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Final Conference Agenda

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Session Overview
SYM-13: Investigating and Advancing Young Children's Self-Regulated Learning Competence
Time: Wednesday, 29/Aug/2012: 1:30pm - 3:00pm
Session Chair: Sanna Järvelä, University of Oulu
Discussant: Tina Hascher, University of Salzburg
Location: 311

Session Abstract

Self-regulation involves metacognition, motivation and strategic action. It is associated with success in and beyond school (Zimmerman, 2008). Self-regulated learning does not only contribute to better quality learning, but promotes the ability for future learning and lifelong learning competencies. Almost all studies about self-regulated learning focus on older children and college students. Historically, theories of motivation and self-regulated learning have presumed young children are incapable of the complex cognitive and metacognitive activity SRL requires, and not vulnerable to motivational beliefs that undermine it (Zimmerman, 1990). In recent years there has been evidence that primary school children are able to regulate their learning under certain conditions and demonstrate the same motivational vulnerabilities as older learners (e.g. Perry, 1998; Whitebread et al., 2009). In this symposium students’ self-regulated learning competencies in the first years of school is being examined. The first two papers by Mykkänen et al. and Wagener et al. consider students’ SRL competence in authentic classroom activities. The third paper by Gunzenhauser et al. will complement the findings from experimental perspective. The qualitative approach with video observations and interviews as well as experimental design will demonstrate multiple ways to investigate young children SRL. The findings report students’ competence in SRL and it is concluded that the advancement of students’ self-regulation skills should start at the early school years.


Young children’s causal attributions of competence in authentic classroom situations

Arttu Johannes Mykkänen1, Sanna Järvelä1, Nancy Perry2

1University of Oulu, Finland; 2University of British Columbia

The present study investigated how young children attribute their competence concerning their successful moments in everyday classroom activities. Twenty four primary school students were followed over seven weeks. Video observation data was collected in classrooms to catch moments where children succeeded in various school related tasks. After the videotaped sessions stimulated recall interviews were conducted in order to ask children’s views of causal attributions concerning their competence in moments of success. The results show that children’s competent academic performance underpinned internal, controllable and stable perceptions of competence such as understanding of the task and confidence to own abilities. Results of this study contribute to the pedagogical design of classrooms supporting young children’s self-regulated learning and competence beliefs.

Emotion regulation strategies influence subsequent performance in children: An experimental approach

Catherine Gunzenhauser, Antje von Suchodoletz

University of Freiburg, Germany

Regulating emotions is an important part of self-regulated learning. However, emotion regulation can involve cognitive costs. According to the ego-depletion perspective, self-control is a limited resource that can get depleted, resulting in poorer performance in subsequent acts of self-control. Emotion regulation strategies vary in the degree in which they deplete self-control resources. Specifically, reappraisal (i.e., a reframing of the situation) is a low-cost strategy. This study investigated the effects of reappraisal on ego-depletion in children. We hypothesized that children who were assisted in using reappraisal would show less ego-depletion than children in a control group who regulated their emotion spontaneously. In this study, N = 44 third graders (MAge = 8.50 years, SD = .46; 55 % girls) participated. Children were randomly assigned to reappraisal and control conditions. Emotion was evoked using a film clip. Children in the reappraisal condition received standardized reappraisal assistance. Children in the control condition were told to just watch. After the film clip, ego-depletion was assessed using a crossing-out task. Children also rated their own fidelity to the experimental instructions. Results revealed a significant interaction effect between experimental condition and fidelity to instructions, b = 8.52, SE = 3.44, p = .02. Children in the reappraisal condition who had reported high fidelity to instructions showed less ego-depletion. Findings imply that being assisted in using reappraisal could help children to prevent ego-depletion while regulating emotions in the classroom and during the process of self-regulated learning. Possible interventions to strengthen children’s reappraisal skills are discussed.

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