Essay Example on Help-seeking in Learning

Published: 2019-11-18
Essay Example on Help-seeking in Learning
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Learning Education Students
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1755 words
15 min read

To what degree are students aware and consciously in control of the help-seeking actions and decisions? An important assumption of the present view of adaptive help seeking, and of self-regulated learning in general, is that learners reflect on their mental activity, especially at times of difficulty. Because of its self-reflective nature, adaptive help seeking can be considered a metacognitive strategy. These are briefly discussed next. First, being aware of task difficulty is a function of students metacognitive monitoring or awareness of their current knowledge state. Awareness of task difficult, a feeling of knowing, and calibration of comprehension exemplify a major metacognitive function (Sousa, 2010). Second, requests for help that are necessary are restricted presumably to occasions when students recognize that their knowledge or comprehension is lacking and they cannot independently resolve the difficulty. Opportunities for mastery are maximized when students are challenged by difficulty, but only to a point; beyond that point, further independent work would be frustrating and counterproductive (Visser, 2008). Determining the necessity of asking is a function of students reflecting on their sense of task difficulty in relation to their knowledge and beliefs about alternative strategies (Argote, 2000), and their belief and feelings about themselves, for example perceived competence (Rinkoff, 2000), self-efficacy and self-confidence (Yang, 2010), and achievement goals Demiray, (2009). Third, determine how the request should be worded to match the specific task demands is a function of students knowledge and skills of discourse (Chiu, 2001). In theory, adaptive help seekers explicitly address their difficulty, both averting short-term failure and optimizing the chance for long term mastery (e.g., by not asking for unnecessary help).

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Requests for explanations, clarification of information, confirmation of uncertain answers, and justification tend to be relatively among self-regulated learners Demiray, (2009). Important in operationalizing adaptiveness is the degree to which the request meets task demands. A match depends on, at least partially, how much task-specific knowledge students already have as well as their motivational goals. So, for example, when considering a choice among different types of requests for clarification (e.g., a hint vs a direct request for the correct answer), one can imagine that hints are most appropriate when students have partial knowledge as well as a desire for challenge. Yet, directly asking for the correct answer might also be adaptive at times, for the example, when students have no knowledge in a particular task domain and they can use the answer for debugging and self-correcting previously unsuccessful solutions Osborne (1989).

Fourth, students processing the help that they receive is certainly cognitive. Although the definition of adaptive help seeking does not require that requests necessarily lead to, for example, successful solving a math problem, understanding a paragraph of text, or completing a reading assignment, adaptive help seeking does presume that students are goal-directed and purposefully striving for long-term success. Hence, adaptive help seekers profit from good communication and information processing skills of listening, integrating incoming information, and evaluating the quality of the response. These skills are important in deciding whether further help is needed. If it is, students will build ion, and benefit from, answers to earlier requests for information. The remaining components of the help-seeking process, that is, choosing an appropriate target and expressing the request to that person, can best be examined from a social-interactional perspective. Initiating the social interaction necessary to get assistance is when many students abort their help-seeking efforts. Affective and motivational factors strongly come into play at the time of choosing and approaching a particular individual for assistance. The critical role of an effective and motivational filter through which cognitive involved in help seeking presumably occurs (Edmundson, 2013) is evident when one considers students who do not bother to reflect on or take control of their own learning, in spite of necessary cognitive capabilities to do so. Students have personal feelings about their capabilities and about school that they bring to classroom. Affective histories as well as current feelings about themselves, teachers, and classmates determine the degree to which students have academic goals, expectancies, and values that they also bring to the classroom.

A desire to learn and be challenged, a desire not to look dumb in front of others, and a desire to finish an assignment as quickly as possible must influence, in very different ways, students decisions and actions regarding help seeking. It should be noted that the order in which the components of the help-seeking process are presented here is not meant to imply a fixed sequence of decision making in the students mind. Presumably, there is a no sequential and interactive nature to the processing (Innovation in the knowledge economy: Implications for education and learning, 2004). So, for example, a students who feels anxious and does not want to look dumb in class might rethink or edit certain decisions and conclude that a request for help was not really necessary after all.

Affective factors (e.g., emotions, feelings, states, and attitudes) and cognitive-motivational factors (e.g., self-perceptions, perceptions of control, casual attributions, expectancies from success and failure, and achievement goals) are integrally involved in the social interactional process of help seeking. The relationship between the two factors is not well understood, however. In the following discussion, I separate affect and motivation for organization reasons rather than any specific theoretical reason. How does students feel about seeking assistance in the classroom? How is that students come to feel comfortable or uncomfortable, going u to the teacher or classmate to ask for help? We can learn about the role of affect in the social interaction of help seeking by examining: early formation of students self-regulatory functions, students feelings about different helpers, and students feelings about different environmental supports for learning.

Students approach difficulties in the classroom must, to some extent, reflect their earlier experience in dealing with many facets (e.g., novelty, frustration, and challenge) of normal developmental task. Can we trace the beginnings of self-regulated learning, and more specifically, adaptive help seeking, to the home? Further, does an understanding of the social and affective origins of the students capacity for self-regulation help in understanding and facilitating adaptive help seeking the classroom? The term, self-regulation, has been used prominently in the context of sociocultural views of human development (Flick, 2004) and the research on mother- student interaction and affect regulation (In Harman, 2007). According to (Glendenning, 2000), a childs cognitive development is necessarily linked to social influences. The student is not just a recipient of knowledge from more skilled individuals. Rather, the child is an active participant in social interaction with an adult caregiver usually a parent.

Tasks, such as reading stories, categorizing objects, and assembling puzzles, are worked on inter subjectively, that is, with shared understanding of the task and goals (In Clough, 2013). Assistance, or couching, is provided in the form of scaffolding, whereby the adult carefully monitors how the student is doing and what the child needs so that just the right amount of help is doing and what the student needs so that just the right amount of help not too little and not too much can be given. The adult provides needed assistance and responsiveness, weans the child from unneeded assistance, and shares a sense of goal-directness. Executive functioning becomes internalized. In time, the student has not simply regulating role and goals. I t is important to note that this transition from other-regulation to self-regulation, or processing at an interpsychological to intrapsychological plane functioning, is not a simple, linear progression. Cognitive and social development are intimately and dynamically interviewed. What seems to be overlooked, or perhaps just understood implicitly, in accounts of Vygotskys theory is the individuals ongoing, lifelong need to return to an interpsychological plane of functioning, when students are on their own, at times of task difficulty, they may have to seek assistance form someone else. When goals require help seeking. An integral part of self-regulation then is knowing when is desirable, or indeed necessary, to fall back to other regulation.

How to students come to know that help seeking has such an important instrumental value and that question asking, in particular, can serve that instrumental function? Although one can learn about the role of affect in the social interaction of academic help seeking is by directly examining students feelings about potential helpers. How do students perceive their relationships in the classroom with their teachers and classmates? Are there particular features of good teacher-student and peer relationships that support students help seeking? A good place to start with answers to these questions is by examining what students say that they get out of help seeking, that is, their perceived costs and benefits of seeking assistance from teachers and classmates. Mediating between a student having the ability to use a particular strategy and spontaneously using it is the students consideration of costs and benefits Hiemstra, (1982). In theory, self-regulated learners believe that the potential benefits of using an effective strategy (e.g., the value of task success) outweigh the potential costs (e.g., the amount of effort required or time taken away from competing activities).

For children as young as 8 years old, perceived costs and benefits of help seeking are similar to those of adults. Students associate low ability with unsolicited help from the teacher Lowe (2007).They commonly fear negative reactions from their teacher, especially if there is an expectation that they should not require additional assistance. They fear embarrassment in the eyes of their classmates. In addition, students commonly report that teachers and classmates are unavailable or unwilling to help Marton (1997). On a more positive note, however, students are also are of the benefits of seeking help. In fact, elementary and middle school students think the benefits of seeking help (e.g., I think the teacher might think Im dumb when I ask a question. or I feel like its just too much of bother to ask questions).

Over time, there is a growing recognition that asking for help has important academic benefits. Newman and Schwager (1993) asked students to choose a label for children who ask the teacher questions: third graders strongly identified them as the dumb kids rather than the smart kids, fifth graders were evenly split, and seventh graders strongly identified them as the smart kids. Students attitudes about individual helpers change significantly over the school years. For example, students become increasingly aware of numerous characteristics that distinguish effective helpers from ineffective helpers Kulm (1985). Whereas kindergartens seem concerned with personal aspects of helpers (e.g., niceness and kindness), children in middle elementary and upper-elementary grades seem more concerned with academic aspects (e.g., competence and willingness to help). Similarly, Nelson-Le Gall and Gumerman (1984) showed...

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