who to ask and they do them as it should be. When these conditions achieved, we are now more confident that through many group tasks in collaborative environment, learning is actually happened at the individual level of each of our students.
Because of this, we delay the content of the curriculum a little bit and take time to support our students changing themselves from a spoonfed habit into a more skillful self regulated learner.
And please be patient, dear teachers and especially parents. It is not a simple process. SLR is not something limited only to our children’s academic life but it is the foundation of lifelong learning spirit. When Islam sets the idea of learning which should be from the cradle to grave, this cannot be achieved, unless students are nurtured with SRL. Then only examinations, schools, degrees will not limit their commitment to learning and knowledge.
It is not enough to change the way the teachers teach. We equally need to assist our students to change the way they learn. No matter what activities we arrange for them, learning occurs in the brain of our students, individually. Always see your students as individuals and support them individually.
LET, Oulun Yliopisto