How to Self-Regulate Learning

How to Self-Regulate Learning


Hi, Susan.

Hello, Doc. Break time. (laughs)

No problem. Have a seat. (smiles)

What are you doing?

Analyzing student data, seeing that the learning standards continue to hang below expectations, especially among the races. The margins are wide: Baffling–(continues)

Yes. fifty years of The Coleman Report (1950), the report to determine answers of the dichotomy in learning among the races. . . still no seminal research to express problems in layman’s terms; still no understanding of what seems to be the real problem . . . (continues)

Test issues are difficult to discuss openly and honestly. . . Too many controversial words about school-testing in the world; difficult to determine validity of test scores. . . I was studying standardized test scores among the races–Asians leading the way, then Caucasians, then Hispanics, and then African Americans. . .

Surely minority students understand the lessons; they receive the same instruction, given the same time for imbibing instruction as all other students; can’t be instruction, per se?

Partly, perhaps, but you are right; must be something else . . . I have been reading about self-regulation, how it can pertain to students, the process that students take control and evaluate their own learning . . . This discovery revealed itself while I was studying motivation, and I read that motivation and self-regulation are not the same although some elements are similar; self-regulation requires selections, strategies, goals to move toward a practice, whereas motivation is that entity that moves a person throughout the actual steps. . . .

Yes, I am familiar with self-regulation yet have rarely thought of it as a means for students. . . You might be on to something here, Doc; go ahead. Allow me to listen–

To be self-regulated–let’s say for students–Students must be observant, judgmental–especially of themselves–They must be able to think critically and figure problems on the spot. Think. Does this description represent all students? Minority students? Could it be possible that many students, perhaps a significant number of minority students, especially, might lack knowing about self-regulation?

Yes, Mmmm

Students that score better than average on standardized tests are self-regulated, yes? I infer self-regulation is pervasive among most people in other countries, such as China, Japan, Korea, most advanced countries abroad– Data is out for the knowing–(continues)

Self-regulation might also be found among the majority students, especially those from affluent families who push and support their children to succeed. 

I am sure this type self-regulation can be found among minorities, too

Yes, yes, of course, but the quantity is the culprit here– Is it possible that many minorities are indeed knowledgeable about same lessons as their majority peers yet lack some other quality necessary, some quality that serves as an indicator for success on tests, yet they are not made aware? (continues)

I mean, to be successful when taking standardized tests students must be self-regulated through diligence (work hard), fortitude (be brave to continue), patience (wait) and . . . and, I am wondering how many minorities understand the importance of theses virtues . . . to have been raised understanding the virtues, to have actually been taught how to apply the virtues, especially for test purposes . . . I mean . . . these are virtues instilled in many other students who live abroad, and students of affluent families who live in America understand these virtues naturally, it appears, due to their home environments . . . . (continues)

. . . Not giving nor taking anything from people’s upbringing. I mean, who is really at fault for how life is distributed among people? People do the best they can, yet, what if it is possible that minority students know the answers to many test questions yet lack the understanding of how to push themselves through the hours necessary to complete the tests? What if many minority students lack this type of self-regulation?

Students who lack self-regulation may abandon the test or bubble-in answers only to finish quickly, not knowing (or caring) that they may be hurting their chances for succeeding on the test? What if minority students demonstrate instead a little more diligence, a little more patience, a little more prudence while testing? Would not their test scores have a chance to rank approvingly among the others student testers?

Soooo, you believe minority students have an equal opportunity as majority students to prove their understanding of lessons yet need awareness of virtues to help push themselves through the process?

Yes! Hypothetically, this scenario is the truth for all students–minority and majority–I am only now reading and thinking how students overall perform and behave in classrooms and am seeking answers for minorities trailing behind for so long their non-minority peers . . . Looking at the matter this way, the hypothesis of “lacking in self-regulation” is not farfetched . . . This realization could very well be the missing link to understanding the dramatic test-score gap among the races and nationalities–

Certainty, it seems correctable if it’s as simple as that– yet, empirical research, Doc?

For now, common sense–(continues)

. . . . because many minority students may not maintain self-regulation . . . They may not have been exposed nor have been taught how to manage themselves while learning and while testing . . . They may not have realized that an added push was [is] necessary to succeed . . . .


Ooppps, there is the bell . . . Let’s continue this discussion, Doc: Self-regulation may be the key to this nearly century old problem, and certainly it is worth researching and testing further–See ya later-– (Susan exits).

Tips to enhance test scores for minorities:

(1) Look at test scores differently: Ask this question: “What if?”

(2) Teach learning objectives in spaced intervals: one time, two times, three times, etc. throughout the year.

(3) Teach the virtues–prudence, fortitude, diligence, patience so students will understand to use the virtues to extend their best.

(4) Practice, role playing how to take tests.

(5) Review test data of the gaps in student learning so all students will realize the importance of trying their best, of being competitive in a healthy, learning manner.

“All students can learn but not every student can test; students must be taught.”–Doc

Cynthia Mathews, Ed.D. (2020)

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Published by cynthiamathews

I'm an innovative spirit, one who seeks new and practical ways to learn about life. I enjoy exploring innovative styles to motivate people to persevere in a challenging world. Having a doctorate in Educational Leadership and Curriculum & Instruction, I am inspired to maintain a life long learning experience that will allow me to share my knowledge with others. My expertise includes detecting apathy in individuals and prescribing ways to motivate them to be their best. To initiate this endeavor, I create and conduct personal and professional development programs. I write briefs and pamphlets and instructional guides to inspire, and I speak--upon request--to those who need a reminder of their inner excellence. My blog's main focus is to document my research on motivation and curriculum instruction and to share with subscribers the understanding, the ideas, and the strategies that result from my research. I am a native of Alabama, a teacher, and an author. I look forward to learning with you.

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