Initial Publication Date: June 8, 2017

In Depth: One Instructor's Approach to Developing Self-regulated Learners

Kaatje Kraft, Whatcom Community College

I have been teaching at community colleges for over 15 years and my experience with implementing metacognition and self-regulated learning strategies has evolved as I have grown as a faculty member. I started teaching at Mesa Community College in Mesa, AZ in 1999 as an adjunct, landed a tenure-track position in 2000 and moved to Whatcom Community College in Bellingham, WA in 2014. Across the institutions I have taught Physical Geology, Historical Geology, Natural Hazards, Environmental Geology, Oceanography, and field courses. I implement learning reflections in ALL of these classes. At both institutions, the general maximum class size is 24 students.

Many of my students are first-generation college students who may lack some of the skill sets and knowledge of how to navigate the college system. As such, helping to arm my students with strategies to help them to be successful regardless of their future major, I feel strongly that teaching metacognitive skills provides them with an important tool kit to achieve their goals.

I use various strategies on a spectrum that range in both effort and impact. Two such strategies are given below.


Self Reflection through Initial and Final Prompts

Students don't enter as blank slates, so acknowledging what they already know (whether it is correct or incorrect) is important to help prime the pump for new information. This technique also helps you identify common problems you'll need to address, and illustrates the foundational knowledge upon which you can build.


The notebook system provides an organizational structure for students that is particularly important for students who may lack the ability to know how to best organize their information and thoughts about the course.