MYRON H. DEMBO
A Self-Management Approach
and Learning Strategies for
FOR COLLEGE SUCCESS
A Self-Management Approach
FOR COLLEGE SUCCESS
A Self-Management Approach
Myron H. Dembo
University of Southern California
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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Dembo, Myron H.
Motivation and learning strategies for college success: a self-management approach / Myron H. Dembo.
Includes bibliographical references.
ISBN 0-8058-4648-4 (pbk. : alk. paper)
1. College student orientation. 2. Achievement motivation.
3. Learning strategies. I. Title.
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UNIT I: FOUNDATIONS OF LEARNING AND MOTIVATION
Chapter 1 Academic Self-Management 3
Chapter 2 Understanding Learning and Memory 29
Chapter 3 Understanding Motivation 51
UNIT II: MOTIVATIONAL STRATEGIES
Chapter 4 Goal Setting 93
Chapter 5 Management of Emotion and Effort 111
UNIT III: BEHAVIORAL STRATEGIES
Chapter 6 Time Management 139
Chapter 7 Management of Physical and Social Environment 165 UNIT IV: LEARNING AND STUDY STRATEGIES
Chapter 8 Learning From Textbooks 189
Chapter 9 Learning From Lectures 217
Chapter 10 Preparing for Exams 237
Chapter 11 Taking Exams 255
Appendix A A Guide for Completing a Self-Management Study 285 Appendix B Examples of Self-Management Studies 301
Figure 1.1. Zimmerman, B. J., Bonner, S., & Kovich, R. (1996). Developing self- regulated learners: Beyond achievement to self-efficacy. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. Copyright © 1996 by the American Psychological Asso- ciation. Adapted with permission.
Figure 2.2. From Bower, G. H., Clark, M. C., Lesgold, A., & Winzenz, D. (1969).
Hierarchical retrieval schemas in recall of categorized word lists. Journal of Memory and Language (Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior), 8, 323–343.
Reprinted with permission from Elsevier.
Table 3.1. Ames, C., & Archer, J. (1988). Achievement goals in the classroom: Stu- dents’ learning strategies and motivation processes. Journal of Educational Psychol- ogy, 80, 260–267. Copyright © 1988 by the American Psychological Association.
Adapted with permission.
Figure 4.1. From The 10 natural laws of successful time and life management by Hyrum Smith. Copyright © 1994 by Hyrum Smith. By permission of Warner Books Inc., New York.
Table 8.1. From Kiewra, K. A., & Dubois, N. F. (1998). Learning to learn. Boston:
Allyn & Bacon. Adapted with permission.
Table 10.1. From College study skills: Becoming a strategic learner (1st ed.), by D. Van Blerkom. Copyright © 1994. Reprinted with permission of Wadsworth, a di- vision of Thomson Learning: www.thomsonrights.com, Fax 800 730–2215.
UNIT I: FOUNDATIONS OF LEARNING AND MOTIVATION Chapter 1 Academic Self-Management 3
What Is Academic Self-Management? 4
They Hold Faulty Beliefs About Their Ability, Learning, and
Exercise 1.1: Self-Observation: Assessing Your Self-Management What Is the Difference Between High School and College? 7
Why Are Some Students Less Successful Learners? 8 Motivation 8
They Are Unaware of Their Ineffective Learning Behavior 9
They Fail to Sustain Effective Learning and Motivational Strategies 9 They Are Not Ready to Change Their Learning and Study Behavior 9 How Can I Change My Academic Behavior? 10
Methods of Learning 13 Use of Time 14
Physical and Social Environment 15 Performance 16
The Six Components of Academic Self-Management 17 Skills 19
How Can I Change My Behavior? 20
How Does Self-Management Occur in an Academic Context? 24 Key Points 25
Follow-up Activities 26
Chapter 2 Understanding Learning and Memory 29 What Are the Flaws in Human Memory? 30
How Does the Information-Processing System Explain Learning? 31 Short-Term Sensory Store 32
Working Memory 33
Exercise 2.1: Demonstrating the Capacity of Working Memory 34 Long-Term Memory 36
What Is the Difference Between Rote and Meaningful Learning? 38 Exercise 2.2: Understanding the Importance of Prior Knowledge 38
What Learning Strategies Promote Learning and Retention? 39 Rehearsal Strategies 40
Elaboration Strategies 41 Organizational Strategies 44
Exercise 2.3: Demonstrating the Importance of Categorizing Knowledge 44
Exercise 2.4: Identifying Learning Strategies 46 Key Points 47
Follow-up Activities 47
Chapter 3 Understanding Motivation 51 Motivational Problems 51
Defensive Dimitri 52 Safe Susan 52
Hopeless Henry 52 Satisfied Sheila 52 Anxious Alberto 53
What Is Motivation and What Factors Influence It? 53 Motivated Behavior 54
Personal and Sociocultural Factors 55
Exercise 3.1: Self-Observation: Analyzing My Personal and Sociocultural Background 58
Classroom Environmental Factors 60
Exercise 3.2: Self-Observation: Analyzing Classroom Experiences 61 Internal Factors 62
Exercise 3.3: Identifying Mastery and Performance Goal Orientations 66 Am I Motivated to Change My Academic Behavior? 76
I Can’t Change 77
I Don’t Want to Change 78 I Don’t Know What to Change 80 I Don’t Know How to Change 80 Key Points 82
Follow-up Activities 83
UNIT II: MOTIVATIONAL STRATEGIES Chapter 4 Goal Setting 93
Exercise 4.1: Self-Observation: Identifying Your Values 97 Why Is Goal Setting Important? 98
What Properties of Goals Enhance Motivation? 100 What Are the Steps in the Goal-Setting Process? 101
Step 1: Identifying and Defining the Goal 101 Exercise 4.2: Writing Personal Goals 104
Step 2: Generating and Evaluating Alternative Plans 104 Step 3: Making Implementation Plans 105
Step 4: Implementing the Plan 105 Step 5: Evaluating Your Progress 106 Key Points 107
Follow-up Activities 107
Chapter 5 Management of Emotion and Effort 111
Exercise 5.1: Self-Observation: Assessing Emotions 112 What Is the Role of Emotions in Academic Performance? 114
How Are Emotions Influenced by Events and Experiences? 116 Exercise 5.2: Identifying Irrational Thinking Patterns 119
How Can the Rational Emotive Approach Be Used to Change Emotions? 120 How Does Self-Talk Influence My Emotions and Behavior? 121
How Does Self-Talk Operate? 123 Examples of Negative Self-Talk 124
Exercise 5.3: Classifying Negative Self-Talk 124 How Can I Change My Self-Talk? 126
An Example of Analyzing Self-Talk 126
Exercise 5.4: Self-Observation: Using Self-Talk 128 Can Relaxation Reduce Anxiety? 128
Key Points 130
Follow-up Activities 131
UNIT III: BEHAVIORAL STRATEGIES Chapter 6 Time Management 139
What Is Time Management? 140
Study in an Environment That Is Relatively Free of Distractions and
Schedule Tasks So They Can Be Accomplished in 30- to 60-Minute Blocks of
Alternative Subjects When You Have a Long Time Block Available for How Do You Use Your Time? 141
Exercise 6.1: Self-Observation: Assessing Time Wasters 141 Exercise 6.2: Self-Observation: Assessing Use of Time 141 What Are Some Good Time Management Strategies? 145
Set Regular Study Periods 145 Interruptions 145
Take Short Breaks 146
Be Specific in Identifying How You Plan to Use Your Time 146 Study 147
Estimate the Time Needed for Each Assignment 147 Prioritize Tasks 147
Do the Assignment for the Course You Dislike First 148 Work Ahead of Your Assignments When Possible 148
Carry Your Calendar With You and Write Down Any Appointments as Soon as You Make Them 148
How Do I Develop a System of Time Planning and Management? 149 Semester Calendar 149
Weekly Priority Tasks List 151 Weekly Schedule 151
What Is Procrastination? 155 Do You Procrastinate? 155
What Are the Causes of Procrastination? 156
What Can I Do About My Tendency to Procrastinate? 156 Procrastination Elimination Strategies 157
Challenging and Changing Beliefs and Misperceptions 158 Exercise 6.3: Challenge Irrational Beliefs 158
Key Points 159
Follow-up Activities 160
Chapter 7 Management of Physical and Social Environment 165 Is There a Difference Between Attention and Concentration? 167
Exercise 7.1: Self-Observation: Evaluating Study Environments 168 What Factors Influence Attention and Concentration? 169
Exercise 7.2: Self-Observation: Becoming Aware of Misdirected Attention 170
How Can I Improve My Attention and Concentration? 170 Exercise 7.3: Dealing With Distracters 172
How Do I Seek Academic Help? 175
How Can I Work More Effectively in Groups? 176
How Can I Help Make My Study Group More Productive? 178 How Can I Improve My Concentration Skills? 180
Sending Messages Effectively 180 Receiving Messages Effectively 181 Key Points 183
Follow-up Activities 183
UNIT IV: LEARNING AND STUDY STRATEGIES Chapter 8 Learning From Textbooks 189
What Does Research Tell Us About Good Readers? 190
Exercise 8.1: Self-Observation: Assessing Reading Strategies 191 What Learning Strategies Can I Use to Improve My Reading Comprehension
and Retention? 193 Before Reading 194 During Reading 195
After Reading 200
Exercise 8.2: Identifying Different Representations in Academic Exercise 8.3: Constructing Different Representations in Academic How Can I Construct Representations? 206
Content 207 Content 209 Key Points 211
Follow-up Activities 212
Chapter 9 Learning From Lectures 217
Exercise 9.1: Self-Observation: Analyzing Note-Taking Strategies 218 How Can I Take Better Notes? 221
Before the Lecture 221 During the Lecture 222 After the Lecture 224
Exercise 9.2: Practicing the Note-Taking Strategy 227 How Can I Ask Good Mirror Questions? 229
Exercise 9.3: Identifying Different Levels of Questions in Lectures 230 How Do I Deal With Particular Note-Taking Problems or Issues? 230 Key Points 233
Follow-up Activities 233
Chapter 10 Preparing for Exams 237
Exercise 10.1: Self-Observation: Assessing Exam Preparation 239 How Do I Develop a Study Plan? 240
Step 1: Determine the Content Coverage and Question Format of the Exam 241
Step 2: Organize and Separate the Content Into Parts 243 Step 3: Identify Specific Study Strategies 243
Step 4: Identify the Amount of Time Needed for Each Strategy 245 Step 5: Allocate Time for Each Study Strategy in a Weekly Schedule 246 Step 6: Modify the Plan as Necessary 246
An Example of a Study Plan 246
Content Coverage and Question Format 248 Organize the Content for Study 248
Identify Specific Study Strategies 248
Identify the Amount of Time Needed for Each Strategy 250 Allocate Time for Each Study Strategy in a Weekly Schedule 251 Key Points 252
Follow-up Activities 252 Chapter 11 Taking Exams 255
Exercise 11.1: Self-Observation: Assessing Test-Taking Strategies 256 What Strategies Can I Use to Answer Objective Test Questions? 258
How Should You Manage Your Time? 258
Read Each Question Carefully to Determine What Is Expected in the
Organize Your Response by Making an Outline or Representation How Should You Approach Each Question? 258
When Should You Change an Answer? 258 Strategies for True–False Questions 259
Exercise 11.2: Identifying Key Words 260 Strategies for Matching Questions 260 Strategies for Fill-in-the-Blank Questions 261 Strategies for Multiple-Choice Questions 262
Exercise 11.3: Taking a Multiple-Choice Exam 263 What Strategies Can I Use for Answering Essay Questions? 265
Read the Directions Carefully and Do Exactly What Is Asked 265 Response 265
Determine How You Will Use Your Time 267
Determine the Order in Which You Will Respond to the Questions 267 (Map) 268
Write Your Answer Following Specific Procedures 268 If Given an Opportunity, Review Your Exam Results 268
Exercise 11.4: Evaluating Responses to an Essay Question 269 Evaluating the Two Essay Responses 271
Key Points 274
Follow-Up Activities 274 Glossary 279
Appendix A: A Guide for Completing a Self-Management Study 285 Appendix B: Examples of Self-Management Studies 301
References 325 Author Index 333 Subject Index 337
Many textbooks are available on how to become a more successful learner. As an instructor of a “learning to learn” course, I have been concerned that many stu- dents who take such a course to improve their learning and study skills fail to change their behavior during or after the course. I strongly believe that simply telling students how to learn and providing some practice does not necessarily change attitudes, beliefs, or behavior. Changing ineffective learning and study habits is a difficult process, as is losing weight or stopping smoking.
This textbook is the result of an instructional program I developed and evalu- ated with a wide range of college students identified “at risk” to those entering college with a B or higher grade-point average. I have used the approach presented in this text with students in high schools, community colleges, and 4-year colleges.
The primary purpose of the textbook is to help students change aspects of their motivation and learning strategies. I place the responsibility for determining what behaviors or beliefs need to be changed on them, not the instructor. The process of change begins by observing and reflecting on one’s own behavior and then deter- mining what needs to be changed and learning how to change. The features of this textbook are designed to identify the components of academic learning that contribute to high achievement, help students learn and practice effective learning and study strategies, and then complete self-management studies whereby they are taught a process for improving their academic behavior.
FEATURES OF THE TEXT
I attempt to accomplish my goals by incorporating the following features in the text.
First, I identify six components that students need to control to become suc- cessful learners—motivation, methods of learning, time management, physical and social environment, and performance. These components serve as the basis for organizing and integrating the content throughout the text. Further, this focus allows for the integration of both motivation and learning strategies. As students learn new learning strategies, they must develop the motivation to use them.
Second, the text begins with an overview of important research and theory to help students understand the reasons why they are asked to use different study and learning strategies in the text. Most study skill textbooks are atheoretical;
that is, little, if any, research or theory is presented to students. I believe that
learning how to learn is a specific academic specialization based on scientific knowledge, and students should learn this knowledge. Further, I find that students are more motivated to learn when the course is conducted like a “real” academic course and not as a remedial experience.
Third, various Exercises are included in each chapter to help students observe and evaluate their own learning and study skills. In addition, more detailed follow- up activities at the end of each chapter allow students to apply the content to their own academic learning. The primary purpose of these experiences is to encourage self-observation and evaluation.
Fourth, beginning with chapter 5, the first Follow-Up Activity identifies a topic to include in a self-management study. The appendixes provide information as to how to conduct a self-management study (Appendix A) and include three studies conducted by students (Appendix B) in a “learning to learn” course. Note the instructor’s evaluation at the end of each self-management study. The appendixes should be read before students begin their own study.
Fifth, the Student Reflections sections allow students to read about the experi- ences of other students as they attempt to change their behavior and become more successful students.
Sixth, at the end of each chapter, a review of the specific procedures for using a learning strategy is provided. This section is particularly useful for students when they need a quick review of how to implement a given strategy.
Seventh, the Key Points at the end of each chapter highlight the important ideas presented in each chapter.
Eighth, a glossary is included, with important terms in bold in the text.
OVERVIEW OF THE CHAPTERS
Unit I of the text includes three chapters. Chapter 1—“Academic Self- Management”—identifies the academic components that students need to control to attain their academic goals. In addition, the chapter introduces a four-step process used to change behavior—self-observation and evaluation, goal setting and strategic planning, strategy implementation and monitoring, and strategic-outcome monitoring. This process is used as the basis for conducting a self-management study and is explained in depth in Appendix A. Chapter 2—“Understanding Learn- ing and Memory”—introduces the information processing system and explains why students remember and forget information. This chapter emphasizes that the way students learn often determines what they remember. Chapter 3—“Understanding Motivation”—helps students understand how motivation can influence learning behavior. Important exercises are included to help the reader evaluate his or her own motivation.
Unit II of the text focuses on motivational strategies. Chapter 4—“Goal Setting”—
instructs students how to write and implement specific goals. This chapter empha- sizes that students cannot be motivated unless they have goals to attain in differ- ent areas of their life. Chapter 5—“Management of Emotion and Effort”—focuses
on how to change negative emotions to more positive emotions, as well as man- aging self-talk and reducing anxiety.
Unit III of the text deals with various behavioral strategies related to aca- demic success. Chapter 6—“Time Management—”explains how students can better manage their time rather than having time manage them. Chapter 7—
“Management of Physical and Social Environment”—focuses on improving attention and concentration and structuring productive study environments. In addition, the chapter provides information on how to seek help from instruc- tors and conduct effective group study sessions.
Unit IV of the text introduces important learning and study strategies: “Learning From Textbooks” (chapter 8), “Learning From Lectures” (chapter 9), “Preparing for Exams” (chapter 10), and “Taking Exams” (chapter 11). Excerpts are used from textbooks and lectures to help students practice the skills in chapters 8 and 9. Chap- ter 10 helps students develop a study plan for each exam, and chapter 11 provides information about specific strategies for taking objective and essay tests.
WHAT’S NEW IN THE SECOND EDITION?
• Discussion of flaws in human memory (chapter 2)
• Extended coverage of the factors that influence motivation and test anxiety, and discussion of why students have difficulty changing their academic behaviors (chapter 3)
• Discussion of identity development (chapter 4)
• Extended coverage of emotions and how to change them (chapter 5)
• Extended discussion of procrastination elimination strategies (chapter 6)
• Extended discussion of improving communication skills in the classroom (chapter 7)
• Added additional follow-up activities
An instructor’s manual is available with the text. The manual provides helpful information for teaching the material and includes additional exercises and expe- riences for students. It also provides both objective and essay test questions.
Finally, it includes information on how students can maintain a portfolio to demonstrate their acquisition of learning and study skills and guidelines for help- ing students complete a self-management study of their own academic behavior.
It is suggested that Unit I of the text be covered first to provide a framework for both the content and exercises in the remaining chapters. The remaining chap- ters can be covered in any order. One of the difficulties in teaching a “learning to learn” course is that one would like to cover many topics during the first 2 weeks, because everything is important. Unfortunately, all the chapters and topics cannot be taught in the first few weeks. This textbook allows the instructor to sequence the chapters as he or she sees fit.
Finally, I would appreciate reactions from students and instructors concerning the text. Please e-mail me at [email protected]. I welcome your praise and criticism.
I would like to acknowledge a number of individuals who played an important role in the development of this textbook: Alonzo Anderson, who encouraged me to work in the area of learning strategies; Claire Ellen Weinstein and the late Paul Pintrich, who provided helpful insights as to how to teach learning strategies; Bill Webber at Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, who encouraged me to write a book in the area; Barry Zimmerman, whose work on self-regulation provided a framework for organizing the content in the book; Richard Clark, who offered many sugges- tions concerning the design of the text; Amy Gimino who wrote Appendix A, read drafts of the manuscript, and provided feedback on the effectiveness of the mate- rial as a teaching assistant in my course.
I also would like to thank the following reviewers who provided helpful feed- back on the manuscript: Julia Beteler, the University of Akron–Wayne; Russ Hodges, Southwest Texas State University; Peggy Pritchard Kulesz, University of Texas–Arlington; Arnaldo Mejias, Jr., State University of New York–New Paltz.
Finally, I would like to acknowledge all my students, especially Kyle Williams, and my teaching assistants, who contributed a great deal regarding how to teach students to become more successful learners; and editor Naomi Silverman, who provided helpful assistance throughout the project; and Joanne Bowser, who was the project manager for the textbook.
—Myron H. Dembo
Chapter 1: Academic Self-Management
Chapter 2: Understanding Learning and Memory Chapter 3: Understanding Motivation
The purpose of this unit is to explain how you can become a more successful learner by taking charge and managing your own learn- and the factors that determine your motivation to learn. Learning and motivation are interrelated processes. Simply learning a new skill does not mean that you will use it unless you are motivated to do so. Therefore, my objectives are to teach you some new learning strategies and to convince you that there are payoffs for using them.
These payoffs include the possibility of higher grades, more time to participate in enjoyable activities, and the confidence to become a successful learner in any course. The three chapters in this unit pro- vide a framework for understanding why you need to use different strategies to manage the factors influencing your academic achieve- ment. The remaining units teach you how and when to use these strategies.
Chapter 1 presents a model for academic self-management, identi- learning, use of time, physical and social environment, and perform- ance (Zimmerman & Risemberg, 1997). These components are organ-
Chapters 2 and 3 provide an overview of learning and motivation from a cognitive perspective. Cognitive psychologists believe that ing about the situation in which the behavior occurs. As a result, they believe that learning can be explained by how knowledge is processed and organized. This means that the way one learns is an important factor in how much is remembered.
FOUNDATIONS OF LEARNING AND MOTIVATION
ing. To accomplish this goal, you need to understand how you learn
fying six components that you can control—motivation, methods of
ized by categories—motivational, behavioral, and learning and study strategies. Finally, a four-step process is described to help you change aspects of your academic behavior.
behavior is always based on cognition—an act of knowing or think-
internal state (i.e., his or her goals, beliefs, perceptions, and emotions) be described as follows: If an individual wants to change his or her beliefs and perceptions can be changed, they first must be identified.
The cognitive view of motivation focuses on how an individual’s influences behavior. The guiding principle of motivational change can motivation, beliefs and perceptions must be changed. However, before
As readers of this book, you are a diverse group with varied back- grounds and goals. Some of you are beginning your education at a college or university, whereas oth- ers of you have selected commu- nity colleges. Some of you may have taken college courses last term, whereas others are returning to school after an absence. Some of you are taking a learning and study skills course because it is required, whereas others are enrolled in the course as an elec- tive. Some of you are looking for- ward to taking the course, whereas others may doubt its usefulness.
Although I recognize the wide range of interests, motivation, and abilities of those of you reading this book, I have one goal: to help all those who read this volume become more successful learners.
Once you learn how to learn, you can apply these skills to any aca- demic or work setting in which you participate.
Who is a successful learner?
Most of us know, read about, or have observed successful and expert individuals in some field or profession (e.g., a plumber, musi- cian, athlete, teacher, or artist).
These individuals have special knowledge and skills in a particular field. Similarly, successful learners
also possess special knowledge and skills that differentiate them from less successful learners.
Successful students are not simply individuals who know more than others. They also have more effective and efficient learning strategies for accessing and using their knowledge, can motivate themselves, and can monitor and change their behaviors when learning does not occur.
Just as individuals cannot learn to become expert musicians, dancers, or golfers without practice, learning to be a successful learner requires more than simply reading and listening to class lectures. For this reason, you will be asked throughout this book to respond to questions and exercises, and to actually practice some new ways of learning. The key to success is practicing the learning strategies taught here so they become automatic. As you practice, you will be able to learn more material in less time than prior to using these new strate- gies. Thus, you will learn to study “smarter,” not necessarily harder.
Most of you have expertise in some activity or hobby. You have spent considerable effort and persistence in acquiring knowledge and developing your skills and probably feel competent and motivated to excel. You are now beginning the process of developing the necessary expertise to meet the academic demands of college learning. Much of the same self-discipline and self-motivation you apply to your present area(s) of expertise will be needed in your pursuit of academic excel- lence. After studying this chapter, you will be able to:
• Identify specific behaviors that influence the level of aca- demic success.
• Use a process to self-manage your academic behavior.
WHAT IS ACADEMIC SELF-MANAGEMENT?
At one time, it was thought that intelligence was the main factor determining academic success. After years of research in learning and motivation, educators have found that students can learn how to become more successful learners by using appropriate strategies to manage their motivation, behavior, and learning.
The word management is a key term in understanding successful learners. They self-manage or control the factors influencing their learning. They establish optimum conditions for learning and remove obstacles that interfere with their learning. Educators use a variety of terms to describe these students (e.g., self-regulated, self-directed, strategic, and active). No matter what term is used, the important fac- tor is that these students find a way to learn. It does not matter if the instructor is a poor lecturer, the textbook is confusing, the test is dif- ficult, the room is noisy, or if multiple exams are scheduled for the same week, successful learners find a way to excel.
Let’s look at an example of how one student managed his academic learning:
It was Thursday night and Robert was completing his final preparation for the following day’s history exam. On the previous Sunday evening, he developed a plan for how he would prepare for the exam during the week. He identified what he had to learn, how he would study, and when he would accomplish each task. He began his study on Mon- day, attempting to gain a general understanding of the main ideas and recall the most important facts. He paraphrased each section of the readings, underlined the important infor- mation, and monitored his own progress during study by developing possible questions that might be asked on the exam. While studying Wednesday night, he realized that he had difficulty comparing and contrasting some of the bat- tles discussed in class. Therefore, he decided to develop a chart listing the different battles on top and different char- acteristics down the side. When he filled in the information on the chart, he found he was better able to answer the questions that might be asked regarding the material.
Around 10 p.m., Thursday, Robert’s roommate came home from the library with some friends and began dis- cussing a concert they planned to attend over the weekend.
They were finished studying for the night. Robert decided to go to the study lounge down the hall to complete his last hour of studying. He told his friends that he would return for pizza around 11 p.m. As he returned to his study, he noticed some information in his notes that he did not under- stand. He made a quick telephone call to a friend for clar- ification about the notes.
After another 20 minutes of studying, Robert got tired and started thinking of the double cheese and mushroom pizza he would be eating in a short time. He decided that he needed about 30 minutes to finish his studying for the evening. Therefore, he decided to take a 5-minute break and go for a walk. He came back and finished his study for the evening.
What actions did Robert take to ensure optimum learning? First, he established a goal and action plan for how he was going to pre- pare for the examination. The plan started 4 days before the exam.
Second, he used a variety of learning strategies, such as underlining, developing and answering questions, and making a chart to better compare and contrast the relevant information. In other words, when
he found that he was not learning, he did something about it by changing his learning strategy. Third, he monitored his understanding of the material as he studied. He changed learning strategies and asked for help when he failed to understand his notes. Fourth, when his friends returned from the library, he decided that he would not be able to study in his room, so he left for the lounge. Finally, when he began to get tired and became less motivated to complete his study- ing, he took a break and was then able to return to his work. All of Robert’s decisions played a major role in his ability to do well on the history exam the following day.
Given the same situation, think about how another student with less knowledge about learning and study strategies, and less self- management skills might have behaved in the same situation. The example just presented came from a student’s journal. The situation occurred exactly as stated, only “the name was changed to protect the innocent.” Robert did not come to college as an A student. As a matter of fact, he struggled during the first few weeks of the first term. When he began to learn how to learn and to take responsibil- ity for his own learning, his academic performance improved dra- matically.
As you develop the personal qualities to manage your learning, you will find that you can apply the same skills to situations outside the classroom, even at work. It does not matter what course, seminar, lec- ture, or job you experience, once you manage the factors influencing your learning, you can be more successful in any task.
One of my students came to my office to discuss the amount of work she had to do in my learning course. She tended to turn in assignments late and, in general, appeared to have difficulty manag- ing her time and motivation. During the conversation, she stated that she only wanted a C in the course. I stated that I had no problem giving her a C, but that many students who set this standard often underestimate their achievement and earn a D. I decided to pursue the issue further by asking the student the following question: “Are you also willing to find an average job and get an average salary?” “Oh No!” she stated, “I want a rewarding career and plan on making a great deal of money!”
Many individuals fail to realize that the self-management strategies used to become more successful learners often generalize to their per- sonal and work lives. Who is more likely to be promoted in a job: an employee who can work independently and set and attain goals, or an employee who needs constant supervision and direction in his or her daily work? Educators who emphasize the importance of self- management take the position that students can do a great deal to promote their own learning through the use of different learning and
motivational strategies. In other words, these learners “view academic learning as something they do for themselves rather than as something that is done to or for them” (Zimmerman, 1998b, p. 1).
Think about Zimmerman’s quote and what it means to you as someone who is attempting to become a more successful learner. What are some of the changes you think you may have to make?
I have taught thousands of undergraduates and have come to the conclusion that I cannot make students learn if they do not want to.
I can help them and guide them, but I cannot make them learn. Per- sonally, it is a joy to work with students who take an active role in their own learning. However, some students say they want to learn but do not want to do the things that are necessary to manage their own learning. How many times have you observed parents and teach- ers prodding or almost begging students to learn? In many cases, these students really want to be successful, but they do not fully understand their responsibilities in the learning process.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HIGH SCHOOL AND COLLEGE?
One of the major differences in the transition from high school to col- lege classrooms is the change from a teacher-directed to a student-directed environment. In high school, many teachers tend to guide students’ learn- ing by telling them what, when, and how to learn. For example, when assignments are given, high school teachers frequently help students man- age the tasks necessary to complete the assignment, such as requiring out- lines or drafts of papers. In college, students are on their own. They can ask questions and obtain more information about an assignment, but rarely does a college instructor monitor students’ progress. In college, stu- dents are expected to manage their own learning.
Another difference between high school and college is that high school teachers often spend considerable time attempting to motivate students to learn, whereas college instructors generally expect students to be self-motivated. Although students are told about the demands of college, many freshmen experience culture shock when they enter learning environments that differ from their past experiences. The fol- lowing are comments written in a journal by a student in her first term in college:
My professor was completing his last lecture on the first unit of the course and asked if we had any questions. We had to read chapters in three different textbooks, and I had about 40 pages of notes. I simply asked: “Could you tell us what are some of the important ideas you might cover on the exam?” He looked at me and said: “That’s for you to
determine!” Well, I felt like crawling under my desk. In high school, most of my teachers would summarize the key ideas that would direct our studying behavior. Here, I quickly learned that I have to do this work on my own!
This student had some difficulty in her first college term. She real- ized that she had to change some of her learning and study strategies.
When she learned how to identify the main ideas in lectures and text- books, she had little trouble predicting most of the test questions in her courses. Her ability to modify and manage her methods of learning were important factors in her improvement toward the end of the term.
WHY ARE SOME STUDENTS LESS SUCCESSFUL LEARNERS?
When I discuss reasons for low achievement, I am not including students who have serious learning disabilities, poor language skills, or who have experienced an inadequate education because of factors beyond their control. Instead, I am referring to students who should be achieving higher than their present performance. In many cases, more than one explanation may be appropriate for a given student.
They Hold Faulty Beliefs About Their Ability, Learning, and Motivation
Students’ beliefs about learning and motivation influence their behaviors. The following beliefs can impact achievement: If students believe they are less capable than others, they may spend considerable time using failure-avoiding strategies in the classroom (e.g., trying not to be called on, copying material from friends, and appearing to be trying hard when they really are not). Other students who believe they can achieve are more likely to spend their time using effective learn- ing and study strategies, and tend to persist longer on difficult tasks.
Some students believe that ability or intelligence is fixed. That is, people are born with a certain amount of ability, and there is not much that can be done about it. This misperception often causes some students to accept their low achievement or to become satisfied with a B or C average, thinking that only the brightest students obtain an A. Psychologists have found that intelligence is the result of how much information students know and the strategies they use to control their thinking and learning. In other words, “smart” students do not pos- sess abilities that other students cannot learn. “Smart” students study more effectively than other students. If other students learn and use these same methods, they become “smart.”
It is unfortunate that many students go through school thinking they are not good learners and that little can be done to improve their achievement. This faulty belief often remains with individuals throughout
their lives and limits their goals and aspirations. The problem is not that these students are incapable of being successful learners, they sim- ply have not been taught how to study and learn effectively.
They Are Unaware of Their Ineffective Learning Behavior Many students believe that if they simply spend a good deal of time
studying, they will be successful. Successful learners do work hard, but they realize that how they study is more important than how much time they spend studying. For example, many college students report that they spend considerable time reading a book many times before an examination. Some students are not aware that the practice of underlining (highlighting) words and phrases in textbooks and sim- ply rereading are generally ineffective learning strategies, because they are relatively passive activities involving little thinking. It is possible to spend considerable time underlining or rereading a chapter and still not remember many of the important ideas presented. Reading and remembering are two different tasks. Unless students are actively involved in outlining, organizing, questioning themselves, and sum- marizing the material while they read, much of the time is wasted (Cortina, Elder, & Gonnet, 1992).
They Fail to Sustain Effective Learning and Motivational Strategies Students usually take more exams and quizzes in high school.
Therefore, if they score well on most of the evaluations but low on one or two, they can still maintain a high grade. In college, the situ- ation is different. Fewer evaluations are given throughout the term.
For example, a course may require a paper, two exams, and a final;
each evaluation may involve 20% to 30% of the final grade. Students who want high grades cannot afford to let down during the semester.
Many students demonstrate the knowledge of how to learn and do well at times, but fail to attend class regularly, do not keep up with their assignments, and, in general, get behind in their work. Although these students have the potential for doing well, they cannot sustain their motivation and effort throughout the term. The end result is lower academic performance.
They Are Not Ready to Change Their Learning and Study Behavior Some students are not convinced they need to change. After all,
they got through high school and were able to get into college. These students often raise questions, publicly or privately: “Why do I need to change?” “I graduated from high school,” or “I was accepted to this college.” It is not until the first midterm exams that some students
realize that many of the learning and study skills used in high school are insufficient for academic success in college. The earlier students become aware of this fact, the quicker they can begin to make the necessary changes.
Although many students realize they need to improve, they tend to stick with familiar strategies, even though they are not achieving the best results. They simply are not motivated to change. Some students believe that it takes too much effort and time to learn new methods of learning. Learning to play a new song on the guitar or a new dance routine takes effort. Yet, because individuals enjoy the activity and gain special satisfaction from excelling in an area, they do not con- sider it work. When students use their effort and time more wisely and use more effective methods of learning, they find that the amount of effort and time does pay off in terms of higher grades, greater knowledge and confidence, and more time for fun.
HOW CAN I MANAGE MY ACADEMIC BEHAVIOR?
The following are six major components of academic self-management or self-regulation. Learning the self-management skills related to each of these components can help you exert control over your own learn- ing and promote your own academic achievement (Zimmerman &
• Methods of learning
• Use of time
• Physical environment
• Social environment
“Each semester I write down goals that I want to attain.”
“When I feel down, I talk to myself to motivate me to keep on task.”
Although there are many different ways to define motivation, the approach taken in this book views motivation as the internal processes that give behavior its energy and direction. These internal processes include your goals, beliefs, perceptions, and expectations. For exam- ple, your persistence on a task is often related to how competent you believe you are to complete the task. Also, your beliefs about the causes of your successes and failures on present tasks influence your
motivation and behavior on future tasks. For example, students who attribute failure to lack of ability behave differently from students who attribute failure to lack of effort.
In chapter 3, you will learn that when you change your beliefs and perceptions, you change your motivation. During a presentation on self-motivation at a high school, a student asked me: “You mean that if you are bored, you can do something about it?” It was obvious that the student had not thought about the extent to which she had the ability to control her own motivation.
Think about the pilot of a 747 who wakes up in the morning know- ing that she must fly a few hundred people from Los Angeles to New York, or the surgeon who must perform a delicate heart operation.
The public is fortunate that these individuals know how to motivate themselves even when they do not feel like doing something. It would be alarming to hear a pilot say: “I don’t feel like flying today,” or a surgeon say: “Not another operation, I’m not in the mood.”
One of the major differences between successful and less successful individuals in any field or specialization is that successful individuals know how to motivate themselves even when they do not feel like performing a task, whereas less successful individuals have difficulty controlling their motivation. As a result, less successful individuals are less likely to complete a task, or more likely to quit or complete a task at a lower level of proficiency. Although successful learners may not feel like completing required tasks, they learn how to motivate themselves to completion to maintain progress toward achieving their goals.
Another issue is whether one has a problem in motivation or per- sistence. A student may be motivated to engage in a task but have difficulty persisting because he or she easily becomes distracted while engaging in the task (Kuhl & Beckman, 1985).
Think about your own behavior. Identify a situation in which follow-through, not motivation, was a problem. That is to say, you really wanted to complete a task, but you had difficulty persisting because you were easily distracted. Also, think about a situation in which you were successful in controlling your behavior in a poten- tially distracting situation. What self-management strategies do you use to maintain your persistence in a task?
To be a successful learner in college, students must be able to con- centrate and deal with the many potential personal and environmen- tal distractions that may interfere with learning and studying. Students use many different processes to control aspects of their behaviors. The following are examples of self-management processes:
• “When I am in the library and distracted by a conversation, I move to another table.”
• “When I start worrying on an exam, I immediately begin con- vincing myself that I can do well if I take my time.”
• “When I start thinking that I don’t have the ability to achieve, I remind myself that more effort is needed.”
Dealing with distracting factors in learning is an important aspect of self-management, because it helps protect one’s commitment to learn.
A number of important motivational self-management techniques can be used to develop and maintain these important beliefs. The first is goal setting. Educational research indicates that high achievers report using goal setting more frequently and more consistently than low achievers (Zimmerman & Martinez-Pons, 1986). When individ- uals establish and attempt to attain personal goals, they are more attentive to instruction, expend greater effort, and increase their con- fidence when they see themselves making progress. It is difficult to be motivated to achieve without having specific goals.
A second motivational self-management technique is self-verbalization, or self-talk. This procedure takes many forms. For example, verbal reinforcement or praise can be used following desired behavior. You simply tell yourself things like: “Great! I did it!” or “I’m doing a great job concentrating on my readings!” Reinforce yourself either covertly (to yourself) or aloud. At first, you may think it sounds strange or silly to use self-verbalization. Once you get familiar with it, you will find that it works. Don’t underestimate the power of language in self- control of motivation. World-class athletes have been trained to use verbal reinforcement for years.
More elaborate self-talk training programs are available to help individuals control anxiety, mood, and other emotional responses (e.g., Butler, 1981; Ottens, 1991). These programs are based on the belief that what one says to oneself is an important factor in deter- mining attitudes, feelings, emotions, and behaviors. This speech or self-talk is the running dialogue inside our heads. Some of our speech motivates us to try new tasks and persist in difficult situations; other self-talk is unproductive and inhibits our motivation to succeed. The goal of these programs is to change negative self-talk to positive self- talk. Chapter 5 describes this process in more detail.
Another motivational self-management technique is arranging or imagining rewards or punishments for success or failure at an aca- demic task. Students who control their motivation by giving them- selves rewards and punishments outperform students who do not use this control technique (Zimmerman & Martinez-Pons, 1986). What self-control strategies have you used in the past to control your moti- vation? The following are examples reported by my students: “If I study for 50 minutes, I’ll allow myself to speak on the phone for 10 minutes”; or “If I work on my term paper for an evening, I’ll treat
myself to a pizza”; or “If I find that I’m keeping up with my work, I’ll go to a movie on a weeknight.”
In summary, to control your motivation, you need to set goals;
develop positive beliefs about your ability to perform academic tasks;
and maintain these beliefs while faced with the many disturbances, distractions, occasional failure experiences, and periodic interpersonal conflicts in your life. You will have difficulty managing your behav- ior if you do not have confidence in your ability to succeed. In turn, you develop confidence in your ability by learning how to use differ- ent learning and study strategies that lead to academic success.
Methods of Learning
“While reading my sociology textbook, I write important questions to answer after reading each main heading.”
“I use a time line to recall the dates of major battles in my history course.”
Another term for methods of learning is learning strategies. Learning strategies are the methods students use to acquire information. Higher achieving students use more learning strategies than do lower achieving students (Zimmerman & Martinez-Pons, 1988). Underlining, summa- rizing, and outlining are examples of learning strategies. You will learn in chapter 2 that different learning strategies serve different purposes.
Think about the large array of tools a plumber brings to each job.
If he arrived at jobs with only a few wrenches or pliers, he would not be able to complete many jobs. Just as there are different tools for different jobs, there are different learning strategies for different aca- demic tasks (Levin, 1986). Successful learners also need a large num- ber of “tools” to make schoolwork easier and to increase the proba- bility of their success. For example, knowing how to use maps or representations to organize information and generate and answer questions from notes and textbooks are important learning tools.
Many students who have difficulty learning in school attribute their problem to a lack of ability when the problem actually may be that they have never been properly taught how to learn. Some students use one or two major learning strategies for all tasks in all courses. These students often do not have the necessary tools to learn the complex material they encounter in the courses they are required to take. For example, on exams, many instructors ask questions relating to topics that they did not directly discuss in lectures. Students must be able to organize and analyze notes so they are prepared to answer questions such as: “How does the government effect the allocation of resources through tax policy?” or “Why does the temperature of the water influence the velocity of sound?”
The plumbing example can be used to provide a practical example of understanding the relation between learning and motivation. I am going to admit something: I don’t have confidence in my ability to do many household chores. Therefore, I procrastinate, fail to purchase tools that could help me complete tasks, and don’t pay much attention when friends try to explain how I can be a successful handyman. When my wife tells me that a water faucet is leaking and asks me to fix it, I often tell her to wait a few days—perhaps the leaking will stop! Even if I had the tools, I still might not attempt to complete the job myself.
You cannot become a successful learner merely by acquiring new learning and study skills. You also must deal with your motivation (i.e., beliefs and perceptions) regarding a task. Even if you know how to use an effective strategy, you may not be motivated to use it. Some educators (e.g., Paris, 1988) describe these two important components of learning as the skill (i.e., learning strategies) and will (i.e., the moti- vation to use strategies).
Use of Time
“I keep a weekly calendar of my activities.”
“I start studying at least 1 week before exams.”
Educators have found a relation between time management and academic achievement. Students with better time-management skills tend to have a higher grade-point average (GPA) than students with poorer time-management skills. In fact, Britton and Tesser (1991) found that time management skills measured in the freshman year were more predictive of GPAs in the senior year than were SAT scores.
Why does time management appear to be so important in deter- mining academic success? One explanation is that use of time impacts self-management. If a student has difficulty dealing with time, he or she ends up doing what is most urgent when deciding which task to do first. If a paper is the next task that needs to be done, one works on the paper; if an exam is the next challenge, one studies for the exam. Little time is spent on any long-term planning to consider the importance of different tasks and how they can best be completed (Zimmerman, Bonner, & Kovach, 1996).
How many times have you heard individuals state: “I don’t have time.” The problem for most individuals is not that there is not enough time to accomplish what needs to be done, but that they do not know how to manage the amount of time that is available each day. When students analyze their use of time, they find a great deal of it is wasted.
A close friend of mine is a manager at IBM. Each year he sends members of his sales force to time-management workshops. He
explained that effective use of time by his total sales force can result in hundreds of thousands of dollars in increased sales. Many of his sales staff are experts in technology, have excellent interpersonal skills, and are highly motivated to succeed. The problem is that many of them do not know how to manage their time, and this deficiency pre- vents them from becoming more successful.
Physical and Social Environment
“I turn off the TV or stereo so I can concentrate on what I am doing.”
“I go to the library to study before exams.”
“When I find that I don’t understand any material, I immediately make an appointment with my instructor.”
“I organize a study group before an examination.”
Another important aspect of self-management is the ability of learn- ers to restructure their physical and social environments to meet their needs. Zimmerman and Martinez-Pons (1986) found that high achiev- ers reported greater use of environmental restructuring and were more likely to seek help from others than were low-achieving students. For the most part, environmental restructuring refers to locating places to study that are quiet or not distracting. Although this task may not appear difficult to attain, it poses many problems for students who either select inappropriate environments initially or cannot control the distractions once they occur.
Self-management of the social environment relates to an individual’s ability to determine when he or she needs to work alone or with oth- ers, or when it is time to seek help from instructors, tutors, peers, or nonsocial resources (such as reference books). Knowing how and when to work with others is an important skill often not taught in school.
Educational research indicates that high-achieving students are more likely than low-achieving students to seek help from instructors, just the opposite of what one might expect (Newman & Schwager, 1992). Newman (1991) stated: “Seeking help from a knowledgeable other person can be more beneficial than giving up prematurely, more appropriate than waiting passively, and more efficient than persisting unsuccessfully on one’s own” (p. 154).
It would seem logical that everyone would want to use all avail- able resources and seek assistance from teachers and peers. Unfortu- nately, this is not the case. Some students do not seek help because they do not want to appear “dumb” or incompetent in the eyes of their peers or instructors (Newman & Goldin, 1990). Other students
fail to seek help because of the extra effort it may entail. For example, in a class discussion, one of my students mentioned that she did not do well on a biology exam because she did not understand the instruc- tor’s expectations of the response to the essay questions. I suggested that she meet with the instructor to discuss his expectations. She agreed that this would be a good strategy. However, when I saw her the following week and asked about the outcome of the meeting, she stated that too many students were waiting to talk to the instructor, so she got frustrated and left. My response was that meeting with her instructor was a task that she had to accomplish. It was her respon- sibility to call for an appointment, wait to meet him after class, or at the beginning or end of the school day. If her success in the course depended on learning how to prepare and take his exams, then her job was to get to the instructor, one way or another.
Here is another example of the need to seek assistance. A student approached me at the end of the second lecture in the term and stated:
“You’re not going to count my quiz today? I haven’t had an oppor- tunity to buy my textbook?” I stated that the quiz would count and that he had numerous opportunities to locate the required five pages of reading for the quiz. He could have read the material at the reserve section of the library, where I placed numerous copies of the reading.
He could have borrowed the reading from another student in the class or asked me if I had a copy to loan him. In other words, it was his responsibility to get the material.
Both of these interactions with students provide excellent examples of the importance of managing one’s learning. In both situations, the students failed to understand their responsibility in the learning process. Think about situations in your past where you would have benefitted from managing some aspect of your physical or social envi- ronment.
“I evaluate the results of each of my exams to determine how I can better prepare for future exams.”
“If I find that I don’t understand what I’m reading, I slow down and reread the material.”
The final factor that you can manage is your academic performance.
Whether writing a paper, completing a test, or reading a book, you can learn how to use self-management processes to influence the quality of your performance. One of the important functions of a goal is to provide an opportunity for you to detect a discrepancy between it and your present performance. This analysis enables you to make corrections in the learning process. When you learn to
monitor your work under different learning conditions (e.g., test tak- ing and studying), you are able to determine what changes are needed in your learning and studying behavior. It is interesting that success- ful students tend to be aware of how well they have done on a test even before getting it back from an instructor (Zimmerman &
World-class athletes are good examples of individuals who learn how to self-manage their performance. For example, competitive skiers often imagine themselves going through each slalom gate before making an actual run and concentrate on remaining relaxed during their run (Garfield, 1984). After each run, they observe and assess their performance (both from their perceptions and on videotape) to determine what modifications are needed to reach greater accuracy on the next run. They often use subvocal speech or self-talk to guide their behaviors and maintain attention to avoid distractions that may inter- fere with their performance.
When you learn how to monitor and control your own perform- ance, you become your own coach or mentor. You can practice skills on your own, critique your own performance, and make the neces- sary changes to meet your goals at a high level of success.
THE SIX COMPONENTS OF ACADEMIC SELF-MANAGEMENT The following example is how one student, Josh, exhibited self-
management behavior in each of the components just discussed: Josh’s goal was to join the debate team during the second term of his fresh- man year. He believed he could attain his goal by expending effort (motivation) in preparing for the tryouts. He first decided to study the topics that would dominate the debate season by reading magazine and newspaper articles (methods of learning). He then decided to practice his arguments with another friend (social environment) who also was interested in joining the team. They decided to reserve space at the speech clinic two evenings each week (time management) and use the available recording equipment (physical environment) to videotape their presentations and spend time critiquing themselves (performance).
Would Josh and his friend be successful if they failed to manage one or more factors influencing learning? Perhaps so, but we really do not know. For example, could they have been as successful prac- ticing their arguments in their dorm rooms or whenever they found some time to meet, or without the recording machine? Could Josh have been as successful preparing by himself?
Although it is possible to self-manage behavior in all six of the areas discussed, not all students do so. A reasonable goal is to manage as
much of one’s behavior and thoughts as possible. In the example dis- cussed, Josh and his friend believed they would be better prepared to make the debate team following their plan of action. If you were in the same situation, you may have approached the task differently.
Remember the example I provided earlier in the chapter about Robert’s study behavior for his history exam? Return to the descrip- tion of his learning and studying behavior and identify how he managed each of the following factors: motivation, methods of learn- ing, use of time, physical environment, social environment, and performance.
Throughout this book, you will be asked to set goals and develop a plan of action to attain them. During this process, you will learn how to manage different aspects of your academic learning that will affect your level of success. In each chapter, I provide examples of stu- dents’ perceptions or beliefs about the learning strategies discussed in this textbook. These perceptions or student reflections, as I call them, are from students who have taken my course in learning strategies.
As you read each reflection, think about your own perceptions, beliefs, or behavior related to the topic or issue. The following reflec- tion illustrates how learning to manage one’s academic behavior also can influence other aspects of one’s life.
I first thought that self-management was confined to academic learning.
Now I see that it is also a great tool for life in general. As I learn more about self-management and practice the related skills, I find that I’m much more organized. Most important, I’m getting my work done instead of putting it off and procrastinating, as I have always done.
As the class has progressed, it has affected my daily life. I’m starting to see that my life outside of school is starting to run more smoothly as well.
I was always an incredibly unorganized person. I would throw all my stuff (from mail, schoolwork, even clothes) everywhere. I always was looking for things, losing things, and making a mess. Now I’m much more organized. I put things back when I’m finished with them, I keep my mail and outside school material in certain areas where I can find things, and my roommate is especially pleased, because I keep
my life is more enjoyable! I’m happy now because of my continuing success at school, and this success has translated to my day-to-day life.
the room clean now. I’m also more prepared for whatever I have to do. I stick to schedules and plan for the events in my life. Basically,
Directions: Rate the extent to which you generally manage or control the factors influencing your learning by checking Always, Sometimes, or Never in the corresponding box and be prepared to offer a short EXERCISE 1.1: SELF-OBSERVATION: ASSESSING
YOUR SELF-MANAGEMENT SKILLS
explanation of your ratings. What areas are you strengths and weak- ness? Explain why you rated each dimension as you did.
Always Sometimes Never Motivation (e.g., “I can
self-motivate when I need to”).
Use of time (e.g., “I plan how I use my time”).
Methods of learning (e.g., “I use different study methods for different types of
assignments and tests”).
Physical environment (e.g., “I modify or change my study environment so I can concentrate”).
Social environment (e.g., I seek help when I need it”).
Performance (e.g., “I evalu- ate my work to determine my progress toward meeting personal and academic goals”).
HOW CAN I CHANGE MY BEHAVIOR?
Zimmerman et al. (1996) suggested a process that students can use to develop the self-management skills necessary for academic success (see Fig. 1.1). This process will help you develop control over the six com- ponents of motivation and behavior identified in the previous section.
Self-management involves the four interrelated processes defined here:
Self-observation and evaluation occur when students judge their personal effectiveness, often from observations and recordings of prior performances and outcomes.
Each semester, students come into my office to discuss a poor per- formance on an examination. They tell me they were prepared for the examination because they read each chapter two or three times. Obvi- ously, these students have not learned to check their understanding. Baker (1989) referred to this situation as the illusion of knowing. Students often
Self-Observation and Evaluation
Strategic-Outcome Goal Setting and
Monitoring Strategic Planning
Strategic Implementation and Monitoring
FIG. 1.1. A process for self-management of academic behavior (adapted from Zimmerman et al., 1996).