Examining Early Primary School Children’s Self-Regulated Learning Development

Project Number
OER 08/14 NHK

Project Duration
July 2014 - June 2016


Self-regulated learning (SRL) is regarded as one of the most important skill sets needed for life-long learning; it is necessary beyond school and relevant to all contexts across the lifespan. Self-regulated learners are engaged, persistent, proactive and reflective (Schunk, 2005; Winne & Perry, 2000; Zimmerman, 2002). They actively monitor and regulate their own learning via the use of a variety of cognitive, metacognitive, motivational and behavioural strategies to achieve their goals (Boekaerts, 1997; Pintrich, 2004; Winne & Perry, 2000; Wolters, 2003; Zimmerman, 2001, 2008). Such individuals have the ability to adapt when faced with new challenges and are competitive and prepared for life in an increasingly globalized world. The promotion of self-regulated learning is thus a crucial aspect of education in the 21st century (Boekaerts, 1999). Whilst self-regulated learning is a fairly well-established area of research, the preponderance of existing literature focuses on older students in secondary school through university. To date, large-scale research on early primary school children’s self-regulated learning remains scarce (Cooper & Corpus, 2009; Wigfield, Klauda, & Cambria, 2011). Hence, the main objective of our proposed study is to fill this gap in the literature by conducting a comprehensive assessment of early primary school children’s (Primary 3) self-regulated learning and development. Moreover, the social cognitive theory of self-regulation (Bandura, 1991) asserted that self-regulated learning effort and performance are strongly influenced by environmental and social-contextual factors (Meyer & Turner, 2002; Patrick & Middletown, 2001; Vygotsky, 1978; Zimmerman, 2000). For school children, the classroom is the social context of meaning and development. Children’s use of self-regulatory strategies thus depends on the tasks and contexts that teachers create for them. Therefore the second objective of our proposed study is to explore the extent to which teacher practices influence school children’s SRL development. Such evaluation can provide teachers with valuable information to improve their pedagogical practices. Findings from this study can also be used by educators to derive policy implications and suggestions and provide useful insights to help gear the education system toward nurturing an innovative society attuned to the demands and opportunities of the 21st century.

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