Book Reviews

Book by Héfer Bembenutty (Ed.)
Review by Shaina Gonzalez
M.Ed. Academic Advisor
University of South Florida
College of Arts and Sciences

Héfer Bembenutty assembled this volume to evaluate current theories and tools educators and students use to facilitate self-regulation of learning. Published here are practices that Bembenutty deemed successful; their applicability to academic advising can be seen in discussions of motivation and academic delay of gratification.

Each chapter reiterates the role of motivation in students abilities to self-regulate. Chapters 1-4 discuss the value of performance mastery as the ultimate motivator. The common message: students should worry less about grades, and more about learning. While learning as a motivator is demonstrated through case study as a more effective tool for self-regulation, this motivator seems idealistic. When class rank, scholarship eligibility, and admission to professional schools are dependent upon students’ grade point averages, advisors’ role in preparing students for these outcomes seems to conflict with our role in reframing intrinsic and extrinsic motivators especially when we attempt to counteract habits that have been reinforced by students’ K-12 experiences. Authors Zusho and Edwards propose an introduction to self-regulation at orientation and again in the classroom, with admitted challenges for “larger, lecture-oriented classes” (p.28), and also presumably at larger, research-based institutions. 

Later chapters shift from placing motivation solely on learning content to delay of academic gratification that, for  advisors, seems much more accomplishable. While extrinsic and intrinsic motivations are certainly components of delay of academic gratification, other factors include task value and personal achievement goal orientation (p.58).  As advisors, framing the value of coursework and demonstrating the applicability of various subjects (e.g., math, English, and science) to seemingly unrelated majors is a common task. Taking the conversation one step further, when advisors explain not only the applicability of learning but the impact of mastery we help promote student self-regulation.  When the ultimate goal takes priority for students, as reiterated by advisors, the intrinsic and extrinsic motivators fall in tow.

This book is a good down-time read for advisors to help us develop supplementary skills.  At the very least, it provides resources needed to begin conversations with students about self-regulation, study skills referrals and other interventions.

The shortcoming of this book is that it is one-sided and chapters are redundant. Results were self-reported by students and evidence was anecdotal, which are but two assessment perspectives that should have been demonstrated. Seemingly geared toward working with first time in college students, the anecdotes included are inapplicable to non-traditional students who may more commonly face a struggle with self-regulation.


Self-regulated learning (New directions for teaching and learning #126). (Summer 2011). Book by Héfer Bembenutty (Ed.). Review by Shaina Gonzalez. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass,130 pp., $29.00,ISBN # 978-1-1180-9163-0

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