Aims | The Child | Task of teaching | First steps to integration
- Child   development   and learning
- Piaget
- Vigotsky
- Erikson
- Self-  regulated   learning
- In closing
- References

- Download

The child: psychological and pedagogical considerations


Self-regulated learning


Research on academic self-regulation has grown out of interest in explaining how students become masters of their own learning processes (Zimmerman, 2000). Academic self-regulation is not a mental ability, such as intelligence, or an academic skill, such as reading proficiency; rather, it is the self-directive process through which learners transform their mental abilities into academic skills.


Most self-regulation theorists view learning as a multidimensional process involving personal (cognitive and emotional), behavioural and contextual components (Zimmerman, 1998.) In their view, learnfing is an open-ended process that requires cyclical activity on the part of the learner that occurs in three major phases: forethought, performance or volitional control, and self-reflection. “The forethought phase refers to influential processes and beliefs that precede efforts to learn and set the stage for such learning(…) the performance or volitional control, involves processes that occur during learning efforts and affect concentration and performance(…) self-reflection, involves processes that occur after learning efforts and influence a learner’s reactions to that experience. These self- reflections, in turn, influence forethought regarding subsequent learning efforts, thus completing the self-regulatory cycle” (Zimmerman, 1998:2).



Table 2-Self-regulatory sub-processes of naïve and skilful learners

Self- regulatory phases

Classes of self-regulated learners

Naïve self-regulators

Skilful self-regulators


Non-specific distal goals

Performance goal orientation

Low self-efficacy


Specific hierarchical goals

Learning goal orientation

High self-efficacy

Intrinsically interested

Performance or volitional control

Unfocused plan

Self-handicapping strategies

Outcome self-monitoring

Focused on performance


Process self-monitoring


Avoid self-evaluation

Ability attributions

Negative self-reaction


Seek self-evaluation

Strategy/practice attributions

Positive self-reactions


(Adapted of Zimmerman, 1998:6)


It is essential to provide personal, social, and environmental conditions that lead students to become skilful rather than naïve self-regulators of their academic learning. We can consider two essential sources of self-regulation: social (including adults-parents, coaches, teachers and peers-siblings, friends, classmates) and self-directed experiences. Academic self-regulation can be learned through a core set of instructional and personal practice experiences by diverse students, ranging in age from primary school to higher education.


In early education there is a consensus that young children are learning to be independent - to control and direct their behaviour effectively both in interaction with others and when engaged in mastery tasks. There is an understanding that young children function in an integrated way.


As Bronson emphasized (2000:245): “Teachers of young children know that they learn about the world and learn to solve problems when they play and that play is their way of experimenting with new ideas and practising skills. Early childhood educators need to hold fast to these understandings in the face of increasing “academic standards” for early childhood classrooms. It is not that young children cannot or should not learn letters and numbers and concepts in science, because they can and are interested in these concepts if presented appropriately. However, long periods of teacher instruction and longer periods of filling out work sheets at desks or tables are not the most effective means of supporting learning, self-regulated learning, or love for learning at these ages”.


Schools can encourage children to see knowledge as “cultural tools” by building appropriate choice and individual control into a curriculum that interests and challenges each individual at an appropriate level, emphasizes internal rewards rather than external control, and allows space and time for each child’s personal quest.