There are many benefits to developing self-management skills in children, especially in inclusive classroom environments; individuals with effective self-management skills who work as part of a larger team can improve not only their own overall performance but also that of the group as a whole—inside and outside of the school setting. Teaching students self-management strategies can free teacher time to focus on other essential tasks, which is especially important when working in a classroom environment with children with a variety of learning strengths and needs. Moreover, such strategies can be used to increase students’ opportunities to practice and respond to knowledge and academic skills in the curriculum, as well as support their behavioral needs. Although there are many benefits to developing self-management skills, students with and at risk of disabilities often need explicit instruction to learn about and implement specific strategies to help develop these skills. Fortunately, teaching just a small set of strategies can have wide-ranging benefits and help students regulate many behaviors; additionally, research results suggest that people with a variety of learning strengths and needs can learn to implement and benefit from being taught self-management strategies. Therefore, it seems worthwhile to focus on such skills. Despite these encouraging benefits, however, there are still several areas within self-management research that need to be further explored and discussed. For instance, identifying the appropriate level of teacher involvement in teaching these strategies, determining the potential differential effects of various self-management strategies on the behaviors of students embodying different characteristics, and the potential structural variability and the impact on student outcomes all require further investigation. Given these unresolved questions in the field, it is unclear as to how such variables impact students’ mastery and generalization of self-management strategies. This is especially important since it has been argued that self-management is the most significant goal of education; individuals who can effectively self-manage contribute to society in impactful and meaningful ways.
Lisa A. Rafferty and Kristie Asaro-Saddler
Self-regulation is a complex, multifaceted concept that can be described as a higher mental process oriented toward children’s (and adults’) metacognitive, motivational, and behaviorally active participation in their own learning. It includes cognitive, behavioral, social, and emotional development. It is related to several other higher mental processes, notably executive function, and the two are sometimes confused and even conflated. They are, however, not interchangeable, and it is vital to clarify both what self-regulation is and what it is not. Failure to do so may lead to confusion at practice and policy levels, and ineffective or inappropriate practice, potentially disadvantageous to young children. Self-regulation may be significant in all aspects of development, particularly in early childhood, and efforts to enhance children’s self-regulation may be among the most effective educational interventions. Interest is reflected in developments in the field of assessment, including by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, and in government policy in, inter alia, England. Play, particularly pretense, problem-solving, and talk (both private speech and dialogue) are advocated as rich, naturalistic contexts for the development, support, and meaningful assessment of young children’s self-regulation. Some specific approaches to assessment are identified, notably observation and stimulated recall, in the form of reflective dialogues, including the use of video. Decontextualized assessment is suggested as a potentially less effective approach in capturing the full depth and range of young children’s self-regulatory competence.
Danielle S. McNamara and Laura K. Allen
Writing is a crucial means of communicating with others and thus vital to success and survival in modern society. Writing processes rely on virtually all aspects of cognition (e.g., working memory, motivation, affect, self-regulation, prior knowledge, problem solving) and are naturally embedded in social contexts. Social factors include writers’ objectives, audience, genre, and mode of writing. For example, the increased use of the Internet has rendered writing for informal purposes more frequent, and writing mechanics (e.g., deleting, spell checking) and search for information more efficient. Research on educational interventions to improve writing points to the importance of providing students with instruction and practice using writing strategies, writing practice with feedback (e.g., instructor, automated), and collaborative writing (including peer feedback). Given the inherent complexity of writing, it is important to help students learn how to write across various situations with varying purposes and demands. This necessitates reading many types of text genres (e.g., narrative vs. informational writing), writing frequently, and revising based on feedback. Since the turn of the century, there has been a substantial increase in research on writing processes, including methods to improve writing. However, there remains a substantial need for additional experimental work to understand writing processes as well as more evidence on which types of interventions are most beneficial in helping students to improve their writing. Feedback from both cognitive and sociocultural researchers should inform future revisions of the standardized guidelines and assessments with the long-term goal of developing a clearly defined set of standards for academic excellence in writing.