Nancy Perry

Dr. Nancy Perry believes that supporting students’ self-regulated learning in classrooms, requires researchers to work with teachers to understand how to create classroom environments where students have many meaningful opportunities to develop the skills and strategies they need to be self-regulating.  Over the years, a main feature of her research design has been bringing teachers and researchers together to engage in the same cycles of planning, acting, and reflecting that we want to promote in students.       

“I’ve learned that teachers learn best when they learn from one another, and we need to support teachers’ learning in much the same way we want them to support their students’ learning” – Dr. Perry 

Dr. Perry recognizes that much of what she knows about supporting self-regulated learning, she’s learned from working with teachers. Her dissertation research involved observing classrooms where she witnessed highly effective teachers designing tasks and interacting with students to help them know themselves as learners and take control of their learning. She realized the importance of tapping into the well of knowledge that teachers already have when setting out to understand what classroom processes are effective. Since then, her research has involved collaborating with teachers to find ways of supporting students to use self-regulated learning for social, emotional, and academic success. Teachers are at the centre of Dr. Perry’s research, co-constructing SRL-promoting practices to fit their unique teaching and learning contexts. When teachers and researchers come together for cycles of planning, acting, and reflecting, teachers’ practices evolve and classroom environments emerge that provide students with opportunities to develop and engage in self-regulated learning.  

Creating Classroom Contexts that Support Self-Regulated Learning

Dr. Perry has written detailed descriptions of what classroom environments that support self-regulated learning look like. Familiar routines, clear expectations, visual supports, and meaningful tasks are all structures that can support self-regulated learning in a way that celebrates the co-construction of knowledge. Furthermore, students thrive when they are given the freedom to exercise their autonomy and are supported by motivational messages and feedback that focus on growth and progress. Recently, Dr. Perry has collaborated with teachers to co-create assessments of self-regulated learning that also support self-regulated learning.. These curricular-linked assessments, embedded in regularly occurring classroom activities, help students to understand their own learning processes and provide teachers with valuable information about how students are interpreting tasks and using strategies to respond to challenges.    

“Students learned to accurately assess their own learning and set reasonable personal expectations for their work … The fact that students learned that their learning styles and capabilities are different from their peers [..] creates a more joyful learning experience for them”- Janice Wilson, Teacher Partner 

Dr. Perry has immense gratitude for the teachers who have contributed their local and practical knowledge to her work. In return, she aims to continue helping teachers  build on what they already know when it comes to promoting self-regulated learning. Dr. Perry believes in the transformational potential of researcher-practitioner partnerships to foster self-regulated learning widely. With the key to self-regulated learning in the hands of both teachers and researchers, she looks forward to a future where more and more students will reap the benefits of this form of learning.


Nancy Perry, PhD
Professor, Dorothy Lam Chair in Special Education, University of British Columbia, Dept. of Educational and Counselling Psychology, and Special Education 

General Research Interests: 

  • Supporting self-regulated learning (SRL) in schools 
  • Social and contextual perspectives on teaching and learning 
  • Teacher development 
  • Using SRL to address issues of equity, diversity and inclusion