Changes in leaders and teachers’ epistemic reflexivity for teaching about self-regulated learning

Year: 2021

Author: Barr, Shyam

Type of paper: Symposium

To thrive Australian schools must foster 21st century capabilities. For example, some schools in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), under the guidance of the Future of Education strategy (ACT Education Directorate, 2020), are focusing on developing students’ capabilities for self‑regulated learning (SRL). However, despite focused intentions and concentrated effort, studies have reported relatively little uptake and longer-term sustainability of good-quality SRL teaching initiatives in schools.                Reasons for a gap between SRL research and classroom practices might include change fatigue, teacher workload, and the quality of professional education (often short-term and didactic). Another reason, which is proposed in this presentation, is that insufficient attention has been paid to teachers’ epistemic cognition for teaching. How a teacher thinks about knowledge and knowing in the context of teaching – that is, their epistemic cognition - offers an explanation for the lack of sustained high-quality SRL teaching initiatives observed in schools.                 In this presentation we will explore teachers’ epistemic cognition for teaching about SRL from two perspectives:First, we will propose a theoretical representation of epistemic cognition, including epistemic reflexivity, for teaching about SRL. We will provide examples of how the model can be useful for guiding teacher professional education that includes a focus on developing their epistemic cognition.Second, we will discuss findings from a recent microgenetic investigation that used questionnaires, think-alouds and classroom observations in a K-12 Victorian school. We selected the schools’ middle-leaders (those with a dual role of leading and teaching, e.g., heads of departments, subject-coordinators) as key brokers of teaching and learning not only with students, but also with staff in the school. The middle-leaders participated in a 12-week Professional Learning Community (PLC) that explicitly prompted the middle-leaders to engage in epistemic cognition about SRL. Changes that occurred in association with participants’ engagement in the PLC included substantial to significant improvements in their epistemic cognition for teaching and their teaching practice about SRL.This research we present is context specific. However, it can provide a lens through which to consider the influence of epistemic cognition on teaching intentions, plans, and actions. We argue that alerting teachers to their epistemic cognition has the potential to drive school-improvement initiatives through teacher professional education.