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Why we need to talk about the bigger picture

In the beginning (think: a couple of years back) I used to teach about self-regulated learning (SRL) in a traditional way: piece by piece. It had two disadvantages:


  1. It took a lot of time before we got to the core of what teachers were hoping for: how can I support my students? What practical things can I do?

  2. It was difficult to see ‘the entire picture’. Teachers wondered why all the other topics I tried to cover actually mattered. Think of topics like ‘why should we invest in SRL?’, ‘what is SRL?’, ‘how do we assess SRL?’, ‘how do teachers think and feel about SRL?’,...


Luckily, at some point during the training, I was always rewarded by a big and shared AHA moment. Once I showed how all of the topics I chose to cover were related, you could see all pieces of the puzzle clicking into place.


No matter how POWERFUL and MEANINGFUL this AHA moment, I think it took too long for this to happen.


I TOOK it PERSONALLY (Don’t pity me, I think I should take it personally).


It’s my responsibility to help my learners (all of you) understand what self-regulated learning is about. If my learners thought I was just covering topics that didn’t make sense and were interpreted as ‘too theoretical’, I had to shake things up.


And so I did.


From then on, I always start my training with the BIGGER picture, or the ‘picture on the puzzle box’.


I show what evidence-based high-quality support of self-regulated learning looks like and what’s needed to get there.


It makes total sense from a scientific perspective too. It allows you to build your ‘cognitive model’.


What’s that, Jeltsen?


That just means that I offer you a framework you can use to store everything you learn about self-regulated learning in a structured way. It saves you time trying to build your own cognitive model from scratch.


So, when I show the picture on the puzzle box, I also share this:


🖤 Yes, this is the bigger picture. It’s quite a lot as a starter.

🖤 No, you don’t need to finish the puzzle by tomorrow.

🖤 On the contrary, please do take a couple of years. Don’t worry, you’ll see results before that!

🖤 Choose what best suits your situation:

  • Study the picture on the box (i.e. explore the theory with your team)

  • Build the frame of the puzzle (i.e. build the structures and policy first)

  • Start with a specific piece (e.g. try and make SRL visible to your students)

  • Build one big puzzle with the entire team, or have all teams build their own


Know that whatever strategy you choose, knowing the picture on the box will make sure that:

  • You know what you’re trying to achieve in the end

  • You know what piece of the puzzle you are focusing on

  • You are aware of the pieces that are still missing

  • You know you don't have to do it all at once


You’ll no longer feel lost or aimless.


With time, focus, and collaboration you will get the hang of it.

You will have students who know how to learn and continue learning.

You will see their results improve. You will see it is TOTALLY WORTH it!



P.s. Curious to learn more about this picture on the box? Want to have a thorough and evidence-based summary of how to support your students' self-regulated learning? Have a look at my services page! You might want to hop on one of my waiting lists. Or join my NEWSLETTER to get all the facts and fun around self-regulated learning right into your mailbox!

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