Meeting the Needs of Educators in Professional Development for Self-Regulated Learning: Bridging the Gap from Theory to Practice
Jorgensen, Janette Dahl
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There is a growing awareness within education of the necessity to explicitly teach self-regulated learning skills (Spruce & Bol, 2014). Documents published by the Ontario Ministry of Education, With Our Best Future in Mind (2009) and Every Child, Every Opportunity (2010), demonstrates that there is a critical need to shift away from traditional teaching pedagogies toward pedagogies focused on the development of autonomous learning through fostering self-regulated learning (SRL) skills. Today’s businesses and workplaces require skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, collaboration, effective communication, motivation, persistence, learning to learn and self-management (Pelligrino & Hilton, 2012). Given the importance researchers and policy makers have placed on SRL it would appear obvious that teachers would be expected to foster SRL in their daily practices with students in K to 12. Although elementary teachers believe SRL to be important, the development and fostering of SRL in elementary classrooms remains limited (De Smul, Heirwig, Devos & Van Keer, 2019). On the surface offering professional development (PD) to support educators in the fostering of SRL seems a practical solution. However, many teachers are unsatisfied with the PD available to them and as a result do not always take advantage of the PD on offer. The purpose of this project was to create a PD programme that is flexible and therefore able to address the individual needs of teachers and still provide opportunities for teachers to be involved in collaborative learning. The idea of co-learning, opportunities for professional dialogue, networking and time and space to share, discuss and challenge ideas have been found to be important factors for effective PD (Avalos, 2011). Educators involved in professional conversations as part of my project also identified these factors as important.