New study to investigate the early development of self-regulated learning in children

November 19, 2014

Understanding how young children develop the skills to self-regulate their learning is being investigated through a new three-year project at Murdoch University.

Child development specialist Dr Deborah Pino-Pasternak's project has been funded by a prestigious Discovery Early Career Researcher Award worth $361,744 from the Australian Research Council.

Dr Pino-Pasternak will examine how factors in children’s home and classroom environments can play a role in developing the ability to work towards goals, understand and enact strategies to solve problems and evaluate their performance.

“Self-regulated learning has been shown to be a strong predictor of academic outcomes in older students but we still do not know much about how these behaviours develop in early childhood,” Dr Pino-Pasternak said.

“It is important to gain an understanding of how self-regulated learning establishes in children during the first years of school and also how parents and teachers can support the emergence of these behaviours.”

Beginning mid-2015, 160 pre-primary aged children from a range of Perth schools will participate in a longitudinal study, where their abilities to self-regulate their learning will be assessed for 18 months.

Dr Pino-Pasternak will also gather information about classroom and home environments and will investigate the quality of parent-child and teacher-student interactions.

“I am very interested in understanding how differences in these external factors can affect a child’s trajectory for learning,” she said.

“Hopefully if we gain a better understanding of how to promote self-regulated learning in young children, we can create coordinated school-family approaches to work on this together.”

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