Self-Regulation in the Kindergarten Classroom: Co-Constructing Pedagogical Knowledge
Deficits in self-regulation place young children at considerable academic and social risk. Evidence suggests that the underlying executive function skills that are the building blocks of self-regulation (i.e., working memory, cognitive flexibility, and inhibitory control) are malleable, and that educators can play an important role in fostering the development of self-regulation in children. The initial purpose of this study, therefore, was to identify features of teacher-student relationships, classroom activities, and routines that support the development of self-regulation in kindergarten students. Next, I explored how a collaborative professional development inquiry model, with a focus on bridging research to practice, could support kindergarten teachers’ classroom practices for fostering self-regulated learning. I also examined how such an approach contributed to teachers’ understanding and to the co-creation of knowledge about student self-regulation in the kindergarten classroom. Participants in this single case study of a collaborative inquiry team included myself as the researcher, as well as seven kindergarten teachers and five early childhood educators. Data were collected over a six-month period, through after-school meetings, classroom observations, reflective journaling, free-writing activities, an online chat group, and interviews. These data were analyzed using standard qualitative protocols. The first set of findings was presented as a set of activities that provided evidence of how research and practice were bridged in the kindergarten classroom. Using a collaborative inquiry team approach, we co-constructed knowledge by trying, testing, modifying, and embellishing games and activities intended to foster self-regulation. In the second set of findings, Expectancy-Value and Self-Determination theories of motivation served to frame the analysis. Key findings suggested that the collaborative inquiry team approach enhanced teachers’ self-efficacy and facilitated the co-creation of knowledge. Teachers were highly motivated to participate by the topic, as well as by their collective desire to collaborate with colleagues and develop classroom strategies. Teachers demonstrated extraordinary shifts in their thinking as they examined their teaching practices in light of new understandings. This study demonstrated that music, drama, and dance can offer age-appropriate and engaging activities to foster self-regulation, and that these activities afforded teachers the freedom to scaffold supports to suit the needs of their particular students.
URI for this recordhttp://hdl.handle.net/1974/23794
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