Wednesday, May 2, 2012
"Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime." One of the goals of modern education is to develop self-regulated learners--learners who can teach themselves.
Self-regulated learners are engaged learners. "They are more alert, more intellectually active, less willing to be satisfied with superficially attractive answers, more skeptical about their intuitions." (Daniel Kahneman) They are inquisitive, open to new ideas, and take risks. They do not settle for the first answer, but always consider alternatives. Most importantly, self-regulated learners can learn on their own, and they develop the habits of reflecting on what they have learned and criticizing the ideas of others and their own ideas.
Self-regulated learning involves three recursive stages: forethought, performance, and reflection. In other words, they think about doing the task, perform the task, and reflect on what they have done. Reflection is the most important part of being a self-regulated learner--reflection on what you have learned and how you have learned it (the learning process).
The best article I know of on self-regulated learning by law students is Michael Hunter Schwartz, Teaching Law Students to be Self-Regulated Learners, 2003 Mich. St. DCL L. Rev. 447. Also available here. This is a seminal article in the legal education reform movement.