Action-research done and dusted and I got my application approved for Experienced Teacher accreditation today! It’s been a looooong and arduous journey. My blog hasn’t kept up with it though I did have one at the start, then the middle-ish, and now the end.

Data analysis confirmed what I intuited and shared in the second post, i.e. systematic integration of self-regulation processes really does impact student well-being. It could be positive as well as negative. Interestingly, student self-report data was inclusive. Teacher observation data confirmed it but there’s the observer-expectancy effect niggling at the background. Triangulation using student performance tasks (there were 3) helped.

I was going to blog more about details but this late in the piece, I’m literally over it. Instead, I want to note down for future reference what I plan to integrate into my teaching practice from next year.

Self-regulation practices

Teach students about self-regulation. I will use Barry Zimmerman’s SR learning model just like I did in my action-research. This means giving them a framework, conceptual understanding (and eventually appreciation), as well as the language of self-regulation.


Set distal goals at the start of the year and revisit each term. Since we have a strong effort  (with personal and social aspects) and achievement narrative at school, I’ll most likely get students to set goals for these two at least.

I want this noted electronically so maybe in our LMS.

Set proximal goals at the start of the term and then again weekly. This practice will help re-focus on distal goals and the little steps to get there.

I’m happy to give students flexibility on this. They may use their school diary, own journal (I love my bullet journal system), or electronically.

Performance Monitoring

Retrieval Practice will be a regular activity at the start of the lesson. This worked so well in my project that I kept it going. I actually had a schedule of topics to allow for interleaving and spaced practice. Prompts required elaboration, dual coding, concrete examples or pure recall. (Check out these learning strategies from learningscientists.org). I love Blake Harvard‘s method of colour-coding for retrieval practice and will definitely give it a go.

Track key measures at least once a week. I discovered trackers when I discovered bullet journals. Data collection could easily go crazy so I will have to think this through more carefully. It could be as simple as emojis for effort and achievement that lesson. I’m more interested in helping raise self-awareness as a premise for self-management and regulation, than the actual data.

Model proximal goal setting and monitoring using checklists for learning tasks and activities.


Reflect on (learning) process and product (learning outcome) at the end of each unit and/or task. I used Google Forms, OneDrive Forms, paper-based forms, and whole-class discussions for this. Our new LMS present new ways to do this, too.

Remind students regularly about the relationship between effort and achievement, and the notion of progress. Skilled self-regulators attribute achievement to personal effort; it’s getting naive self-regulators to do the same that’s really tricky. I found that it helped to point out their progress which means they’re on their way towards achievement.


Doing my action-research “forced” me to systematically integrate the self-regulation practices I wanted students to engage in.  Everyone got better at it and their achievement and well-being improved. Their last reflections were detailed and with appropriate attributions showing many have internalised the effort-achievement narrative. One particular student who was so anxious and owned up to being poor at reflection wrote 6 months later, “I no longer fear the future. …”

Hope is found in actions – belief that one’s effort will improve one’s future.

Measuring Hope

Earlier in the year, I blogged about my action research on hope. Since then, I’ve refined my research question (and Lit Review) to ‘Does systematic integration of self-regulating processes into a year 12 Software Design & Dev class impact on student wellbeing?”

After many iterations of defining my construct, I settled on what I started off with…HOPE. It is one of ACARA’s dimensions for wellbeing and aligns strongly with my school’s aspiration to inspire global hope.

I also kept the notion of ‘active hope’ where hope is found in actions and belief that such actions would lead to improvements. It’s true that a huge element of this aligns with Bandura’s self-efficacy which helped with finding literature for the review and fleshing out my project. However, I also wanted to maintain the social aspect of hope that extended beyond self-efficacy.

This ‘extension’ was partially driven by the need to find something more easily observable and measure. It was also because the classroom is ultimately a social context and each student is a contributor, not merely a recipient of social influences. I think James Arvanitakis said it well in  From Despair to Hope – The Curiosity Lecture Series (available here),

…if openly shared and freely distributed, hope can spread throughout the community.

I did not set out to measure inspiring societal (or global) hope as such but one of my action research ‘interventions’ (if you will) was to have students act as peer models. That was a bit of a stretch for ‘freely’ but there was definite sharing and distribution of active hope.

I haven’t fully analysed my research data but it is likely that it will empirically support my observation that YES, integrating self-regulation processes does impact student wellbeing (hope) positively and negatively (the 2-tailed question was intentional). I imagine many teachers suspect as much but now I’ve got data to (hopefully) prove it, notwithstanding the risk of observer-expectancy effect and other risks to the validity of my meager social research attempt.

It would be premature to state a conclusion prior to data analysis but were I to generalise my learning so far, I daresay my teaching practice even when targeting academic achievement does impact student wellbeing. While it often seemed futile to measure hope, I am glad I’ve made this attempt.


Inspiring hope…I hope to do so

My school “hopes to inspire hope in others and be a source of hope in the future”. In other words, it seeks to inspire global hope.

I’ve been ruminating this since starting there last year. What is hope? How can we inspire global hope? What does it mean to inspire? Am I hopeful? Do I inspire? Do I inspire hope? Can I help my students inspire and be a source of hope?

I have a chance to answer some of these questions as part of an action research towards experienced teacher accreditation.

Action research is  a good way for me to be more systematic about how I gather and use data as I refine my teaching practice. I think John Spencer explains what it is very well in this video:


The focus of my action research is wellbeing, and in particular, fostering hope. Just as John said in the video, the research project started with a lit review. Defining terms was difficult; ditto for finding what data to collect and how. My lit review (PDF) pretty much documents my journey into defining what it means for me to promote hope, as a classroom teacher conducting an action research. Here’s an excerpt:

Hope is one of the wellbeing dimensions (ACARA, 2010). Hope is also a contextual word that implies optimism or positive mutability. Hope is also associated with grit, defined as passion and perseverance to pursue long-term goals (Duckworth, 2016) or higher-order goals students deem personally worthy of on-going effort (Shechtman et al., 2013). Thus, hope can be viewed as a ‘skill’ that can be learned and exercised with effort in the context or pursuit of valued goals.

Hope is not blind faith. Hope is found in actions. Actions create a better world; a preferred future – to quote from ACARA’s Digital Technologies curriculum. Actions build capacity and confidence on which optimism associated with ‘hope’ lies.

In a classroom, actions include performing positive self-regulation skills. Self-regulation (SR) skills are the skills students practice as they engage – or avoid – learning. Perhaps the SR skill most aligned with hope is self-efficacy – the contextual confidence in one’s ability.

In my action research project, I will be using Barry Zimmerman’s SR learning model which is an ongoing cyclical process of forethought, performance, and self-reflection….kinda like the action research model… kinda like the design process we use in the computing curriculum.

Barry Zimmerman's Self-Regulated Learning (SRL) model

Barry Zimmerman’s Self-Regulated Learning (SRL) model

I’m still in the planning phase of the action research. As mentioned in my lit review, I have to design my teaching and learning program to incorporate teaching SR skills (promoting wellbeing is integrated vs an adjunct to academic learning) – and then measure and analyse and evaluate. There is so much to do yet!

However, I am excited. I hope (ha!) that this action research project will see some growth in hope in my students.

I reckon hope might as well be my one word this year.