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How Vennebos Embraces Self-Regulated Learning: A Look Behind the Scenes

Updated: Dec 8, 2023

In this blog series, school leader Christine Claessens shares her experiences with implementing self-regulated learning in her school:GO! Vennebos primary school. She will - quite literally - take you along on her journey. Christine takes her team (and now also you) on a school visit abroad. But why does Vennebos choose self-regulated learning? And how do you bring such a big concept like self-regulated learning to your team? Go on and read all about it in this first article.

We arrived with team Vennebos in Amsterdam.

But why are we here and how did we get here?

Where the real journey began

Vennebos Primary School is part of the Invento school group. 4 years ago, the Invento school group opted to focus on self-regulated learning. This focus completely fits our broader school networks' central policy aim, called GO!'s north star vision.

Our trajectory so far

Up until now, we have done quite a bit already to get ourselves familiarized with self-regulated learning:

  • We formed a Professional Learning Community (PLC).

  • We started with a guidance program at the Pedagogical Guidance Service (PBD-GO!).

  • We set up collegial groups and organized cross-school pedagogical study days on self-regulated learning with all primary schools in the school group.

  • Each school principal took responsibility for introducing self-regulated learning (SRL) into the classroom in their school.

And this is where my story begins.

How do I bring self-regulated learning to my team?

How Vennebos primary school implements self-regulated learning in 3 phases

Phase 1 - What is self-regulated learning?

The starting point was easy to determine: let's make sure we speak the same language when we talk about students' self-regulated learning.

The school community decided to work with Barry Zimmerman's model. His model divides the learning process into 3 levels:

  • the preparation phase,

  • the implementation phase and

  • the reflection phase.

Within these phases, we find 21 skills students can use to reach their targets.

All these skills were examined one by one during staff meetings. It was investigated:

  • what they mean precisely,

  • what we already do in our practice (which happend to be quite a lot) and

  • where there were still growth opportunities.

We did this based on the video course by Jeltsen Peeters that was made available on our educational networks' Digital Learning Platform for professionals. Jeltsen has also written an easy-to-read book (in Duch) in which all the principles of self-regulated learning are discussed.

we did not stop after diving into theory. Quite naturally, teachers started to set up actions that helped to put self-regulated learning into practice.

This diving into the 'what' of self-regulated learning can be seen as phase 1 of our process to get self-regulated learning onto the classroom floor.

Phase 2 - The translation into our classroom practices

Phase 2 took shape after an inspiring job shadowing with the pedagogical guidance service to schools in Rotterdam and Gouda in which I was allowed to participate.

For us, the road to self-regulated learning passes by... the Netherlands.

To ensure that students become aware of self-regulation, teachers must first view their lessons through an SRL lens.

We found inspiration in the work of Patrick Sins, lecturer at Thomas More University of Applied Sciences in Rotterdam. He has also developed a method, iSelf, in which the teacher is guided, using a flowchart, to create the SRL-enriched lessons.

The basic principle is that you teach students in an explicit, direct manner the strategies they need to be self-regulating. After all, you cannot learn self-regulated learning all by yourself. You need to be taught.

But the greatest inspiration came from the students of the Casimirschool in Gouda.

These students

  • can perfectly tell what they are good at and what they need to make an extra effort

  • know why they take charge of their own learning, how to approach it, and what they need for that.

It's exactly this observation that led me to insights for phase 3 in my school.

Phase 3 - Making students aware of their own SRL skills

That is why we ended up in the Netherlands with the entire team. I want my team to experience from the front row what self-regulated learning looks like for students.

We are therefore visiting 4 schools in Amsterdam from the Staij school group today.

These are very diverse schools, all of which are self-regulating.

More about that tomorrow!

See you then?



Want more?

Curious about the steps die Vennebos moves towards self-regulated learning?

This article is part of the next :

Also interested in a school visit abroad?

Just like Vennebos, apply for resources via the Erasmus+ program under Key Action 1. Contact your Erasmus+ National Agency. As a school, you can apply for grants for foreign training and/or school visits.

What about you, dear reader?

Are you also looking into the topic of self-regulated learning?

Where are you on your path?

Let us know in the comment section below.

Like what you read and think your school practice might inspire others as well?

Please, reach out to us!

Drop us a message in the chat.

Let's talk!


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