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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Trajectories at risk : examining young children's self-regulation in classroom contexts from kindergarten to grade 5 Hall, Marissa Rose


Self-regulation involves individuals’ abilities to adapt cognitions, affect, and behaviors to respond to environmental demands and achieve goals. During childhood, self-regulation describes how children co-ordinate their deployment of basic executive functions and higher order process (e.g., metacognition, motivation, strategic action) to effectively engage with parents and siblings at home, and with teachers and peers, while learning in school. Research spanning the fields of developmental and educational psychology provides empirical support illustrating how children’s self-regulation predicts school adjustment. However, studies also reveal that children differ in their engagement in self-regulation in school, but fewer studies have examined the development of young children’s self-regulation in school trajectories, and how they may be shaped by features of classroom contexts that can serve to impact it. The current study fills a gap in the literature by using longitudinal data to examine trajectories of three young children’s self-regulation in school from Kindergarten to Grade Five. This longitudinal case study asks three research questions. First, how did the case study students’ self-regulation and achievement trajectories change from Kindergarten through Grade 5? Second, how might supports for self-regulation in classrooms attenuate for risk in children’s development of self-regulation? Third, how might classroom supports for self-regulation differentially support emotion regulation (ER), self-regulated learning (SRL), and socially responsible self-regulation (SRSR) in the case study students? Results from this study demonstrated that, in general, trajectories of self-regulation and achievement show similar patterns (i.e., when self-regulation scores increase or decrease so do achievement ratings). However, each student’s trajectory is unique and context needs to be considered when thinking about children’s development of self-regulation. This study suggests that certain classroom contexts and teaching practices provide more support for students’ development of self-regulation. These practices are discussed in detail in the results section. Implications for research and practice, as well as future directions, are also presented.

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