self-regulated learning skills in a primary science
Rosemary Hipkins and Chris Joyce
Science investigations about rolling (Years 1, 2, and
scoping study showed that a small group of Year 3 students
were not self-regulating when carrying out a complex
science investigation independently.
planned with the classroom teacher four lessons that
supported the students to take responsibility for their
investigations. A focus was on thinking about what their
investigations could tell them about their science questions.
explored the ways in which the environment created by
the teacher supported students to develop observable,
fledgling skills of self-regulation.
Introduction to context
Free exploration of phenomena involving both rolling
and friction, with whole class pre and post discussion.
Fair testing skills
Teacher modelling, POE, use of paired ramps to
check impact of external friction on rolling objects.
More complex ideas and structured investigation
Introduction of ideas of friction inside rolling
Paired variable cards used for planning.
Concept cartoons used as concept prompts.
Children carry out own investigation rolling cans
of soup and cat food.
and self-regulated learning
and Kitsantas' model was used to demonstrate that the
students' actions could be described in terms of
four stages in their development of self-regulatory skills:
(copying the teacher, or other students, or support
(supported use of strategies)
(independent choice to use strategies to answer
students could not be described as totally self-regulating,
they did consistently demonstrate emerging SRL behaviours.
of self-regulation observed
discussing and emulating a role model’s actions.
and discussing their ideas.
to others’ ideas.
aware of purpose of investigation.
appropriate strategies to investigate their own
that supported the development of self-regulation
We found instances
of emergent SRL behaviour when the teacher provided
a structure for students to learn and practise these
behaviours. Actions that supported students were:
learning focus clear, and referring back to this
thinking out loud
introducing and modelling the use of appropriate
prompts, for example, cards to select which set
of variables would be fair
management of variables, for example, by providing
cognitive engagement by presenting alternative possibilities,
using such strategies as concept cartoons.
that did not support the development of self-regulation
was a barrier, as it is still an activity that takes
concentration. Students demonstrated much more reflective
thinking during discussion.
sheets were just ticked without thought. However,
when asked the questions orally, students could
reflect and comment on the strategies they had used.
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