Reimagining history in intercultural doctoral education: politics and history have everything to do with it (a symposium)

Year: 2017

Author: Manathunga, Catherine, Bunda, Tracey, Qi, Jing, Singh, Michael

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Though research has identified classroom-level features that impact positively on student success (Hamre & Pianta, 2005), only a few studies have explored how teachers' relationships with individual students are associated with their self-regulation in the early years (Cadima et al, 2016). This study explored associations between teacher structure, involvement, and autonomy support and children's social and cognitive regulation during the first year of compulsory education in Western Australia. It was hypothesised that all three dimensions of teacher behaviour would show positive associations with both aspects of self-regulation albeit differences in the strengths of these associations.

Twenty-one teachers (20 female) distributed in seven primary schools in Perth Metropolitan area reported on 174 students (88 female, mean age= 5,10). At the end of the first year of compulsory education, teachers reported on children's self-regulation and on their provision of structure, autonomy support, and involvement at student level. The Checklist of Independent Learning Development (Whitebread et al, 2009) was used to explore children's self-regulation in the classroom. Teachers were also asked to complete a selection of items of the Teacher as a Social Context Questionnaire (Wellborn et al, 1988) tapping on Structure, Involvement, and Autonomy Support.

Initial analysis indicated significant differences by gender in both social and cognitive regulation as well as teacher structure and autonomy support in favour of female students. Hence, a multigroups path analysis was conducted to investigate associations between teacher behaviours and student cognitive and social regulation for male and female students. The findings partially confirmed our hypothesis highlighting the importance of teacher structure in predicting both areas of regulation. While for social regulation, teacher structure was an equally strong predictor for male and female students, for cognitive regulation, the predictive power of teacher structure was significantly stronger for boys than for girls. Distinct paths for female and male students were also identified. For female students only, autonomy support was significantly and positively associated with cognitive regulation. In turn, for male students only, teacher involvement was significantly and positively associated with social regulation.

Our findings confirm the importance of teacher structuring of learning opportunities for children's cognitive regulation but they also signal that teacher structure is significant in predicting children's social regulation. Gender specific paths identified in this study raise important questions as to whether teacher behaviour is affected by role expectations (Mathews et al, 2014) leading to different gender-oriented practices in classrooms.