Reading and Self-Regulated Learning. Pedagogical Underpinnings

Master's Thesis, 2019

94 Pages, Grade: Excellent


Chapter One The Problem and Its Significance

1.1 Introduction

Literacy is crucial for human life; it is the means whereby people can communicate and exchange information in different fields. A literate community is a dynamic community in which people have access to share knowledge, communicate effectively and indulge in different aspects of social dialogue. This way it is significant to learn the basic form of literacy, i.e. reading.

Reading, in this concern, is vital for engaging in the worldwide society of literacy and knowledge. That is why governments all over the world exert much effort on reading and literacy programs. For instance, Zimmerman (2012) pointed that poor reading skills or failure to keep on reading lead to failure in any academic pursuit. Furthermore, reading is unlimited to just alphabet learning or passing exams at school level, but it has to do with one’s daily needs. Such needs may range from simply reading a telephone number or scanning a sign for an important address to reading textbooks at college level.

Nevertheless, the domain of teaching reading still witnesses a wide range of problems that may range from text-related issues (such as readability), to teaching methods and students’ readiness and motivation for reading. Irujo (2016, 6) indicated that “reading comprehension instruction for English language learners (ELLs) needs to be modified to address their needs.” Additionally, August and Shanahan (2006) indicated that instruction in the key components of reading is necessary, but not sufficient. That is to say, teaching reading has to be more student-centered, taking into consideration students’ different reading abilities and interests, comprehension and individual abilities.

The idea of students’ integration in the process of teaching reading highlights an old concept that first emerged in the psychology field, particularly in educational psychology. It is the concept of self-regulation which is an approach that includes a number of interconnected cognitive and metacognitive strategies that aim at helping students self-control their thoughts, feelings, and mental processes to understand study materials. Zimmerman (1989a, 329) pointed out that “In general, students can be described as self-regulated to the degree that they are metacognitively, motivationally, and behaviorally active participants in their own learning process”. It is a concept that highlights the modern pedagogical principle that the student is the center of the learning process. Since teachers have to give a wider space for students to think, try, practice, and learn new knowledge and skills, researchers in different fields have stressed on the study of self-regulation and how it can be applied in the field of pedagogy and teaching methods.

Ma Ping (2012), for instance, clarified that since the 1980s, a number of researchers have embraced the concept of self-regulated learning (SRL) into teaching practices and methods. Additionally, there is a body of literature in this regard including models of the SRL-based teaching that were designed in order to adopt and integrate the theoretical conceptions of self-regulation into practice teaching.

Furthermore, Nilson (2013) mentioned that the roots of self-regulated learning date back to social cognitive theorists who investigated how children could achieve self-control. In this regard, self-regulated learning can be viewed as a multi-dimensional activity that involves cognitive, metacognitive, emotional and behavioral activities as for the learner so that it confirms the principle of students’ independence in learning.

The majority of self-regulated learning models focused on the self-control processes right from beginning a learning task until self-evaluation. In their social cognitive models of self-regulation, researchers such as Zimmerman and Schunk (2011), being prominent figures in the field of self-regulated learning, discussed distinct phases of self-regulation: The first phase is forethought and planning, where the individual plans his or her motivational beliefs, values, and activities. The second is the performance phase that involves monitoring of both performance and motivation in order for learners to control the learning determinants such as distractions. The third phase is reflection where learners have to judge their learning and self-evaluate their learning goals and outcomes based on some performance standards.

Self-regulation includes a set of strategies that can be applied to a plethora of settings. As for such strategies, Banisaeid and Huang (2014, 243) stated that “Self-regulation includes learning different strategies: metacognitive strategies (how to set goals, evaluate, plan, and monitor one’s learning) as well as some affective factors such motivation and self-efficacy”. Strategies of self-regulation are directed to help learners develop their abilities to control their motivation, attribution beliefs, and cognitive and metacognitive abilities in order to make sense of what they study. Consequently, the acquisition and use of self-regulated learning strategies (SRLSs) are expected to create more strategic, self-directed, and successful learners. Based on such a claim, many self-regulated learning models are being suggested as teaching interventions that aimed at investigating the effect of using such self-regulated learning strategies on students’ achievement, comprehension, and some psychological constructs such as self­efficacy and self-concept.

As far as teaching reading is concerned, a body of research provides a proof for the validity and effectiveness of self-regulation-based teaching in reading classes. For instance, Kumi-Yeboah (2012) found in his study that self-regulated processes promote the basic reading skills in social studies content. In addition, a study by Ghanizadeh (2012) investigated the relationship among Iranian EFL learners' self-regulation, critical thinking ability, and their language achievement. The study found that English majors' self-regulation can justify about 53 % of their language achievement while their critical thinking ability tends to justify about 28% of achievement. Furthermore, Antoniou and Souvenir (2007) investigated using self-regulated learning to foster reading comprehension and help students with learning disabilities (LDs) to overcome reading difficulties. The study revealed that teaching reading strategies and guiding students towards self-regulated reading strategies are promising approaches to foster reading comprehension for students with learning disabilities. In sum, such studies are just a hint at what research has found about the validity of self-regulated learning strategies in teaching contexts, especially with respect to the variety of school or college curricula.

On the other side, reading comprehension occupies a central position in the domain of language teaching. Comprehension is mainly the process of deriving meaning from a connected text, a process that involves lexical knowledge as well as thinking and reasoning. Comprehension is thus the goal that a reader tries to achieve where he/she has to exert great effort.

Good readers usually follow a number of what is called comprehension strategies. In this regard, Harvey and Goudvis (2000) mentioned that the reader begins to construct meaning by previewing the text. During reading, comprehension is built through predicting what is coming next in a piece of paper, inferring, making connections with the text, and summarizing questions that arise. After reading, deeper meaning is constructed through reviewing, rereading portions of the text, discussion, and thoughtful reflection. During each of these phases, the reader relates the text to his/her own life experiences.

There are various approaches to teaching reading; for example, one approach is to deal with reading holistically while the other tends to approach reading based on a number of sub-skills. In this connection, some reading specialists have listed some components and /or sub-skills of reading comprehension. McEwan (2004), for example, mentioned seven strategies / sub-skills necessary for comprehension: activating prior knowledge, inferring, questioning, monitoring, searching, visualizing, and organizing and summarizing. In addition, according to the International Reading Association (IRA, 2003, 2), “The conviction emerged that the four powerful comprehension strategies are those worth teaching well and deeply: particularly, inferring, creating meaningful connections, self-regulating, and summarizing”. These strategies spot light on the active role that the reader has to do in his/her pursuit to achieve comprehension. Furthermore, Moore (2016) stated that when low-achieving adolescent readers learn to apply strategies, they can improve their comprehension, including: planning and monitoring (controlling one’s mental activities), questioning (interrogating texts for a variety of purposes), drawing inferences (using what is known to enrich authors’ meanings) and making connections (linking parts of texts that authors did not link explicitly).

Consequently, effective comprehension instruction requires helping learners to use a variety of strategies rather than adopting only one approach to reading, that is characterized by learners' individual reading differences. Helping readers to choose which strategy to use and when to use it is then an important component of effective reading instruction.

Reading sub-skills, in this respect, can be considered the building blocks of the reading skill as a whole. Reading is, generally, a complex process that depends on mastering a variety of skills. The idea is that an effective teacher is the one who provides students with a variety of strategies to develop a wide range of different reading sub-skills. Pan (2009) concluded that the sub-skill approach to teaching reading is the one that gives students the chance to acquire and practice every detailed reading sub-skill. Thus, they can determine which skills they really need based on classroom practices and reading activities.

In view of the above, it is reasonable to adopt a new teaching methodology in the light of an approach that fosters students’ independence and motivation. This is the teacher's role: to be open-minded toward students’ issues and to give them time and effort to take their personal needs and interests into consideration in language classes. As a consequence, here is the significance of self-regulated learning with its wide range of reading strategies.

1.2 Background of the problem

Reading is a major language skill that is crucial for students’ learning: for academic/study purposes, lifelong learning, and social interaction. Many studies confirmed that teaching reading needs to be developed to help students in basic comprehension skills. For example, a study by Chung (2016) found that second language (L2) learners face some problems in reading comprehension due, in particular, to lack of students' lexical and grammatical knowledge. Moreover, Saengpakdeejit and Intaraprasert’s study (2014) tried to investigate what English as a foreign language (EFL) undergraduate students do to improve their reading comprehension, solve the problems encountered while reading, and overcome comprehension failures. This study presented a qualitative investigation designed to provide a clear picture of the strategies used by such students in their academic reading. A semi-structured interview served as the main source of data with thirty-nine students from four different government universities participated in the study. The students’ serious problem was lack of knowledge of English vocabulary. Moreover, findings revealed that the strategies taught in English classes may not be adequate to apply in English academic reading.

Furthermore, a study by Granados, Lopez and Zubirai (2008) tried to introduce suggestions about how students can solve problems when reading in English. Thirteen students at the Nursing School of the University of Colima participated in this research project. Using nursing-related texts for teaching reading, the researchers found that there are so many factors affecting those students' reading comprehension. Some factors can be changed such as the lack of interest in the reading texts to fit their interests. However, there are other factors that cannot be changed, at least not by the teacher, such as lack of time to carry out more reading comprehension activities. This study recommended the need for using texts that meet students’ interests and for integrating different activities in the reading class. This study showed that in order for students to master reading skills, they need intensive practice, drilling, and suitable exercises. This intensified the problem of the present study as the strategies and activities used during teaching reading may not help students acquire and master some reading comprehension skills. Such traditional activities may be the reason why students' reading performance is low.

In view of the above, the researcher found that reading comprehension is a very crucial domain in the field of language teaching; a domain that still needs more attention and insightful investigation, particularly with respect to the teaching strategies used in reading classes. The review of reading-related literature enabled the researcher to observe a promising approach in the teaching of reading, that is self-regulated learning. In this regard, some studies were reviewed to investigate the role of self-regulated learning in the language class, particularly in reading comprehension classes. For instance, a study by Ibrahim and Rajab (2015) addressed the reading and writing skills of elementary students in both Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Through quasi-experimental, longitudinal, quantitative study investigated the impact of Extensive Reading (ER) on developing second language (L2) reading comprehension and writing skills among primary school EFL learners. Additionally, the study highlights the issue related to insufficient exposure to English for young Arab EFL learners in their daily lives, which, unfortunately, seems to cause relapses in their L2 intake, despite having an age advantage. Another study by Hussein (2014) addressed the problem of how to develop oral reading fluency of young EFL learners. This study examined oral reading fluency (ORF) of bilingual and monolingual students. The purposes were: (a) to examine oral reading rate, oral reading accuracy, prosody, and oral reading comprehension as indicating factors in ORF, and b) to investigate the impact of bilingual education on students' ORF in Arabic. The discussion concluded that (a) in addition to oral reading rate, oral reading accuracy, and prosody, oral reading comprehension is a significant indicating factor of ORF, (b) learning a second language, English, has a positive effect on ORF in the first language, Arabic, and (c) the nature of Arabic orthography is an indispensible factor when examining ORF in the science of reading. Another study by Ali (2015) addressed the issue of how to develop secondary EFL students' reading comprehension skills and raise their cultural awareness using new web-based facilities (namely, Web Quest). One form of a reading comprehension test and a cultural awareness test were administered to the students as pre-and post-tests. Statistical analysis showed significant improvements in the students' reading skills as well as cultural awareness. A positive attitude of learning with WebQuest was confirmed by the qualitative analysis of students' responses on the semi-structured interviews and their reflective journals.

Based on the aforementioned studies, the researcher found that teaching reading is an issue worthy of more investigation and effort, particularly with respect to developing college students' reading skills. Consequently, the researcher conducted a pilot study to investigate English majors' performance in reading comprehension at the Faculty of Education, Assiut University and ensure that students have a problem with reading. Students' results were as follows:

Table (1): Students' performance in the reading comprehension test

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The above skills were those addressed by the test used during the pilot study. As the above table clarifies, the English majors' performance on the reading comprehension test was somewhat moderate. Based on literature review of mastery learning standards, the researcher adopted a mastery level of 80% (see Elian, 2016; Gentile & Lalley, n.d.; Yudkowsky, Park, Lineberry, Knox, & Ritter, 2015; and Lipsky & Cone, 2018. The results indicated that the students' performance was below the mastery level as an important learning parameter. Generally, students need to practice basic reading skills in a reading class supported with the concepts of students’ independence, mastery of skills, and individualized practice. These concepts are actually induced by self-regulated learning that paves the way for students to read and learn according to one’s self-pace and ability. It enables them to pose questions, discuss and share ideas, employ cognitive and meta-cognitive strategies, and monitor the progress of their reading ability as a whole. Giving students sufficient opportunities for practicing reading is what self-regulated learning offers with its basic strategies of student free and guided learning choice(s), goal setting, planning, implementation, action monitoring, and evaluation.

Statement of the problem:

In the light of the researcher's observation, the review of literature on reading and the results of the pilot study, the researcher observed that: the performance of third-year English majors in reading comprehension was below the mastery level of 80 %. This problem may be a result of students' insufficient knowledge and use of effective reading comprehension strategies. Therefore, the present study was an attempt to investigate the effect of using a program based on self-regulated learning strategies on students' mastery of some reading comprehension skills.

1.3 Definition of terms

1.3.1 Self-regulated learning

Zimmerman and Schunk (2011, 1) defined self-regulated learning as “the processes whereby learners personally activate and sustain cognitions, affects, and behaviors that are systematically oriented toward the attainment of personal goals”.

In the current study, self-regulated learning was defined as a set of strategies, active mental plans and procedures that English majors should learn and use for comprehension and mastery of some reading comprehension skills. learner’s ability to control himself/herself (i.e. emotion, cognition, and metacognition) and the learning environment around him/her.

1.3.2 Reading comprehension

Woolley (2011, 15) defined reading comprehension as "a complex process of making meaning from the text where the goal is to gain a general understanding of the details in the text rather than understanding every word in isolation".

In the current study, reading comprehension is defined as third year English majors' ability to read inferentially, critically, and creatively to get the meaning of reading comprehension passages until they can master some reading comprehension skills.

1.4 Significance of the study

The significance of the current study stemmed from the following considerations:

1. The nature of self-regulated learning that did not receive its due attention (to the best of the researcher's knowledge) in our Egyptian context.
2. The problem addressed in the current study would not only affect students' language performance, but their performance in other areas of study too.
3. This study presented a program that might develop students’ reading compre­hension skills.
4. This study might also help students overcome some reading difficulties through the process of self-regulation.
5. It might make teaching reading a more dynamic and individualistic process.
6. Furthermore, it might turn reading classes into student-centered ones where students can learn better according to their abilities.
7. It might raise curriculum designers and reading teachers' awareness about the significance of helping students master various reading comprehension skills.

1.5 Objective of the study

The study aimed at Identifying the effect of using a suggested self-regulated learning program on developing third year English majors’ reading comprehension skills.

1.6 Question of the study

- What is the effect of using a suggested program based on self-regulated learning strategies on third-year EFL majors’ mastery of some reading comprehension skills?

1.7 Delimitations of the study

The present study was delimited to the following:

1. Fifty third-year English majors at the Faculty of Education, Assiut University (the researcher’s place of work) were purposefully selected as a representative group of the research community of EFL majors.
2. Some self-regulation strategies: goal-setting and planning, activate prior knowledge, self-monitoring, self-motivation, organizing and transforming, note-taking, visualizing and questioning—based on the agreement ratios of jury members. These strategies represent a continuous chain of the strategies that could be applied to reading comprehension.
3. Some reading comprehension skills: skimming for the gist, scanning for details, guessing the meaning of unfamiliar words, drawing inferences, drawing conclusions, inferring the author's purpose, distinguishing facts from opinions, suggesting an alternative end to a story/event, and adding other details to support the main idea. These skills represent a hierarchy of reading comprehension that ranges from basic (literal) skills up to the inferential, critical, and creative reading.

1.8 Design & Methodology

The present study adopted the quasi-experimental design, with two research groups: one group functioned as the control group and studied reading comprehension traditionally whereas the other group functioned as the experimental one that studied reading comprehension using the suggested self-regulated learning program.

1.9 Procedures of the study

1- Having reviewed related literature and previous studies, the researcher constructed preliminary forms of the research instruments and materials- namely, the program, the test, and the interview.
2- The researcher presented these instruments and materials to a jury for validation.
3- In the light of the jury's directions and suggestions, proper changes were made to make the program and related instruments suitable for administration.
4- Piloting such instruments and materials on a pilot group of 30 English majors for making related suitable statistical measurements of reliability and indexes of easiness, difficulty and discrimination.
5- After piloting, the researcher conducted relevant changes in the instruments in the light of the program.
6- Administering the reading comprehension test on the (main) control and experimental groups.
7- Teaching the content of the program, over a period of six weeks, to the experimental group whereas the control group studied reading materials in the traditional format.
8- Administering the test so that the researcher could be able to compare between the performances of both groups on the pre- and post­administrations of the reading comprehension test.
9- Interviewing students: the researcher interviewed the experimental group students to obtain their feedback on the program they were exposed to.
10- The data collected by the researcher were statistically analyzed using SPSS.
11- In the light of the results and findings, the researcher proposed a number of suggestions and recommendations for future research.

Chapter Two Review of Literature & Related Studies

This chapter includes one major part as a theoretical background on the main variables of the study: self-regulated learning and reading comprehension. This part is also supported with a review of related studies on self-regulated learning and reading comprehension, pointing out some pedagogical implications for the present study.

2.1 Self-regulated learning

This part presents an overview of self-regulated learning with a special focus on its nature, the theories behind it, and the characteristics of self- regulated learners. There is also a reference to the dimensions and strategies of self-regulated learning, and all are clarified to acquaint the reader with the basic issues related to self-regulated learning and its pedagogical applications, particularly in teaching language and reading instruction contexts.

2.1.1 Nature of self-regulated learning

Learning is the result of experience and effort. It is a crucial means in human life whereby progress and development in life occur. Many views were introduced to account for learning, but the most notorious ones are the Cognitivist, Behaviorist, Social Constructivist and the Humanist theories. They represent a scientific pursuit to understand learning where each theory has its theoretical foundations as well as opponents and exponents. The research domain still witnesses continuous progress in man's pursuit to understand the nature of knowledge and learning. Among the aforementioned theories is the Humanistic theory that emphasizes the role of affection and regulation in the learning process. An educational notion that represents the Humanistic view of learning is that of self-regulation. According to Schunk (2005), it is a concept that first appeared in the field of therapy and then was employed in treating students’ internal problems that affect their learning. Then it was introduced to the field of academic learning right from the early 1980s and up till now. Self-regulation also refers to the learner’s ability to control himself/herself (i.e. emotion, cognition, and metacognition) and the learning environment around him/her.

Many theorists provided different definitions of self-regulated learning; however, they generally focused on the active, constructive role of the learner in the process of learning. For example, Pintrich (2000, 453) defined self-regulated learning, as "an active, constructive process whereby learners set goals for their learning and then attempt to monitor, regulate, and control their cognition, motivation, and behavior, guided and constrained by their goals and the contextual features in the environment". Pintrich’s definition focused on the concept of learning as a pursuit to set and attain goals where learning is determined by other factors, such as the affective and metacognitive, not only by the cognitive one.

Two leading pioneers in the field of self-regulation are Zimmerman and Schunk. They provided some views on the nature of self-regulation and conducted empirical research that affected the work of subsequent researchers. Zimmerman and Schunk (2011) conceived self-regulated learning as a situation involving taking active control of learning and is often divided into three phases of forethought, performance, and self-reflection.

The bulk of definitions of self-regulated learning reveals that they mainly focused on the idea of students’ ability to control the learning process as a whole, right from goal setting up to goal achievement. According to Zimmerman’s definition (2002, 65), "self-regulation is not a mental ability or an academic performance skill; rather, it is the self-directive process by which learners transform their mental abilities into academic skills." More clearly, self-regulation is a continuous, complex process where learners need to exert much effort in planning, managing, monitoring, and evaluating their own learning tasks.

In addition, Chamot (2014, 78), defined it as “learners’ efforts to direct their own learning by setting goals, planning how to achieve them, monitoring the learning task, using learning strategies to solve problems, and evaluating their own performance”. Chamot's definition sheds light on a crucial element of modern education, which is student-centeredness. The learner is thus the center of the learning process: He/She designs, monitors, and evaluates his/her learning under the teacher’s help and guidance. This is what self-regulated learning as a practical set of learning strategies offers for today’s education.

Added to that, regulation is a basic point in defining self-regulated learning. It is the cognitive, metacognitive, motivational, and behavioral modification in which the learner engages in order to complete a learning task. Regulation has different manifestations such as keeping focused on the task at hand, setting aside environmental distractions, assessing the available resources and selecting from the wide variety of learning strategies and resources. According to Panadero and Alonso-Tapia (2014), self-regulated learning is based on the concept of control/regulation that students have over their cognitions, behaviors, emotions, and motivations through the use of personal strategies.

Self-regulated learning can also be viewed as a cyclic process in which students’ and teachers’ feedback-through-monitoring task plays a prominent role. Paris and Paris (2001, 89) proposed that “self-regulated learning, as the three words imply, emphasizes autonomy and control by the individual who monitors, directs and regulates actions toward goals of information acquisition, expanding expertise, and self-improvement”. That is, the learning cycle starts with the teacher and learners setting learning goals (planning). Then students indulge in the task where the teacher monitors and directs while learners monitor their own behavior, thoughts, and motivations (self-monitoring). At last, there is the role of reflection (feedback). The following figure illustrates Zimmerman's cyclic triadic model of self-regulation:

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Figure (1): Cyclical phases model of SRL, (adapted from Zimmerman and Moylan (2009))

Self-regulated learning includes the three phases of any learning activity linked through feedback: namely, pre-activity(preparation), during-the-activity (implementation), and post-activity(evaluation). So, it can be applied to a variety of learning situations, in particular the teaching of language arts.

Moreover, self-regulated learning is strategy-based; it is a kind of strategic learning that can be introduced through the explicit teaching of self- regulated learning strategies. According to Nilson (2013, 4), “the literature on self-regulated learning tells us that deep, lasting, and independent learning requires a range of activities - cognitive, affective, and even physical-that go far beyond reading and listening”, and this is what self-regulated learning provides. It provides students with the cognitive, metacognitive, motivational, and behavioral strategies that constitute the different dimensions of self-regulated learning process. That’s why self-regulated learning strategies can, and have to, be taught in order to help learners achieve higher levels of success up to the mastery level.

This is what research evidence supports: The claim that self-regulated learning is widely used has been proven by a number of researchers who investigated self-regulated learning and other factors in e-learning contexts (environments). For example, a study by Bol and Garner (2011) reviewed literature to investigate the role of self-regulation strategies in e-learning contexts. The researchers discussed students’ use of technology-enhanced- learning environments (TELE’s) or computer-based learning environments (CBLE’s) in the context of self-regulation. The researchers contended that success in courses taught through TELE/CBLE platforms requires effective self­management skills. The skills are also considered the application of selected components of self-regulated learning to student-content interaction in online learning and distance education. In particular, how and when interacting with electronically enhanced text, students must carefully employ self-regulated learning strategies that include planning, goal setting, self-monitoring processes, and calibration judgments. The researchers concluded with the recognition that there is a great need for research that addresses questions about student-content interaction in distance education course settings specifically, and pertains to the increasingly diverse group of learners who take these courses.

To sum up, self-regulated learning is generally characterized by active, constructive participation and involvement of the learner. Since it is individualistic in nature, it embodies the concept of learners’ autonomy in their pursuit to achieve the learning tasks at hand. That is why self-regulated learning strategies are needed in today's learning environment, in particular when it comes to language classes.

2.1.2 Origins of self-regulated learning

Self-regulation is an important theory in the field of academic learning. Its emergence was preceded by a number of theories that represent various perspectives. Such perspectives reflect the different roots of self-regulation. Introducing the theory of self-regulated learning as a beginning was a clear development in the scientists’ view of human learning. A way from the traditional theories of learning that mainly focused on the cognitive aspect of human learning, self-regulated learning came as a response that focused on the aspects of metacognition and motivation.

These perspectives are the operant, the volitional, the phenomenological, the social cognitivist, and the Vygotiscian theories. Zimmerman and Schunk (1989b) mentioned that these theories tried to account for the leaner's functioning ability by describing how a particular learner will learn and achieve despite apparent limitations in mental ability, social and environmental background or limitedness of schooling.

As for the operant theory, Zimmerman and Schunk (1989b) pointed out that operant researchers have produced one of the largest and most influential bodies of research on self-regulation following the environmentalist principles of Skinner who simply sought to apply the natural science methods for the study of behavior and adapted his behavioral technology for personal use. Skinner introduced concepts of operant conditioning and automatization, pointing out that reinforcement is the drive that pushes behavior forward. In order for a leaner to automatize a skill, for instance, s/he has to receive reinforcement-a concept that received great attention form Skinner. Operant theorists also contend that a person's self-regulatory responses must be methodologically linked to external reinforcing stimuli (reinforcement). In support of these assumptions, operant researchers (e.g. Shapiro) revealed reactiveness by subjects who are self-recorded and self- reinforced although the interpretation of these effects remains controversial.

The second theory is the volitional. Basically, Zimmerman and Schunk (1989b) clarified that volition is the willpower a person has; a religious concept that came from the theologists' contemplations on humans' state of free will or arbitrariness. Zimmerman and Schunk also clarified that some theorists equated volition with motivation, and argued that the latter was more inclusive. Others found volition either derivative of basic processes such as emotions or simple cognitions. Volitional theorists clarified that the volitional aspects of self- regulated learning are the mechanisms that kick into control concentration and aid progress in the face of environmental and personal obstacles to academic learning. They distinguished between initial and executive volition, indicating that there are two kinds of motivation: volitional and executive.

The third theory is known as phenomenology, a theory that focuses on self-phenomena or the self. This theory spots light on the learners' self­awareness and their concepts of themselves as learners. Herin (2007) clarified that the phenomenological theory deal with self-perceived identities that can be academic or non-academic in nature, and how such identities influence perceptions of tasks, goals, and learning methods.

The fourth theory is the social cognitive; a theory that can be regarded as the primitive origin of self-regulated learning. Bandura's social learning theory (1986) guided extensive research on social factors in self-regulation. Bandura (1977) introduced a theory that tried to account for human leaning and the mechanisms controlling such a process of learning. The theory focuses on the learning that occurs within a social context. It considers that people learn from one another (by means of observing and modeling). The theory introduces such concepts as observational learning, imitation, and modeling. It is based on the principle that human learning may occur without a change in behavior since people can learn through imitation and modeling. This theory is also cognitive in nature since it interprets human behavior (such as learning) in the light of one's awareness and expectation of reinforcement(s) as factors that play a significant role in his/her behavior.

In his pursuit to account for learning, Bandura (1977) director researchers' attention to the concept of social learning, a concept that stresses the role of the environment in the learning process. This sheds light on the concept of social constructionism that Vygotsky introduced earlier. Bandural also confirmed that collaborative practice mediates social learning, it is the kind of practice where learners collaborate to accomplish a given task, and this in turn facilitates the process of social learning through observation and imitation (modeling).

The fifth theory is the Vygotiscian, which, as the name suggests, draws its origins from the Russian scientist Vygotsky whose works have gained great attention worldwidely. According to Bodrovan, Germeroth and Leong (2013), Vygotsky introduced some views as for human behavior and intellectual functioning with reference to children learning and play, linking cognitive development and self-regulation. Bodrovan et al clarified that Vygotsky's research was mainly on speech; then, he introduced some reflection on education and instruction. Vygotsky emphasized the role of formal schooling during early childhood in the development of cognitive functions and regulation ability of children. He stressed that teacher-child speech generates inner speech in the child, that in turn activates higher order thinking and regulation.

Furthermore, Diaz, Nael, and Amaya-Williams (1992) elaborated Vygotsky's notions regarding the social origins and self-regulation of higher cognitive functions. They considered Vygotsky's theory from the point of view of individual differences in development, suggesting that the quality of social interactions a child experiences might have a significant effect on the development of self-regulation. Vygotsky (1966) examined child learning and cognitive development in detail, and introduced concepts that may account for such learning. One of such concepts is that of zone of proximal development, by which he means that the child who feels s/he is in this zone of proximal development can almost perform the task independently. In the presence of scaffolding: that is, support received from other knowledgeable others, usually parents or the teacher, the child can achieve the task required. Vygotsky also introduced the theory of social constructionism in which he elaborated on the social context that surrounds learning, talking about scaffolding that others can give to the child so that learning is facilitated and mediated. Scaffolding represents social constructionism theory that Vygotsky introduced in that it is the social context where learning takes place that can facilitate or hinder the learning process. When the child feels s/he is responsible for his/her own learning, s/he exerts effort to accomplish the task, for example, by seeking help from the social human context of learning. This sheds light on the mechanisms of self-regulation such as help seeking and environmental reconstructioning.

Zimmerman and Schunk (1989b) also revealed that Vygotsky provided relatively little formal description of the specific processes that motivate learners to self-regulate. They explained his notion of self-involved and task-involved inner speech: By self-involved type, Vygotsky meant the motivational and affective statements used to improve self-control. Task-involved inner speech refers to problem-solving strategic statements used to increase task control and the key process in self-regulation is egocentric speech which Vygotsky viewed as a transition from external to inner speech control. When speech becomes internalized, self-direction is possible.

Reviewing the theories that underlie and precede self-regulated learning explain to what extent researchers and scholars have different views as for the nature of human learning behavior and regulation ability. Nevertheless, all such work can reflect that a human ability to self-regulate learning is attributed to many interrelated factors: cognition, metacognition, and affection or emotion. That is, any pursuit to include self-regulated learning into the teaching process has to include the different aspects of the regulation process as well. Consequently, it is worthy of mentioning to give a brief account on the dimensions of the self-regulation processes in order to explain and illustrate what strategies that self-regulated learning encompasses.

2.1.3 Dimensions of self-regulated learning

As a concept, self-regulation can be regarded as an umbrella term that encompasses a number of interdisciplinary domains and fields of interest. There is no one simple reason/factor to which the learners' self-regulation ability can be attributed. As a result, it has to be viewed with a broader perspective to fully comprehend the term.

In their pursuit to investigate the learning process with reference to classroom applications, Paris and Paris (2001) concluded that research on learning has mainly focused on strategy instruction and then shifted to include other dimensions of learning: the cognitive, metacognitive, motivational, and contextual or environmental aspects. In a real classroom, the distinction among these variables that actually compose the self-regulation process seems unrealistic. One can assume that all such components interact in the learning process when self-regulation as a learning and teaching approach is emphasized.

The dimensions of self-regulated learning can be shown in the light of the aforementioned components: the cognitive, metacognitive, behavioral, motivational, and contextual (environmental). The first dimension is the cognitive which has to do with how we process knowledge. In their Handbook of Self­Regulation and Performance, Zimmerman and Schunk (2011) mentioned that researchers suggested that cognitive-metacognitive processes are used to monitor the cognitive outcomes for their effectiveness and the amount of effort used.

The role of learning context is crucially important as a dimension of self- regulated learning; it is another dimension to which educators have to pay extra attention if they stress students' active role in learning. Housand and Reis (2008, 109) mentioned that:

personal processes, the environment and individual behaviors of both teachers and students are factors that facilitate students’ use of self-regulation learning strategies in reading. Some environmental conditions, such as organization of materials and clear expectations, support the development and use of self- regulated learning strategies in reading.

The success of the learning process depends on the integration of students' effort and motivation to learn and other environmental factors. Learners can make use of the learning environment in order to set goals and direct the learning process. This can be achieved through help seeking, which is a key social component of self-regulated learning. Zumbrunn, Tadlock, and Roberts (2011, 5) stated in this regard that "teachers and/or more experienced peers can instruct students on effective approaches", thus the role of the social element in the learning process is significant. In self- regulated learning contexts, learners are welcomed to work cooperatively, seek help in a variety of ways, and use new web-based facilities to accomplish learning tasks.

In addition, there is the regulation of behavior which is the behavioral dimension of self-regulated learning. It is the observable part of the learning process that teachers also have to pay more attention to. In this context, McClelland et al (2007) pointed out that behavioral self-regulation provides a strong basis for school achievement in conjunction with early academic skills and other environmental factors. Behavioral self-regulation- according to Schmitt, Pratt, and McClelland (2014, 4)- ''consists of three aspects of executive function: working memory, attentional or cognitive flexibility, and inhibitory control". Consequently, in order for learners to be behaviorally self-regulated, teachers have to help them develop the ability to consider all the abovementioned components of behavioral self-regulation. The following table may help summarize and clarify the different dimensions of the self-regulated process:

Table (2): Phases and areas of self-regulation

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

From a practical viewpoint, some of such dimensions affecting a student's self-regulation ability were under the scope of research. As far as the factors affecting self-regulated learning are concerned, Kuo (2010) examined the influence of various factors on students' satisfaction including various types of interaction: mainly, Internet self-efficacy and self-regulated learning. Participants (n=180) included both undergraduate and graduate students attending exclusively online classes in education. Students responded to an online survey adapted from several different scales. A pilot test of the survey and procedures showed strong validity and reliability for the sample. Results indicated that learner-instructor interaction and learner-content interaction are significant predictors of student satisfaction when class-level variables are excluded.

In addition to academic achievement, epistemological beliefs are an important factor that affects students' self-regulated learning as well as their cachievement. In this regcard, Akscan (2009, 897) defined epistemological beliefs as "the individuals' subjective beliefs related to what knowledge is or how learning takes place. Such beliefs reflect the individual's opinions concerning such questions as “what is knowledge?”, “how is knowledge gained?”, and “what is the accuracy degree of the knowledge?”. Aksan also revealed that epistemological beliefs affect the teaching and learning processes because these processes are interdependent.

Aksan's study (2009) descriptively canned at making the relationships between epistemological beliefs and self-regulated learning ctear. Through the analytical research method, the national and international literature related to epistemological beliefs and self-regulated learning were reviewed. The study revealed that self-regulated learning provides the positive epistemological beliefs about the individual’s own ability, the value of learning, the factors affecting learning, guessing the results of activities, and concentrating on instruction. Furthermore, the study found that students with poor self-regulation skills have low motivation and poor learning. Added to that, self-regulation skills also help the learners select the suitable learning strategies for their aims.

In conclusion, self-regulated learning is a multi-dimensional theory including a number of dimensions that show that learning is a complex process. To understand learning in the light of self-regulation, one needs to consider the different dimensions of self-regulated learning. In traditional contexts, the cognitive factor/dimension of learning has received much attention at the expense of other factors/dimensions metacognitive and motivational ones. With the presence of self-regulation, researchers shifted their attention to focus on considering such crucial dimensions of the learning process. This is what language instructors have to consider if they want to integrate their learners into autonomous and lifelong learning and active participation. That is why it is important to have a look at the strategies that make up the framework of self- regulated learning.

2.1.4 Self-regulated learning strategies (SRLSs)

Since the emergence of self-regulated learning, researchers have investigated its role in learning and how it is applicable as a frame of strategies for developing students' learning. Such a sparkle of research resulted in the introduction of self-regulated learning with its components and practical strategies. Today's environment, being characterized by knowledge explosion and technology revolution, necessitates lifelong learning. This, in turn, demands that learners should take over the responsibility of their learning. In this regard, self-regulated learning comes in line with new teaching notions such as learner- centered classroom, student-based instruction, and activity-based instruction because self-regulated learning includes a number of interrelated strategies that self-regulated learners usually employ.

Self-regulated learning strategies are self-regulated behaviors and tactics intended to control and direct the learning process for accomplishing learning task. Self-regulated learning strategies can be best clarified in the light of self- regulated learning components. Such components, according to the Teaching Excellence in Adult Education (2010), are three: namely, cognition, metacognition, and motivation. The first component, cognition, includes the mental skills and tactics used to encode, memorize, and recall information and think critically, e.g. rehearse, visualize, take notes, highlight and underline, and memorize. The second component, metacognition, includes the learner's knowledge about the previous component, i.e. cognition and the ability to regulated oneself. It includes knowledge of the cognitive processes used for learning. Metacognitive knowledge includes declarative knowledge (knowledge that refers to information or facts stored in the memory and describes things, events, or processes, their attributes and their relation to each other), procedural knowledge (knowledge about strategies and other procedures), and conditional knowledge (knowledge of when and why to use a particular strategy). The third component, motivation, includes knowledge about such notions as self-efficacy, task value, and attribution beliefs of success or failure.

In order for a learner to be self-regulated, he/she has to acquire a repertoire of learning strategies. The integration of such strategies is what constitutes the concept of self-regulation in educational contexts. It seems that there is an interchangeable relationship among these three kinds: learners need information to experience new learning situations, and in turn they can construct new knowledge based on the experience they encounter. So, the relationship seems reciprocal and mutual.

In their review of learning strategies, Boer, Donker-Bergstra and Kostons (2012) summarized basic concepts of the term learning strategies. They viewed them as a form of procedural know-how knowledge that a learner possesses and applies during learning situations. They also proposed an analysis of a proposed taxonomy of self-regulated learning strategies they have found, including cognitive, metacognitive, management, and motivation strategies.

Boer et al (2012) mentioned that cognitive strategies are the strategies on a lower level than the metacognitive ones. They are generally domain-specific and sometimes task-specific. There are three main types of cognitive strategies: first, elaboration strategies whereby connections between new knowledge and previous one are made; second, rehearsal strategies which help store information in the memory by repeating the material; third, organization strategies that are used to visualize the material to facilitate learning. Winne (1997, 397) indicated that “cognitive strategies are cognitive tools that students can learn and acquire by careful training and adroit teaching”. Such cognitive tools contribute to the success of learning practices and also have a crucial role in facilitating teaching. Thus, according to Winne, "... Unless they are explicitly taught to use cognitive tools and to monitor the results of their use, learners typically fail to forge explicit and useful knowledge about whether and how cognitive tools affect learning."

Metacognitive strategies, on the other side, are the strategies that go beyond knowledge acquisition; rather, they are used to monitor and control the cognitive strategies. Learners can reflect on their learning practices and judge on the effectiveness of any of them through metacognitive strategies. Consequently, they can continue using them or replace them with new, more effective ones. That's why self-regulated learning is not that simple; it is a cyclical, continuous process that lasts up to the whole learning process.


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Reading and Self-Regulated Learning. Pedagogical Underpinnings
Educational Linguistics
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Mohammad Makram (Author), 2019, Reading and Self-Regulated Learning. Pedagogical Underpinnings, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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