Self-Regulation in Children Annotated Bibliography

Pages: 7 (2689 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 7  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Children

Evans and Rosenbaum (2008). Self-Regulation and the Achievement Ga

One of the prime assumptions regarding the achievement gap between children has been focused on the economics of the individual family. Parents who have greater disposable income typically spend more on enriched toys, books, and other learning opportunities. In addition, they are typically in a position to afford extra-curricular activities (music lessons, sports, museum and nature trips, language lessons, etc.). However, Evans and Rosenbaum discovered that it is a combination of the parental time and monetary investment with a number of self-regulatory behaviors manifested by children in their emotions and behavior. Children who are in economically deprived environments have two major issues that actually damage their prefrontal cortex, the brain area linked to self-regulatory behavior. First, they are almost constantly in a stressed environment (chronic stress); and second, their exposure to negative physical and social conditions rapidly diminishes most self-regulation that any structured environment imparts (512).

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The results of this study, for educators and sociologically, are staggering. Not only do educators, as well as society, need to be concerned with trying to mitigate the lack of intellectual stimulation from parents or care givers of poorer children, they now must be concerned with uncontrollable socio-economic influences. In a vicious cycle, "the most important contribution of this article is empirical evidence that self-regulatory ability also contributes to the achievement gap" (512). Deficiencies in their early environment leads to lack of cognitive and self-regulatory behavior, which leads to poor performance in school both academically and behaviorally. This is confirmed in additional research with varying degrees of seriousness. For instance, Howse, et.al. (2003) found that this type of behavior was not only cognitively negative, but also a viable predictor of success within the first few years of school. Without the impetus and means to overcome these deficiencies, they are repeated over and over as these children become parents who have children that experience the same cyclic deprivation.

Annotated Bibliography on Self-Regulation in Children Assignment

Blair, C. (2002). School Readiness -- Integrating Cognition and Emotion

When children first enroll in Kindergarten, it is often quite apparent that they are not on equal cognitive nor social functioning levels. Some children have been in day care of varying efficacy since they were babies; for others, this is the first step into a larger social environment; and some have had the good fortune of attending a highly enriched environment like Montessori. This inequality is most noticeable in the manner in which these young children are able to problem solve in both qualitative and quantitative situations. The level of their self-regulation, for instance, is tied directly to their level of cognitive development, and therefore to their readiness for a formal learning environment. However, the 21st century School is quite different than that of even a few decades prior, and the expectations of those who will graduate Secondary School in the 2016-2025 are quite high. For this reason, Blair's research points to a more robust neurobiological model within the context of school readiness, and encourages parents and educators to work the model in reverse to ensure that their child is prepared for school.

Blair shares a constructivist approach to the problem of self-regulation with Buckner, et.al. (2009). Another approach to these issues might be in allowing more constructivism into the mix as a potential for change and intervention. This may be argued because these students, growing up socially disadvantaged, could indeed perform at high levels given the chance (Howse, et.al.). The idea that cognition and social function are inexorably linked is part of an overall newer understanding of the brain/mind connection. As cognitive function develops a cycle of neurochemicals is produced that, in turn, cause other developments in emotional need, judgment of appropriateness, and ability to develop cognition-emotion relations within a social environment (Blair, 116). Acceptance of Blair's hypothesis may have grand implications if used to pre-test children for school readiness, or to judge if they are emotionally and cognitively ready to move into the primary grades.

Friedman, et.al. (2007). "Greater Attention Problems During Childhood Predict…"

For some time researchers have known that both nutritional and psychological issues in early childhood have an effect on later development, cognition, and socialization skills. Attention problems such as inattentiveness, disorganization, impulsive behavior, and even hyperactivity are the subject of this study, which finds that lower performance at an early age and intercession in terms of self-regulation can affect the teen up to 17 and even into adulthood. Attention problems, however, are often misdiagnosed and become a broad "catch-all" tem that describes so many behavioral issues that individual diagnosis gets lost. Previous research, however, as well as data from this study, indicates that most of the problems stem from issues of improper executive function development (EF) at an early age. This study used 866 individual twins and a longitudinal method, so the predictive factor is quite robust.

Learning is a life-long adventure in the philosophy of discovery. To maximize learning, one cannot underestimate two things: learning opportunities and the environment surrounding the learning activity. Learning opportunities must be interesting, meaningful, and purposeful for learners -- particularly children. At the very crux of the ideas surrounding the philosophy of education, however, there are two views: 1) children should be able to actualize regardless of their economic structure, and; 2) humans require a strict hierarchy of learning, which then leads to a similar hierarchy within their cognitive functionality (Evans and Rosenbaum). With this in mind, Friedman, et.al. (2007) seem to point to a rather serious disconnect between theory and practice in America's schools. In their research, each child that scored low in EF and other defined behavior issues in late adolescence had EF issues as a child. In fact, as the child aged, if significant intervention was not available, the EF problems multiplied, becoming almost debilitating in some cases. In fact, if by age 10, certainly age 12, there has not been significant intervention, this research points to those individuals never really being able to harness some of their behavioral issues. As the authors point out, it is important that teachers and school psychologists understand that early intervention can prevent a blossoming of these issues. Without that intervention, late adolescent and early adult ADHD, anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorders are not uncommon.

Howse, R., et.al. (2003). "Motivation and Self-Regulation as Predictors of Achievement…"

Confirming previous research, it appears that at-risk children have poorer adaptive behavioral skills than children of middle and upper-middle class families. Child and teacher reported motivational levels were comparable between the two populations, but the at-risk children were far less able to self-regulate, and thus consistently unable to perform at level in academic and behavioral testing. What is not apparent to the authors of this study is why, after decades of research shows these trends to be true, coupled with increased attention to test scores by 4th grade, has significant intervention not taken place.

What is not clear, however, is the relationship between motivational levels and poor performance. Previous research concentrated on children's expected report-card grades, showing that children's grade expectations were "unrealistically high and unrelated to school success. Moreover, inflated grade expectations persisted even after a year of repeated report-card feedback about actual school performance" (152). A very important part of the classroom, particularly for younger children, is the focus on allowing children learn to care for themselves, each other, and their surrounding environment. This increases their own self-esteem, sense of the world and their place in it, and their ability to self-regulate and establish motivational boundaries. Over the years, researchers have noticed that children who are grounded in these behaviors tend to have a strong concentration and attention to detail, as well as a drive toward community-service (Bower, 2006). However, for Howse, et.al. this connection is missing, clearly indicating that grade reports are not an accurate indicator of motivational control, thus the locus must be elsewhere. Howse, et.al. In fact, found that motivation is of limited value with young children if it is not combined with persistent and robust behavioral regulation. If this modification is pursued, it appears that the evidence shows that children can recover somewhat from both their slower abilities at self-regulation and their performance -- regardless of economic status. This guides us again to postulate that early intervention at the school level cannot be overestimated -- in fact it is critical to level the playing field and establish a less problematic oriented adult population.

Buckner, Mezzacappa and Beardslee. (2003). "Characteristics of resilient youths living in poverty."

This study focused on an examination of resiliency with a focus on self-regulation in low-income families. As previously notes, children from these families have a greater tendency for behavioral and emotional problems, likely based on the number of adverse experiences that they endure as part of their socio-economic structure. In their home environments, they are more likely to be exposed to less than stable adult behaviors: domestic violence, parental substance abuse and mental health problems, and certainly an inability for consistent parenting. The idea of resiliency remains debatable within the… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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