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The prevalence of depression among adolescents and early adolescents in China has received more attention in recent years. Few studies have examined the influence of both autonomy and relatedness support combined as a protective and corrective effect on depression. The authors find the Chinese context a “strong testing ground for the universal importance of the combined impacts of autonomy and relatedness support on depression.” The authors examine the trends in depression in a 3-year longitudinal study investigating the impacts of teacher autonomy and support and teacher-student relationships on students’ depressive symptoms.

How teachers can help students

Some studies have shown that teacher autonomy support can act as a protective factor against student depression. In a teaching context, this means providing students with choice, providing rationale for tasks, showing respect and allowing the expression of negative effects. 

Again studies have indicated that positive teacher-student relationships act as a protective factor against student depressive symptoms, including enhancing students’ social competence. 

The Chinese education context is characterized by high-stakes testing and exam systems and more authoritative teaching styles. This highly competitive system has caused unique features of depression in Chinese students. Meta-analyses suggest that contrary to the gender differences reported in Western cultures for Chinese primary and middle school students there are no significant gender differences in the prevalence of depressive symptoms. The great value that Chinese culture places on interpersonal harmony also means that the quality of interpersonal relationships exerted a stronger impact on depressive symptoms in Chinese adolescents than in their western counterparts.

The importance of teacher autonomy support

This research is based on a 3-year longitudinal study. Data was collected as part of a large-scale educational assessment of all schools in the Mentou-gou School District, which is located in the western area of Beijing, China. In total, 1613 4th-grade students from 25 primary schools and 1397 7th-grade students from 14 middle schools were recruited during the baseline assessment in 2014. Tracking the same group of students, a second and third assessment was implemented in 2015 and 2016. “The results of this study revealed that for both the primary and middle school samples, teacher autonomy support and teacher–student relationships consistently buffered the students’ depressive symptoms over time.” These findings align with the conclusions from previous studies.

The importance of teacher-student relationships

Gender differences were only present in the primary school sample, with females having a lower initial score that increased significantly over time, compared to the male students whose scores declined over time. In middle school, depressive symptoms increased significantly with a similar rate of change regardless of gender, although females still maintained a higher baseline. The authors suggest that this is different from the Western cultural context (where female students were more likely to show a higher rate of increased depressive symptoms than their male peers) because of Chinese cultural influences. Female students who are more likely to follow and obey rules would receive more positive feedback from teachers and parents, and Chinese females typically academically outperform their male peers at this age, both of which could act as protective factors. 

Students who had higher socioeconomic backgrounds reported lower levels of depressive symptoms. This finding is consistent with current research. 

“The study confirmed the significant effects of teachers’ autonomous and supportive strategies on reducing students’ depressive symptoms in both primary and middle school.” In China, studies have found that interpersonal stress significantly predicted the depression levels of Chinese pupils. This implies that teacher-student relationships are an especially crucial factor in students’ development in a Chinese context, with a higher potential impact to offset students’ depressive symptoms.

Notable Quotes: 

“As indicated by this study, establishing a harmonious and autonomy-supportive school environment could benefit students in many ways and might reduce the potential risks of psychological problems. This implication is particularly meaningful in the schooling context, where the general teaching styles are less autonomy supportive.”

“Therefore, schools should provide teachers with training programmes regarding need-supportive teaching strategies and enhance teachers’ awareness of the importance of mental health.”

“To empower students with more autonomy, teachers could provide students with opportunities to express their thoughts and make choices, show concern for students’ negative emotions, and use noncontrolling language during instruction. In addition, teachers could improve students’ sense of relatedness by listening, expressing care, and being available during difficulties.”

Personal Takeaway:

This study serves as further research on the importance of positive student-teacher relationships and the benefits it has for teaching and learning as well as meeting a student’s developmental, emotional and academic needs. It also highlights the benefits of promoting student autonomy in the learning process. When students are given voice and choice they are more empowered, engaged, and connected to the learning environment, ultimately having positive impacts on both their academic and mental-wellbeing.

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Ayla Reau

Summarized Article:

Zhang, D., Jin, B., & Cui, Y. (2021). Do teacher autonomy support and teacher–student relationships influence students’ depression? A 3-year longitudinal study. School Mental Health: A Multidisciplinary Research and Practice Journal. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12310-021-09456-4

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While there are many studies out there that examine the general intrinsic motivation for physical activity, little research has been done on emotions as a crucial factor in understanding student motivation in a PE setting. By considering the students’ subjective emotional experiences, a more holistic understanding of physical activity behavior change and why students are not getting enough daily physical activity can be better understood.

The levels of physical activity in school-aged children  

In Germany, only 22.4% of girls and 29.4% of boys aged 3 to 17 reach the WHO guideline of physical activity, and their physical activity significantly decreases from age 3 to 17. Therefore, a deeper understanding of emotions among students during physical activity will better inform what is triggering their regular physical activity during leisure time. In addition, the control-value theory of learning and achievement emotions serves as an appropriate and established theoretical framework, as it presents antecedents and outcomes of emotions in school settings.

The benefits of perceived autonomy supports in student self-efficacy  

The sample consisted of 1030 student participants between 11 and 18 years who attended Grades 6 to 10 of the German Mittelschule, which is a type of school with the lowest educational level among secondary schools in Germany. 408 participants were female (39.6%), and 622 participants were male (60.4%). Whether or not the PE teacher was perceived to be providing cognitive autonomy and organizational autonomy supports positively predicted students’ academic self-efficacy in PE.

Furthermore, the students’ academic self-efficacy in PE positively predicted their enjoyment in PE, which had a negative effect on their anxiety in PE. The intrinsic value that students identified in PE also positively predicted students’ enjoyment and negatively predicted their anxiety.

The students’ enjoyment in PE was a positive predictor of their physical activity during leisure time.

Finally, perceived cognitive autonomy support provided by the PE teacher positively predicted students’ physical activity in leisure time via students’ PE-related academic self-efficacy, intrinsic value, enjoyment and anxiety.

Creating positive emotional experiences  

If students are provided the opportunity to influence their learning environment, they tend to have higher action-control expectancies and assign more relevance to their PE class. PE can be seen as a potentially powerful platform for the promotion of leisure-time physical activity, especially if it is conducted in a way that evokes regular positive achievement emotions in students while keeping negative ones on a minor level. This study suggests a substantial potential of emotional experiences in PE as a powerful predictor of physical behavior outside of school.

Notable Quotes: 

“Positive emotional experiences in PE could be seen as a main factor to increase physical activity in a lifelong perspective and could thus help students to improve their overall health.”

“PE teachers have the opportunity to create positive emotional experiences for students and to reduce the experience of negative emotions by use of autonomy-supportive teaching strategies.”

“PE exhibits the potential to affect students’ thoughts and feelings related to PE in leisure time and thus is a promising starting point for children and adolescents with regard to an active lifestyle in the long term.”

Personal Takeaway:

As special educators, we tend to focus on our students’ core subjects. We may easily forget the importance of PE and how emotions can play a big role in their motivation to do well in their physical activity. The findings of this study allow me to attend to the students’ emotional experience during physical activity in recess and PE classes. It will also allow me to use autonomy-supportive teaching strategies by considering the environment and creating opportunities in the classroom for physical activities they enjoy.

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Michael Ho

Summarized Article: 

Zimmermann, J.; Tilga, H.; Bachner, J.; Demetriou, Y. The Effect of Teacher Autonomy Support on Leisure-Time Physical Activity via Cognitive Appraisals and Achievement Emotions: A Mediation Analysis Based on the Control-Value Theory. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18, 3987. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18083987

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Identifying the interrelationships between self-regulation, emotion, grit and student performance by using the Cyclical Self-Regulated learning model, which is associated with a K-12 math tutoring program.

What happens when students fail in their academic tasks?

When students repeatedly fail at a task, their self-confidence in the subject goes down, and their anxiety and frustration goes up. They build a resentment towards the subject and start to believe that their time in class is not useful.

The concept and long-term nature of grit helps students maintain consistent and focused interest for important and challenging goals.

Improving the level of grit in students  

Two groups of middle schoolers who were participating in a weekly Mathspring Intervention program were chosen, one based in the US, and the other in Argentina. The levels of grit and expectation of success were measured in these groups. The research team argues for the need to work on improving the level of grit in students, by validating hard work ethic, strengthening student setbacks, and encouraging diligence. It was also found that grit in the early phase of learning predicts success in later stages of learning.

More research needs to be done on student experience  

This study is just the tip of the iceberg on representing types of student learning. More research needs to be done on the experiences of students with diverse learning patterns, and patterns found for students with disabilities, gifted students, easily-frustrated students and so on.

Notable Quotes: 

“In education settings, students who exhibit self-regulation in learning behaviours are able to direct their efforts toward achieving academic goals.”

“There are certain traits and dimensions of character other than intelligence that are strong determinants of a person’s unique path towards success despite setbacks.”

“The long-term nature of grit is what differentiates it from similar constructs such as self-control and conscientiousness.”

Personal Takeaway

Reading this research has opened my mind to the importance of building grit in students, especially those in Learning Support, as this skill will strongly contribute to their future success in life and allow them to persevere through the challenges of life with more ease.

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Shekufeh Monadjem

Summarized Article:

Kooken, J. W., Zaini, R., & Arroyo, I. (2021). Simulating the dynamics of self-regulation, emotion, grit, and student performance in cyber-learning environments. Metacognition and Learning, 16(2), 367-405.

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In this article, authors Adi, Artini & Wahyuni (2021) “analyze teachers’ perceptions of self-directed learning (SDL) and the identifiable components of SDL from online learning activities assigned by teachers during the COVID-19 pandemic.” 

The involvement of students in learning decisions

This article did not include a literature review. However, it was interesting to note that despite the fact that educators recognize the value of SDL, many hesitate to involve students in decisions related to their learning, including both content and assessment decisions.

Measuring perceptions of self-directed learning

As a part of the data collection methods, the researchers provided a self-rated questionnaire, measuring teachers’ “perceptions of SDL content knowledge, perceptions of SDL implementation, and perceptions of the impact of SDL on students.”

The study surveyed one high school English as an Additional Language (EAL) teacher in Indonesia. Overall, the findings revealed that while teachers recognize the importance of providing opportunities for self-directed learning for student success, “the application of SDL has not been maximized.” Rather, “teachers tend to use classical strategies that do not focus on student-centered learning” and “are hesitant to involve students” in decisions related to their learning, including content and assessments.

How teachers can help students grow in independence

The results suggest that “teachers and school authorities need to develop the most appropriate curriculum and assignments to encourage students to be more independent and independent in learning.” The study showed that English teachers consider themselves “knowledgeable” about SDL content knowledge and “anticipate” in applying SDL, yet “rarely do pre-activities and post-activities” to promote student autonomy. However, the research is limited by the survey size (only one teacher was surveyed) and additional participants need to be surveyed in order to be able to generalize the findings to a wider population of teachers.

Notable Quotes: 

“Teachers felt that SDL strategies could significantly motivate students in learning, stimulate them to recognize their learning goals, and assist them in determining appropriate sources and ways of learning.” 

Self-directed learning (SDL) is “a process in which students take the initiative to identify their learning needs, formulate learning objectives, determine learning resources, apply appropriate learning strategies and evaluate their learning outcomes, with or without the help of others” (Hill et al., 2020; Suryadewi, Wiyasa, & Sujana, 2020). 

According to the questionnaire, teachers “generally agree that SDL is important for students” as it “can give autonomy to students in learning and increase students’ initiative in monitoring their learning.”

Personal Takeaway

As the world shifts back to in-person school, evaluating perceptions of self-directed learning will be an important part of determining next steps for teacher instruction in this new phase of the pandemic.

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Taryn McBrayne

Summarized Article:

Adi, N. L. M. P., Artini, L. P., & Wahyuni, L. G. E. (2021). Self-Directed Learning in EFL During Covid-19 Pandemic: Teacher’s Perception and Students’ Learning Autonomy. Indonesian Journal of Educational Research and Review, 5(1), 80-90. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.23887/ijerr.v4i1.

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The purpose of the current study was to identify self-regulated learning profiles among middle school students and to investigate whether these profiles related to multiple indicators of academic success and regulatory engagement in mathematics.

What is Self-Regulated Learning?

“Self-regulated learning (SRL) refers to a process of managing one’s thoughts, actions, and environment during learning or pursuit of goals.” SRL processes include goal-setting, planning, monitoring, and reflecting on one’s learning. Substantial research supports a positive relationship between these SRL processes, student achievement, and academic skills. Furthermore, SRL theorists have also posited that SRL is a context- and task-specific phenomenon. In other words, SRL can be influenced by contextual factors (e.g., quality of instruction and teacher support) and students’ perceptions of those contexts.

Measuring Levels of Self-Regulated Learning  

Three hundred and sixty-three middle school students participated in this study. Students completed self-report inventories and scales to measure perceived use of regulatory strategies, self-efficacy beliefs to engage in SRL, perception of teacher support, and feelings of connection with the school. Based on the results, researchers identified five cluster groups/profiles varying across two dimensions (i.e., SRL and perceived contextual supports) in the math classroom. Researchers then examined whether these profiles (i.e., High SRL- High Support, Solid SRL- Low Support, Low SRL- Supported, Very Low SRL- Low Support) differentially predict class engagement (i.e., measured by teacher rating scales) and math achievement (i.e., measured by report cards and standardized test scores). Students who do not feel supported or connected to school contexts and who demonstrate weak SRL skills (i.e., strategic & motivational) exhibited low levels of SRL in the classroom and were more likely to exhibit poor academic performance as reflected on standardized tests. On the other hand, students who reported frequent use of SRL skills, regardless of their level of perceived teacher support, exhibited stronger mathematics grades than those who did not frequently use SRL strategies.

Regardless of the level of support or connections that students felt in school, the groups who reported engaging more frequently in strategic and motivated behaviors for work outside of school were more likely to display adaptive SRL within the classroom, based on teacher reports.

Predictors of Student Behaviour and Academic Performance  

Research on the whole suggests that perceptions of the learning environment affect learners’ school-based functioning, but identifies SRL skills and motivational beliefs as stronger predictors of student behavior and academic performance.To best support learners who struggle in school, practitioners must understand the factors that most directly influence achievement while also recognizing that many of these factors concurrently operate and intersect within individuals in particular contexts. 

Given that SRL is a malleable, context-specific phenomena, efforts should be made to identify students exhibiting less adaptive function across both SRL skills and perceived contextual support and then provide relevant support targeting both dimensions  for these students. This is particularly important in an online learning environment, which necessitates a higher level of student responsibility and may increase the likelihood that students feel socially isolated and disconnected from teachers and others.

Notable Quote: 

“When viewed collectively, research suggests that students’ perceptions of learning contexts and teacher support are important when assessing students’ school‐based functioning, but that SRL and specific motivational beliefs may play a larger role in student behavior and academic performance.”

Personal Takeaway

Self-directed learning involves motivational, strategic, and contextual factors which uniquely and interactively influence learner achievement and engagement. An understanding of these dynamic influences and student profiles will help practitioners recognize the most at-risk students and, in turn, provide relevant supports targeting SRL skills and perceived contextual support to enhance engagement and achievement.

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Ashley Parnell

Summarized Article:

Cleary, T. J., Slemp, J., & Pawlo, E. R. (2021). Linking student self‐regulated learning profiles to achievement and engagement in mathematics. Psychology in the Schools, 58(3), 443-457.

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A meta-analysis of factors which impact student motivation.

What factors have the greatest impact on motivation?

Students’ need for competence and teachers’ autonomy support for students has the greatest impact on student motivation. Other factors like quality feedback also impact student motivation, supporting Hattie‘s claim that teachers are at the forefront of student achievement.

The most influential factors on student motivation  

The authors thoroughly identified studies which matched strict criteria and designed a coding spreadsheet to find correlation between factors, identifying how each factor impacted student motivation. This allowed them to identify 144 studies with over 79,000 students ranging from primary to university age. The study also examined the impact of teacher and parent autonomy support as aspects that impact motivation. The need for competence and autonomy support from teachers were found to be the most influential factors on student motivation. The authors also highlight other aspects within schools such as low pressure and quality feedback as correlating aspects influencing student motivation. The study also supports Hattie‘s claim that teachers are essential in student achievement.

Autonomy support vs reward and punishment  

The study emphasized that teachers ought to be allowed to practice autonomy-support methods rather than use rewards or punishment. Yet these methods are also effective even when they are applied in a non-high-pressure environment where testing or result-driven pay is not prevalent.

Notable Quote: 

“Results show that teacher autonomy support predicts students’ need satisfaction and self-determined motivation more strongly than parental autonomy support. Specifically, they show that regardless of age, school level, nationality, or gender, autonomy support predicts autonomous types of motivation, thereby providing support for existing interventions designed to increase student need satisfaction and motivation through autonomy-supportive practices. These results concur with Hattie’s (2009) meta-analysis of 800+ student achievement predictors showing that teachers are at the forefront of learning experiences for students and are likely to have the strongest influence on student motivation.”

Personal Takeaway:

It resonated with me because I believe teachers have a great influence on student motivation and achieving competence. Moreover, the correlation between teacher support and quality feedback is very interesting. I will aim to embed more autonomy support in my teaching and avoid rewards and punishment where possible because my setting would allow for such autonomy-support methods to be implemented. Furthermore, it aligns with the MARIO framework principle of developing student self-efficacy and self-directed learning using the MARIO approach in all that we do in the classroom.

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Frankie Garbutt

Summarized Article:

Bureau, J. S., Howard, J. L., Chong, J. X., & Guay, F. (2021). Pathways to student motivation: A meta-analysis of antecedents of autonomous and controlled motivations. Review of Educational Research, 92(1), 46–72. https://doi.org/10.3102/00346543211042426

“Just like a young seed growing in a garden, thriving in your early years of teaching depends largely on who you plant yourself next to.”
https://marioframework.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/Rebecca.pngMy Golden Rule: Surround Yourself with Good People
Rebecca Lebel

I want to bring you back to your early years of teaching. I recently finished my second year of teaching and as you already know, those early years of teaching are all about strength, growth, adaptability, and resilience. It’s all about finding your niche. You realize that some things in your teaching tool kit that you thought would work really well actually need to be thrown in the garbage. I think we can all agree that the early years of teaching are overwhelming. There are a lot of things to learn and navigate through, but the golden rule for success is to surround yourself with good people. It is important to find the positive, supportive, and enthusiastic teachers around you and stick close by them. Just like a young seed growing in a garden, thriving in your early years of teaching depends largely on who you plant yourself next to. 

The colleagues and fellow educators around me have been the key to my growing from a little seedling into a blossoming flower. The advice and coaching I have received these past two years have been amazing, and I am incredibly grateful. It has helped positively shape me into the educator I am today. I am part of the student support services department at my school where I am surrounded by fellow special education teachers who are very passionate about the work they do and strive in supporting their students to be the best that they can be. They put their students at the center of their learning and practice a personalized approach to support their unique learners. 

It is through my fellow colleagues that I learned about the MARIO Framework and how to have successful one-to-one conferences with students incorporating the use of effective questioning. A goal during my first year of teaching was to learn more about how I could apply one-to-one work more meaningfully, and the MARIO Framework was the answer in helping me achieve that goal. The MARIO Framework highlights that we constantly adapt and grow together when the one-to-one approach to learning is applied meaningfully and purposefully. I knew this was an important framework to practice as our students consistently say that having one-to-one sessions with their teachers has the biggest impact on their learning. MARIO helps educators maximize the time they share with their students and helps students recognize and prioritize their individual learning goals. 

I expanded my knowledge of the MARIO Framework by taking the MARIO Educator Level 1 Certification course. The MARIO Educator Certification Course is structured in a way that fosters a strong sense of community and allows you to connect with other educators from all over the globe. It ultimately allows you to practice that golden rule, surround yourself with good people. The connections I have made with other educators within the course have been some of the most meaningful in my educational career. The coaching I have received from fellow educators within my school and within the MARIO Educator Certification course has served to positively impact my practices as an educator. The skills and knowledge I have gained from the good people I surrounded myself with are what helped me get through my early years of teaching. 

No matter how many years of teaching you have under your belt, I encourage you to go find those good people and plant your seeds close by them so you can continue to grow strong and blossom into an empowering educator. 

Written by: Rebecca Lebel

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Though transition coordinators are critical in improving post-high school outcomes for students with disabilities, little is known about their roles and many schools are falling short of their transition responsibilities.

Ambiguity Equals Frustration

There is much ambiguity around transition counselors’ roles within institutions, which leads to stakeholders being prone to frustration towards an inefficient system. Seven district-level transition coordinators working in public schools in Massachusetts were surveyed. They were asked to conceptualize their role and reflect upon the factors that shape their effectiveness. The responsibilities of transition coordinators varied, with some having much overlap between counseling and administrative roles. The commitment of key stakeholders–such as special educators, guidance counselors, and importantly, administrators–can be vital in helping improve outcomes of transition planning.

Clear Roles May Improve Student Outcomes

Clarity in roles and responsibilities among transition coordinators, alongside continuous support and communication with key stakeholders, may be beneficial in improving post-high school outcomes for students with disabilities. Further research and discussion must be facilitated to reach a consensus about such roles among transition coordinators.

Notable Quotes:

“A consistent mantra among transition coordinators was that secondary transition is a collaborative effort that involves everyone.”

“As one participant explained, ‘The philosophy of transition comes from everyone. It comes from general ed teachers. It comes from special ed teachers, guidance counselors, your coach, whoever. Like everyone has a role in transition.’”

Personal Take

As a neurodiverse individual who is currently exploring post-high school life, it would have been great if there was a transition coordinator at my school. However, I think this role is pretty western-centric.

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Emmy Thamakaison

Summarized Article:


Lillis, J. L., & Kutcher, E. L. (2021). Defining Themselves: Transition Coordinators’ Conceptions of Their Roles in Schools. Career Development and Transition for Exceptional Individuals, 21651434211010687.

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This study was conducted to highlight the experiences of caregivers in the transition from Early Intervention to Early Childhood Special Education.

Caregivers Excluded from School Transitions

Caregivers feel left out when a child transitions to school services, they don’t feel included in the process anymore. There is a lack of communication between schools and caregivers, once the children make the transition to full-time school. A meta-synthesis approach was used to integrate, compare, and synthesize existing studies on caregiver experiences. Limitations and gaps were found in the various studies analyzed, and the authors provided some suggestions on how to improve the transition process.

Improving Communication Channels

Suggestions included improving communication between caregivers and teachers, collaboration, and family involvement in all the stages of the transition. Future research is recommended on the role of fathers as caregivers.

Notable Quotes:

“Caregivers felt empowered when they were involved in the transition process and the decision making.”

“Caregivers emphasized the importance of clear and open communication throughout the transition process (i.e., before, during, and after the transition to ECSE) as well as the need for good communication between the EI and ECSE providers.” 

“Listening to caregivers’ needs and experiences, supporting their advocacy skills, and making concerted efforts to address issues would lead to improved transition practices and ultimately better outcomes for young children with disabilities and their family as a whole.”

Personal Take

This research did not apply to either my context or my teaching division, but since the main theme was communication between caregivers, therapists and school personnel, I agree with the findings that there is a need to develop this quality and therefore build trust with the families of students with special needs.

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Shekufeh Monadjem

Summarized Article:

Douglas, S.N., Meadan, H., and Schultheiss, H. (2021). A Meta-synthesis of Caregivers’ Experiences Transitioning from Early Intervention to Early Childhood Special Education. Early Childhood Education Journal (2022) 50:371–383.

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Key Takeaway
Geometry is an essential topic in mathematics, fundamental to young children’s mathematical learning and development. Results of the current study suggest that fostering self-regulation skills positively impacts the learning of early geometry skills. Accordingly, teachers should be prepared to effectively support and prioritize self-regulation skills within the context of geometric tasks and experiences.
https://marioframework.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/Screen-Shot-2022-04-29-at-1.18.05-PM.pngSelf-Regulation and Early Geometric Skills in Young Learners 
Ashley Parnell

Mathematics and Geometry in Early Childhood

“Early mathematical skills are important for young children as such skills establish a foundation for later mathematics learning and are predictive of later school success.”1,2 More specifically, “young children’s abilities to engage in geometric thought and spatial reasoning can support their overall mathematical and cognitive development”.3 Key aspects of geometry in the early grades include:  

  • Naming, comparing, and drawing geometric shapes
  • Describing characteristics of and establishing relationships between shapes
  • Composing, decomposing, and manipulating geometric figures

Self-Regulation and Geometry Skills

Self-regulation skills play a foundational role in learning and early mathematics. While a large body of research supports the relationship between self-regulation and mathematics, most of this research has focused on numbers and operations rather than geometry. 

Given the importance of geometry for young children, the present study investigated the relationship between early geometric skills and behavioral self-regulation skills. Participants included 202 children between the ages of 5 and 6. Trained undergraduate students administered direct measures of self-regulation and geometric skills scales to children. The mothers and teachers were asked to fill in the self-regulation skills scales on behalf of their children. The following aspects of self-regulation were measured:

  • Working memory (e.g., remembers the plans made or instructions given)
  • Inhibitory control (e.g., identify causes and consequences of others’ feelings; expresses feelings and thoughts)
  • Attention (e.g., follows rules even if they delay pleasure or conflict with his/her wishes. 

Findings from this study include:

  • “Teacher-reported self-regulation skills were positively correlated with geometric skills and behavioral self-regulation.”
  • “Higher behavioral and teacher-reported self-regulation skills of children were effective in determining the children who were in the higher geometric skills group.”
  • “A weak association among mother-reported self regulation skills, age and income with geometric skills and behavioral self-regulation skills.”
  • A significant relationship existed between age and self-regulation, but not between income levels.

Implications for practitioners include:

  • Teachers should know how to effectively support and incorporate self-regulation skills in the context of geometry experiences in early childhood settings (e.g., representing shapes through different media, drawing and constructing structures with blocks).
  • “Policy makers should prioritize and facilitate the implementation of self-regulation intervention programs and early mathematics curriculum with a strong emphasis on geometry tasks in early childhood classrooms.”

Summarized Article:

İvrendi, A., Erol, A., & Atan, A. (2021). Children’s geometric skills: Any ties to self-regulation skills?. The Journal of Educational Research, 1-10.

Summary by: Ashley M. Parnell — Ashley strives to apply the MARIO Framework to build evidence-based learning environments that support student engagement, empowerment, and passion, and is working with a team of educators to grow and share this framework with other educators.

Additional References:

  1. Ivrendi, A. (2016). Investigating kindergarteners number sense and self-regulation score in relation to their mathematics and Turkish scores in middle school. Mathematics Education Research Journal, 28(3), 405–420. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13394-016-0172-4
  2. National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) & the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM). (2010).Early childhood mathematics: Promoting good beginnings. [Online] Retrieved September 23, 2013, from http://www.naeyc.org/files/naeyc/file/positions/psmath.pdf
  3. Clements, D. H., Sarama, J., Swaminathan, S., Weber, D., & Trawick-Smith, J. (2018). Teaching and learning geometry: Early foundations. Quadrante, 27(2), 7-31.