David Whitebread – What is self-regulation?

David Whitebread defines the meaning of self-regulation. This short illustrated interview explains what self-regulation is and where the term came from.

Good for looking at

  • Self-regulation
  • Vygotsky
  • Metacognition
  • Children’s learning
  • Scaffolding
  • Cognitive development
  • Emotional development

Transcript of  video – What is self-regulation?

How would you define self-regulation and its importance for learning?

Erm well, self-regulation was a term originally coined by Vygotsky, who talks about the transition for children from being, other regulated to being self-regulated. That comes within the context of him suggesting that, children always learn something first of all in a social context. So he’s very interested in the way that adults and other peers, interact with children, and to begin with provide what was later described as a scaffold for children or a model or some sort of social support structure, which enables children to undertake a task or complete doing something that they want to do but which they wouldn’t be able to do on their own.

Vygotsky’s very interested in the social process and the way in which what is originally a social process becomes internalised in the brain of the child. But more recent work on what is termed metacognition, has focused much more on what actually happens inside the mind or the brain of the child. And work in that area has defined metacognition as ones developing knowledge and understanding of ones own thinking. So it’s thinking about thinking really.

And that work has really made our understanding, of what Vygotsky meant by self-regulation at the individual level, much more clear and precise. Being self-regulated or being very cognitively controlled, turn out to be really, really important. Lots of evidence suggesting that this is probably the development in early childhood that significantly predicts a whole range of academic educational outcomes, but also general life outcomes, emotional well-being, ability to work in a group, ability to make friends, to develop as a well adjusted social being who can work with others and so on. And someone who can tackle complex intellectual tasks and be successful at them. And these basic self-regulatory skills, in particular the ability to control and maintain ones attention on a task, is very predictive of long term outcomes like that.