Perspectives of Namibian teachers' development of grade 8 learners' self-regulated learning
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Many researchers have reported on the value and necessity of self-regulated learning (SRL) in education, social life and beyond. According to Cleary and Zimmerman (2004:538), Zimmerman (2002a:13) and Bandura (2006:164), SRL in school environments increases success in problem solving, academic achievement, intrinsic motivation and task interest since self-regulatory skills provide learners with more positive views towards their futures, empower learners to manage their social behaviour, and support the development of lifelong learning skills. Therefore, the role of teachers in the development of SRL in learners is of vital importance. The main purpose of this study was to explore teachers' perspectives of how they develop grade 8 learners' SRL. The subsidiary aims of the main aims of the study were to explore teachers' perspectives about the concept SRL and its value for academic success; whether teachers are aware of the concept SRL and trained to use and implement SRL strategies; and to determine which SRL strategies teachers use while teaching different grade 8 subjects. For the purpose of this study, self-regulated learning was viewed through the lens of the social cognitive theory. Zimmerman's (2000) three phase cyclical model of SRL and the adapted model of Zimmerman and Moylan (2009), which is also grounded in Bandura's (1986) social cognitive theory, formed the theoretical framework of the study. In Zimmerman's (2000) model, three phases are distinguished, namely the forethought, performance and self-reflection phases. Each of the three phases comprises specific processes and sub-processes representing the skills self-regulated learners demonstrate when they are completing tasks. A qualitative research design, guided by an interpretivist paradigm, was utilised to explore teachers' perspectives of how they develop grade 8 learners' SRL. Two rural secondary schools and fourteen teachers were conveniently and purposively selected to participate in the study. Semi-structured interviews and lesson observations were conducted to collect data. Content analysis was used to analyse the data from semi-structured interviews using a thematic approach. Data from the observations are presented in narratives. The findings revealed that all fourteen participants attested to the value of SRL to enhance learners' academic achievement and to prepare them for life after school. Most participants perceive their roles in the development of SRL as facilitators, guides, mentors, and supervisors who use encouraging words and who monitor learners' progress. Although the majority of the participants said they are aware of SRL, not all of them have received training to develop SRL in learners. Participants' perspectives indicated that they believe the socio-economic and educational situations of grade 8 Namibian learners affect their abilities and willingness to become self-regulated learners. Findings also revealed discrepancies between participants' perspectives of SRL as seen in the interview data, and their observed teaching strategies to develop SRL. Participants named more strategies they use to develop grade 8 learners' SRL in the interviews, than the strategies the researcher observed in the lessons. The findings of the lesson observations indicate that most participants use strategies to varying degrees to develop the following SRL skills of grade 8 learners: their strategic planning, goal setting, motivation, self-efficacy beliefs, task interest, time management skills, self-assessment skills and skills to work cooperatively with others in a group. Recommendations are made to assist schools and teachers to improve the development of SRL skills to enhance learners' academic achievements across all grades.
- Education