Leyton Schnellert

Community engaged researchers have the power to foster engaged communities of learners. For Dr. Leyton Schnellert, promoting self-regulated learning involves modelling the kind of collaborative inquiry that teachers and researchers aim to promote among their students. 

“I have come to understand SRL as situated in context, not a suite of strategies to teach learners, but a way of engaging children and youth as strategic learners” – Dr. Schnellert 

Dr. Schnellert’s research interest in self-regulated learning emerged from his early experiences learning about self-determination through inspiring adults and family members in the disability community. Growing up in rural Canada imbued Dr. Schnellert with a sense of how local needs, problems, and interests in rural schools can foster innovative and rigorous educational experiences. As a middle school teacher, he became invested in his students’ academic and social success which eventually led him to investigate self-regulated learning as a framework to promote students’ agency over their learning. Dr. Schnellert embraces a distinctly decolonial approach in his research by extensively collaborating with local teachers to co-plan, co-teach, and co-reflect on practices that promote self-regulated learning. He centres the perspectives of students and strives to avoid imposing the researcher point-of-view on teaching and learning communities; instead, Dr. Schnellert values community engagement and the co-construction of academic knowledge. Seeing educators work together to transform their teaching, classrooms, and schools in the service of their learners has continued to motivate Dr. Schnellert’s research into the transformative power of self-regulated learning. 

Collaborative Inquiry to Empower All Learners 

Dr. Schnellert’s collaborative research has brought to light many strategies for promoting self-regulated learning both within and outside of the classroom. He has identified strategies to merge middle years education and self-regulated learning philosophies, including ongoing formative assessments, frequent opportunities for teachers and students to self-reflect, the development of healthy learner identities, and a diversity-positive classroom community. Furthermore, using common language and embedding opportunities for social and emotional growth in middle-years curricula can build up communities of engaged and self-reflective learners. Dr. Schnellert worked with professional learning networks of teachers to construct a new model of professional development practices, emphasizing support for teachers to co-create knowledge and draw on each other’s diverse perspectives to tackle shared focuses. In fact, it was within a teacher inquiry team that Dr. Schnellert helped identify and define a strengths-based approach to supporting students at risk of not completing school. By implementing culturally responsive and personalized teaching practices, teachers can collaborate to empower communities of self-regulating learners.  

“[Teachers] are seen as active agents in learning, and active contributors in the knowledge generation influencing each other’s practice.” – Teacher Partner 

“I’m grateful to be part of a project that has provided a safe enough space for educators to feel willing to take […] some of those first steps.” – Teacher Partner  

The innovative contributions of teacher partners have provided a deeply motivating experience for Dr. Schnellert throughout his research. Through these reciprocal relationships, Dr. Schnellert and his teacher partners have been able to engage in the same cycles of co-reflecting and self-regulated learning that they aim to implement in classrooms across a diverse array of settings. The implementation of self-regulated learning is driven by the unique contexts of particular groups of students and teachers. Embedding supports for teachers to co-construct practices to promote self-regulated learning may prove a valuable strategy to incorporate experiential knowledge into the research process. Ultimately, promoting the co-construction of knowledge can empower students to take control over their social, emotional, and academic learning. 


Leyton Schnellert, PhD
Associate Professor, Eleanor Rix Professor in Rural Teacher Education, University of British Columbia, Dept. of Curriculum and Pedagogy 

General Research Interests: 

  • Rural Education 
  • Community Research 
  • Metacognition and Learning 
  • Middle Years 
  • Literacy 
  • Teacher Education Research 
  • Inclusive Education 
  • Teacher Professional Development