Self Regulation Critical Thinking

Self-regulation is an integrated learning process, consisting of the development of a set of constructive behaviors that affect one's learning. These processes are planned and adapted to support the pursuit of personal goals in changing learning environments.

Three cyclical phases seem to emerge in the acquisition of self-regulation skills.

Phase 1. Forethought/preaction—This phase precedes the actual performance; sets the stage for action; maps out the tasks to minimize the unknown; and helps to develop a positive mindset. Realistic expectations can make the task more appealing. Goals must be set as specific outcomes, arranged in order from short-term to long-term. We have to ask students to consider the following:
  • When will they start?
  • Where will they do the work?
  • How will they get started?
  • What conditions will help or hinder their learning activities are a part of this phase?

Phase 2. Performance control—This phase involves processes during learning and the active attempt to utilize specific strategies to help a student become more successful.
We have to ask students to consider the following:
  • Are students accomplishing what they hoped to do?
  • Are they being distracted?
  • Is this taking more time than they thought?
  • Under what conditions do they accomplish the most?
Self-Regulation— Phases of Self-Regulation
  • What questions can they ask themselves while they are working?
  • How can they encourage themselves to keep working (including self- talk—come on, get your work done so you can watch that television show or read your magazine!)

Phase 3. Self-reflection—This phase involves reflection after the performance, a self-evaluation of outcomes compared to
goals. We have to ask students to consider the
  • Did they accomplish what they planned to do?
  • Were they distracted and how did they get back to work?
  • Did they plan enough time or did they need more time than they thought?
  • Under what conditions did they accomplish the most work.

The development of good self-regulation usually involves the following:
a.  Self-observation—systematically monitoring own performance; keeping records is a big part of this!!
b.  Self-judgment—systematically comparing performance with a standard or goal (e.g., re-examining answers; checking procedures; rating answers in relation to answer sheet, another person's)
c.  Self-reaction—engage in personal processes (i.e., goal-setting; metacognitive planning; behavioral outcomes); self-administering praise or criticism; rehearsing, memorizing; proximal goal-setting; structuring environment (e.g. Self-Regulation— Phases of Self-Regulation change the academic task's difficulty; change the academic setting, the immediate physical environment; create a study area); asking for help.

Common Self-Regulation Strategies

The individual set of self-regulation strategies that are usually used by successful students fall into three categories: personal, behavioral, and environmental.
A.  Personal. These strategies usually involve how a student organizes and interprets information and can include:
    1.  Organizing and transforming information

  • outlining
  • summarizing
  • rearrangement of materials
  • highlighting
  • flashcards/ index cards
  • draw pictures, diagrams, charts
  • webs/mapping

    2.  Goal setting and planning/standard setting

  • sequencing, timing, completing
  • time management and pacing

    3.  Keeping records and monitoring

  • note-taking
  • lists of errors made
  • record of marks
  • portfolio, keeping all drafts of assignments

    4.  Rehearsing and memorizing (written or verbal; overt or covert)

  • mnemonic devices
  • teaching someone else the material
  • making sample questions
  • using mental imagery
  • using repetition

B.  Behavioral: These strategies involve actions that the student takes. Self-Regulation—Common Self-Regulation Strategies
    1.  Self-evaluating (checking quality or progress)

  • task analysis (What does the teacher want me to do? What do I want out of it?)
  • self-instructions; enactive feedback
  • attentiveness

    2.  Self-consequating 

  • treats to motivate; self-reinforcement
  • arrangement or imagination of punishments; delay of gratification

C.  Environmental: These strategies involve seeking assistance and structuring of the physical study environment.
    1.  Seeking information (library, Internet)

  • library resources
  • Internet resources
  • reviewing cards
  • rereading records, tests, textbooks

    2.  Environmental structuring

  • selecting or arranging the physical setting
  • isolating/ eliminating or minimizing distractions
  • break up study periods and spread them over time

    3.  Seeking social assistance

  • from peers
  • from teachers or other adults
  • emulate exemplary models
Developing Critical Thinking:

Critical thinking has become a buzzword in education. In the past, the emphasis in classrooms has been on imparting information and content — the times tables or the capitals of the United States, for example. In recent years, however, there's been a shift toward teaching critical thinking, a skill that elevates thinking beyond memorization into the realm of analysis and logic.

Put another way, critical thinking is about knowing how to think, not what to think. Teachers use a number of techniques to help students learn critical thinking, starting as early as kindergarten and ramping up especially in 2nd grade and beyond. Below are a few of the methods educators employ; you can try them at home to help your child become a critical thinker.

  • Ask open-ended questions.Asking questions that don't have one right answer encourages children to respond creatively without being afraid of giving the wrong answer.
  • Categorize and classify.Classification plays an important role in critical thinking because it requires identification and sorting according to a rule, or set of rules, that kids must discover, understand, and apply. If you play classification games at home, be sure to follow up the activity with questions about the similarities and differences between the groups. You can sort everything from dirty laundry to Legos to produce to doll clothes to promote critical thinking.
  • Work in groups.In a group setting, students are exposed to the thought processes of their peers. Thus, they can begin to understand how others think and that there are multiple ways of approaching problems — not just one correct way.
  • Make decisions.Help your child consider pros and cons, but don't be afraid to let her make a wrong choice. Then evaluate the decision later. Ask your child, "How do you feel about your decision? What would you do differently next time?"
  • Find patterns. Whatever you're doing, whether it's going to the park or watching television, encourage your child to look for patterns or make connections for critcal thinking practice. For example, relate a favorite television show to a real-life situation. Or, while driving in the car, have your child identify different shapes in roads signs and in the windows and roofs of passing houses. 

It might be tempting to pass off the critical thinking buzz as just another fad in education. However, most teachers disagree. It's still important for your child to know his multiplication tables, but it's just as vital for him to know how and when to use them.

Six Major Thinking Skills

One of the simplest and easiest ways to develop kids' thinking skills is by wording questions in the right way. When teachers and parents learn to ask questions that stimulate kids' thought processes, learning can be fun for children of all ages.

Whether we are conscious of it or not, different types of questions require us to use different kinds or levels of thinking. According to Bloom's Taxonomy, a widely recognized classification system, human thinking skills can be broken down into six categories. Click below to find out more about each category and what you can do to help your child improve her thinking skills.

Knowledge, comprehension, and application are more concrete thinking skills. Analysis, synthesis, and evaluation require more abstraction and are known as critical thinking skills.

Knowledge involves remembering or recalling appropriate, previously learned information to draw out factual (usually right or wrong) answers.

Asking the Right Questions:
Use words and phrases such as: how many, when, where, list, define, tell, describe, identify, etc., to draw out factual answers and test your child's recall and recognition skills.

Sample questions:
How many eggs in a dozen?
When was Abraham Lincoln president?

Comprehension involves grasping or understanding the meaning of informational materials.

Asking the Right Questions:
Use words such as: describe, explain, estimate, predict, identify, differentiate, etc., to encourage your child to translate, interpret, and extrapolate.

Sample questions:
Explain how an egg becomes a chicken.
What important events occurred during the years Lincoln was president?


Application involves applying previously learned information (or knowledge) to new and unfamiliar situations.

Asking the Right Questions:
Use words such as: demonstrate, apply, illustrate, show, solve, examine, classify, experiment, etc., to encourage your child to apply knowledge to situations that are new and unfamiliar.

Sample questions:
What do an egg and the shape of the globe have in common? Can an egg grow into a cow?
How did Abe Lincoln's personal views on slavery fit with the events of the time?

Analysis involves breaking down information into parts, or examining (and trying to understand the organizational structure of) information.

Asking the Right Questions:
Use words and phrases such as: what are the differences, analyze, explain, compare, separate, classify, arrange, etc., to encourage your child to break information down into parts.

Sample questions:
What is one difference between eggs laid by a frog and a chicken?
Compare and contrast some significant contributions made by presidents during the 1800s.

Synthesis involves applying prior knowledge and skills to combine elements into a pattern not clearly there before.

Asking the Right Questions:
Use words and phrases such as: combine, rearrange, substitute, create, design, invent, what if?, etc., to encourage your child to combine elements into a pattern that's new.

Sample questions:
What might happen if a cow laid eggs? Knowing what you know about egg-laying animals, what could you say about animals that don't lay eggs?
What if Abe Lincoln lived today? What problem might he solve?

Evaluation involves judging or deciding according to some set of criteria, without real right or wrong answers.

Asking the Right Questions:
Use words such as: assess, decide, measure, select, explain, conclude, compare, summarize, etc., to encourage your child to make judgements according to a set of criteria.

Sample questions:
What do egg-laying animals have in common?
What might have happened if Abe Lincoln never lived? What are some ways that history might be different?


Clinical writing is a significant component of being an effective speech-language pathologist, yet often clinicians are not formally trained in this area. Limited evidence exists regarding how to address this problem. Within the current study, graduate speech-language pathology students participated in a Clinical Writing Workshop (CWW) specifically aimed at improving self-regulation and critical thinking as demonstrated through professional writing improvement. The CWW consisted of weekly meetings for the course of one academic semester; each meeting targeted a specific clinical writing topic related to style/use (related to self-regulation) and/or content (related to critical thinking). Participants (n = 17) completed the intervention and provided pre- and post-treatment questionnaires, writing samples and interviews to demonstrate change. Results of this mixed methods study indicate that the CWW, and more specifically the use of models, explicit instruction, writing practice, and feedback, positively impacted participants’ self-regulation and critical thinking skills related to clinical writing.

Recommended Citation

Schneider-Cline, Whitney (2017) "Developing Graduate Students' Self-Regulation and Critical Thinking During a Clinical Writing Workshop," Teaching and Learning in Communication Sciences & Disorders: Vol. 1 : Iss. 1 , Article 3.
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