Effects of Self-Regulated Learning on Mathematics Achievement of Selected Southeast Asian Children

By Camahalan, Faye Marsha G. | Journal of Instructional Psychology, September 2006 | Go to article overview
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Effects of Self-Regulated Learning on Mathematics Achievement of Selected Southeast Asian Children


Camahalan, Faye Marsha G., Journal of Instructional Psychology


This research was based on the conceptual framework that students' low mathematics achievement in school is related to their poor study habits. Thus, the intervention titled Mathematics Self-Regulated Learning Program aimed to help selected children from Southeast Asia (the Philippines) improve their Mathematics achievement, Mathematics self-regulated learning, and Mathematics school grade. This research focused on the following difference scores: 1) Mathematics achievement, Mathematics self-regulated learning, and Mathematics school grade between experimental and control groups (N = 60); and 2) Mathematics achievement, Mathematics self-regulated learning, and Mathematics school grade between younger and older groups (N = 60). The main result supports self-regulated learning theory which states that when students are given opportunities to self-regulate and explicitly taught of self-regulated learning strategies, academic achievement is more likely to be positively affected. The study confirms that students as active agents of their behaviors can be trained to be responsible learners and thus acquire the goal of life-long education which is learning not just what to learn but more importantly how to learn.

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Why do some people approach learning tasks eagerly while others avoid them or work half-heartedly? Why do some seek and enjoy learning, while others are afraid to learn?

Educators and parents long have been plagued by the problem of students' low achievement in school. Many have had the frustrating experience of watching a child undermine his or her chances for a good performance simply by not trying. A student who performs poorly as a consequence of not studying or not completing assignments is usually perceived by his teachers as a hopeless case.

Many students who encounter achievement problems in school frequently warrant the concerned scrutiny of teachers and parents alike. They are victims of pre-judgment that they can do no better.

The researcher in her three years of teaching in the elementary grades encountered colleagues and parents who have lost hope in teaching children who were branded as "lazy"; "just don't like to try"; and "take for granted studyi3ng." This experience served as a challenge to the researcher. She likes to contend that children can be taught of self-regulated learning skills and thus improve their performance in school.

Teachers have the responsibility to teach students not just what to learn but more importantly how to learn. Teaching students of self-regulated learning strategies is reflective of the life-long goal of education which is teaching students the will as well as the skill in learning (Pintrich & de Groot, 1990). As the old aphorism would say "... teach a man how to fish and you have fed him for life."

This study helped students realize that it is possible for them to generate and direct their own learning experiences rather than act in response to external controls. That they are self-initiators who can exercise personal choice and control of the methods needed to attain the learning goals they have set for themselves. That they function as origins of their own behavior rather than pawns controlled by outside forces (de Charms, 1987). In this way, their fullest potential will be developed.

Teachers can use self-regulated learning strategies on their students and therefore change the traditional perception of teachers that some students just cannot learn what they teach. The researcher hopes that the teachers will internalize within themselves that students come to school to learn and should be taught how to learn. The teacher should contribute to the development of student's positive self-image, rather than to the establishment of a self-defeating behavior.

Research indicated that students' low achievement in school is related to their poor study habits. Figure 1 illustrates that training the students to be self-regulated learners through the Self-Regulated Learning Program (SRLP) will help them improve their Mathematics achievement and study habits.

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