According to Schunk et al 2008 social cognitive theorists define self regulation as The process whereby students activate and sustain cognitions behaviors and effects that are systematically oriented toward attainment of their goals p 154 Thus within this theoretical framework self regulation is a process in which students manage and regulate their cognition motivation and behavior through self regulatory processes to achieve an academic goal This social cognitive theory assumes that learning can be affected by cognitive-behavioral and environmental variables Bandura 1991 Additionally self regulation process can be affected by various factors rooted in the social cognitive theory of Albert Bandura 1986 This theory is divided into five main concepts namely Learning Triadic Reciprocal Causation Human agency and Dysfunctional Behavior This paper focuses on Human agency as it reflects the notion not only of empowerment or the process of having power via goal-directed actions but also self efficacy which is an integral tool to become more empowered Cattaneo Chapman 2010
The term empowerment here is defined by Mayes 2009 as Self regulated learning p 12 Unlike behaviorism which posited that human behavior is both shaped and controlled by external factors through stimuli and reinforcers Bandura's 1986 social cognitive theory considers human functioning as a series of reciprocal interactions between behavioral environmental and personal variables Therefore in addition to the environmental input learners play a major role in controlling their own learning strategies and outcomes Such ability to both shape and control one s outcomes is called human agency Feist Feist 2009 state that Bandura strongly believes that people are self regulating proactive self reflective and self organized and that they have the power to influence their own actions to produce desired consequences p 486 Consequently human agency is an active process It is defined by Bandura 2009 as a Human capability to exert influence over ones functioning and the course of events by one's actions p 8 Human agency includes four central characteristics called intentionality forethought self reactiveness and self reflectiveness Bandura 2006
First intentionality refers to all acts that people fulfill and accomplish intentionally Intentions can be future-directed including future plans and actions as they are formed before the actions themselves Consequently people tend to have intentions which englobe not only action plans but also strategies in order to realise and perform them Bandura 2004 Such future plans of action are adjusted revised filled in and reconsidered depending on new information as the plan is carried out through the process of its achievement Bratman 1999 Thus to optimize the plan's implementation self regulation of intentions are heavily needed For this teachers must initiate their students to be aware of their own thinking to be strategic and guide their motivation towards significant goals Montalvo Gonzalez Torres 2004 In the face of this the goal for the students is to be self regulated learners and to learn to be autonomous learners responsible for their own learning In brief they have to learn to be teachers for themselves Schunk Zimmerman 1998
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