UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

Young children's engagement in self-regulation at school Hutchinson, Lynda R.


Self-regulation involves metacognition, motivation, and strategic action. Children who develop and engage in self-regulation experience positive developmental and educational outcomes. Also, children are more likely to develop and engage in self-regulated learning (SRL) when features of classroom contexts support it. Although research has demonstrated that self-regulation predicts academic achievement, it has not examined; (a) whether teachers distinguish between different aspects of self-regulation, such as emotion regulation (ER), SRL, and socially responsible self-regulation (SRSR); (b) whether and how features of classroom contexts, which have been linked to opportunities for SRL, can also provide opportunities for ER and SRSR; and (c) relationships between individual children’s self-regulation and features of classroom contexts. Therefore, this mixed-method, multi-level study addressed these issues. Data consisted of 19 kindergarten, grade one, and grade 2 teachers’ ratings of 208 children’s ER, SRL, and SRSR and a full day of observations in 17 of the participating classrooms. Quantitative (EFA, HLM) and qualitative (in-depth analysis of classroom observations) analyses were conducted on these data. Results indicated: (a) teachers did not distinguish between the aspects of self-regulation; data converged on a unitary construct of self-regulation; (b) self-regulation predicted academic achievement; (c) older children had higher levels of self-regulation compared to younger children; (d) boys were rated as having lower levels of self-regulation compared to girls; (d) features of classroom contexts provided meaningful opportunities for children’s development of and engagement in ER, SRL, and SRSR; and (e) complex tasks and teacher support were statistically significant predictors of children’s self-regulation—they were implicated in children’s uptake of opportunities to engage in self-regulation during classroom lessons. Implications of this study are discussed. These include: the benefits of designing a wider range of measures and including mixed-method and longitudinal studies to examine trajectories of children’s self-regulation, the low ratings of self-regulation for boys in the early school years, and the role of complex tasks and teacher support in constructing meaningful opportunities for children to develop and engage in adaptive and effective aspects of self-regulation.

Item Media

Item Citations and Data


Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International