Teacher Learning through Self-Regulation: An Exploratory Study of Alternatively Prepared Teachers’ Ability to Plan Differentiated Instruction in an Urban Elementary School

Feb. 15, 2012

Source: Teacher Education Quarterly, Volume 39, No. 1, Winter 2012
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

The purpose of this research is to understand alternative certification candidates’ development as planners and implementers of Differentiated Instruction (DI).

This article presents three cases which introduces three female apprentices.
Lesson plans, reflections on practice, and observation notes were collected for each apprentice teacher, and analyzed in search of unifying conditions related to the development of lesson planning skills.


Self-regulation, in part, concerns a teacher’s conscious goal-setting and proactive stance towards making a change in the classroom. From here, a self-regulating teacher will make a cognitive effort to monitor the conditions in question, consciously think about the situation, and then work to control it by making an attempt to reach the set goal or change the context in question. Next, the teacher evaluates the situation, comparing the results with the goals set. The teacher also reacts to the results, reflecting on the consequences and deciding what to do next.

The important role of self-regulation in apprentice development is an overarching conclusion in this study because the development of each of the other conditions (collegial relationships, classroom management, planning for a standard and student need, accepting feedback) was greatly influenced by the apprentice’s ability to self-regulate. Apprentices with strong self-regulatory capabilities demonstrated a stronger ability to plan and implement DI.
This stronger ability is possibly due to the fact that teachers who engage in self-regulatory behaviors are more likely to know what is going on with students, lessons, and the general goings-on in the room because they consciously think about these things throughout the day. Although the five major conditions identified in this work are pivotal pieces of the learning novices will experience, they should not to be considered the only things that new teachers need to master. Knowing that novice teachers develop in several specific areas while on their way to becoming self-regulated teachers will help teacher educators focus their instruction and support in these areas. When novices become aware of these developmental milestones, they will be aware of what they need to accomplish before they can focus on the more teaching-specific areas, like planning for a standard or planning for student needs. Self-regulation is an important part of the teacher’s role since teachers make hundreds of decisions that affect their students during the school day.

Updated: Mar. 01, 2017