Students are almost influenced by their local contexts when learning. Some research finds that students’ perceptions of classroom control are composed of two independent dimensions: level of student control and level of teacher control.
Level of student control means students who have high self-efficacy, use cognitive strategies and regulate their behavior in learning contexts， they will get better achievement in their learning procedure. Level of teacher control includes: on the one hand, teachers should provide a clear guide or scaffold to those students who have low skills in self-regulation, which help them to monitor their behaviors and efforts. On the other hand, teachers could control the competitive atmosphere in the classroom, because competition may get negative effects for students’ goal orientation and self-efficacy sometimes.
Likewise, the influence of context on motivation should be considered by students and teachers. For students, they could have positive emotion for the control of context and use strategies to solve the problems of the context. For teachers, they should construct an optimal context for students which make them to have correct motivation for their tasks, goal-setting, monitoring and evaluating.
2. Domain knowledge
Domain knowledge is one of the key conditions to influence the self-regulated learning, the knowledge of a domain is essential for students to have advanced planning and performance. A researcher, Alexander (1997) made a multifaceted model to explain how domain knowledge influences interests and strategies use, and lead to better performance.
The model includes three stages: acclimation stage, competence stage, and proficiency stage. In the acclimation stage, students’ knowledge and interest are very low; they only use low-level strategies to solve difficulties, they have not storage more knowledge and information. In the competence stage, their knowledge increase, meantime, their interests in learning still enhance; they can use deep-level strategies to settle troubles; at that time, students prone to have abilities to regulate their motivation, efforts, and behavior. In the proficiency stage, their use of knowledge, interests, and strategies are high. They get domain knowledge and have a better performance, which means they are a good learner in this domain, which also affect their learning in other fields and to be a self-regulated learner.
3. External evaluation —feedback
Some researches indicate that both internal and external evaluations can influence performances. In general, if students get external feedback about their learning, their performances will improve. Feedback has many kinds of form, but what feedback is useful for students’ learning. I think the feedback about specific contents and information in the field provided to students are effective for them; that can improve their efficiency in completing the task. Then, give students some messages and methods about utilization of strategies, for example, when, how, and why to use this strategy. Lastly, give students some instruction to monitor and manage their behavior, which will influence their task motivation, efforts, and self-efficacy.
1. Task interpretation and personal motivation
The task interpretation and personal motivational belief may interact to shape students’ task engagement. For one thing, through the interpretation of the task, students can judge the value of the task, which means if they are interested in the task or not, what advantages and progress they could gain if they complete the task. If they think the task is interesting and they can achieve more, they will like to pursuit the task’s target; but the task value is low or negative, the motivation of the students will be affected, they are unwilling to do or pay little efforts for the task.
For another, the task interpretation always reflects students’ self-efficacy. When students believe their ability and competence will accomplish the task successfully and realize their goal by means of the interpretation of the task, they could engage in the task and sustain their efforts. But if students find it is difficult for them to complete the task according to their perception of task interpretation, they will avoid the implement of the task.
2. Some problems in task interpretation
Firstly, students have limited metacognitive knowledge and misconceptions about task. Limited metacognitive knowledge refer to students do not have enough knowledge and information about purpose, structure, and components about the task. Misconceptions about task refer to students have the inaccurate understanding about the fundamental nature of academic work.
Secondly, students are short of strategies which could help them to interpret the task correctly and explicitly. For example, they do not know how to read the problem to understand the question asked, they do not know how to find the instruction which may help them to know the intent of the task, and they do not know what the expectation of the given task is, and so on.
Lastly, the self-regulation of students influences their task interpretation. They are not aware of the importance of the task interpretation, so they do not pay more attention on it and guide their activities on the basis of relative information of the task.
3. Certain assigned academic tasks interfere task interpretation
We believe that students’ metacognitive knowledge and conceptions about tasks accumulated from their successive experiences of tasks. Hence, the academic tasks which teachers assign to students are important for their task interpretation. But certain assigned academic tasks have negative effects for students to interpret tasks. For instance, some reading tasks emphasize the meaning of the every word rather than understanding contents of the article and writing skills; some writing tasks lay stress on grammars and punctuation, but ignore the application of words and structure. The result of those tasks leads to students having wrong metacognitive knowledge of the task’s purpose, structure, and components.
Therefore, teachers should think about the academic tasks assigned to students carefully. Such as what is the goal of the task, what should students do to achieve the goal, how to stimulate students’ positive motivation for the task, how to promote students’ self-regulated learning. In addition, the assigned academic task should assist students get ability to interpret the tasks accurately and have habits of effective task interpretation.
1. Jeffrey Alan Greene & Roger Azevedo(2007). A Theoretical Review of Winne and Hadwin’s Model of Self-Regulated Learning: New Perspectives and Directions. Review of Educational Research. September 2007. Vol.77, No.3, pp.334-372
2. Deborah L. Butler& Sylvie C. Cartier(2004). Promoting Effective Task Interpretation as an Important Work Habit: A Key to Successful Teaching and Learning. Teachers College Record Volume 106, Number 9, September 2004, pp.1729-1758.