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The Academic Implications of Supporting Self-Regulated Learning Development in the Classroom

Context through Modeling and Scaffolding.

Aloysius C. Anyichie * & Deborah L. Butler, University of British Columbia, Vancouver.


The main purpose of this research was to investigate the impact of modeling and scaffolding of self-

regulated learning (SRL) strategies on academic success in the Nigerian classroom. Specifically, this study

determined the effect of SRL strategy Instruction on secondary school students problem-solving in

mathematics when compared with the control group that were not given the same instruction. Four intact

classes (2 that were comprised of boys; 2 that were comprised of girls) from four schools participated in

this study. Two classes were chosen as the experimental group (one with boys; one with girls). These

students were instructed in how to use SRL strategies in their regular classroom for eight weeks across

thirteen sessions of forty minutes each. The strategy focused on self-instruction, self- questioning and self-

monitoring aspects of SRL. The study utilized the non-randomized control group pre-test, post-test

experimental design. The effects of modeling and scaffolding on achievement were evaluated using a word

problem Mathematics Achievement Test. Data was analyzed using a two-way Analysis of Co-variance

(ANCOVA). Major findings suggested that there was a significant main effect of modeling and scaffolding

of the self-regulated learning strategies on the students problem-solving in mathematics.

Key words: Self-regulated learning; Modelling; Scaffolding; Academic success

*Aloysius C. Anyichie
Anyichie, A. C., & Butler, D. L. (2015, June). The academic implications of supporting the development of self-regulated
learning through modelling and scaffolding. In Canadian Association of Educational Psychologists (CAEP)
Symposium, Understanding and supporting Self-regulated learning. Presented during the annual meeting of
Canadian Society for the Study of Education, Ottawa, ON.

Educators have been concerned about how to improve students engagement in problem-solving

tasks and their academic success (Bell, & Pape, 2014). Research has shown that Self-regulated learning

(SRL) is very important to students academic achievement, problem- solving success, performance and

motivation (Zumbrunn, Tadlock, & Roberts, 2011; Zimmerman, 2008; Schunk & Zimmerman, 2007).

SRL is described as an independent form of learning that involves students awareness of thinking, use

of strategies, and situated motivation (Zimmerman, 1990, Paris & Winograd, 1990, 2001; Winne &

Perry, 2000). Self-regulating learners have been described as strategic learners who define the

requirements of a task, implement strategies, and monitor outcomes based on the strategy used (Butler &

Winne, 1995; Perry, & Rahim, 2011). They are successful academically because they are proactive,

motivated, and strategic.

Most research on SRL has been done in North American and European cultures that are considered

individualistic, rather than in other cultures that are considered collectivist, such as African, and especially

Nigerian cultures. There has been little research to investigate whether strategies for fostering SRL shown

to be effective elsewhere might work to foster the development of SRL in the Nigerian classroom context.

Thus, this study investigated the effect of modeling and scaffolding of SRL strategies on Nigerian students

academic achievement in problem-solving tasks. This study asks the question: what are the effects of this

modeling and scaffolding on students academic achievement in problem-solving tasks?

Theoretical framework/ Perspective

Theoretically, this study is based on Vygotskys (1978) view that internalization and development

of higher psychological processes occur through social interaction, and on Banduras (1986) socio-

cognitive theory that also emphasizes how learning occurs within a social context. Drawing from these

theories, researchers (e.g., Zimmerman, 2008, 2013; Pintrich, 2000; Winne, 2004) have developed cyclical

models of SRL that have continued to represent the relational interaction among cognition, behavior, and

environment (Butler, 2014).

Research in North American and European contexts suggests that SRL strategies can be modeled

in the classroom context and that learners greatly benefit from such instruction (Zeidner, Boekaerts, &

Pintrich, 2000; Perry, Hutchinson, & Thauberger, 2008). Further, this modeling is most effective when

integrated into a realistic setting (Lin, 2001; Weistein & Meyer, 1994), particularly, when teachers embed

the strategies in their regular classroom teaching (Schneider, 2008). Although students' development of

SRL has been studied in relation to different kinds of social supports, such as modeling and scaffolding

(Hadwin, Jarvela, & Miller, 2011), more research is needed within the regular classroom contexts,

particularly in different cultural settings. Based on the social cognitive model of SRL, this study attempted

to look at the development of students SRL during regular classroom teaching through modeling and

scaffolding of SRL strategies in the Nigerian classroom.

Participants: The study was conducted with senior secondary students (with a mean age of 16

years) from four intact classrooms from Nigerian secondary boarding schools. Classes were randomly

selected and assigned to experimental and control conditions. There were 25 boys and 35 girls in the

experimental group who were involved in the modeling and scaffolding of SRL strategies conducted by

their classroom teachers, while 40 boys and 31 girls in the control did not receive any SRL instruction.

Design: This study employed a quasi-experimental, pretest-posttest design that involved assigning

two intact class groups to experimental or control conditions.

SRL-Instruction: Experimental classes were exposed to SRL strategies based on Montague s

(2003) cognitive strategy instructional intervention model for eight weeks with thirteen sessions of forty

minutes each. The strategies focused on the self-instruction, self-questioning and self-monitoring aspects

of SRL.

Measures: Data was collected to trace teaching practices in relation to student outcomes. First,

direct observations in classrooms (following Perry, & VandeKamp, 2000) were used to monitor

teachers implementation of the strategy instruction as planned. Second, to check for the effects of the
SRL instruction on students' math achievement, we used a standardized Mathematics Achievement Test

(MAT) that consisted of 20 word problems covering four units of the students second term curriculum.

A MAT was administered both before (pretest) and after (posttest) instruction. The two versions were

almost the same with the major difference in the re-arrangement of the questions.


The results showed overall that the experimental group had a higher gain score than the control

group. Specifically, a significant main effect of SRL strategy on the mean gain score in mathematical

word problem was observed (F (1, 126) = 28.97, p < .001). Further, inspection of the means indicated

that students who were taught the SRL strategies performed better on the Mathematics assessment (M=

13.22, SD =11.11) than did those without the SRL instruction (M = 4.97, SD = 14.24).

A significant interaction effect was also observed (F (1,126) = 4.30, p<.04). Inspection of the

interactive plot revealed that males instructed with SRL strategies performed better (M=16.6, SD =

12.63) than did females instructed with the same SRL strategies (M= 10.8, SD = 9.34) from pretest to

posttest. Female students in both the experimental and control conditions performed better than did male

peers on the pretest. Further, females in the control condition continued to perform better than male

peers on the posttest (showing no differential gain for males in the condition that did not receive SRL

instruction). In contrast, males in the experimental condition gained more from instruction and slightly

performed better than did their female peers on the


From this study, we conclude that the students who received instruction in SRL strategies through

modeling and scaffolding performed significantly better than the control group who did not receive SRL

instruction (Anyichie & Onyedike, 2012); and, this shows that SRL can also be developed among diverse

learners from collectivist cultures like Nigeria. The interaction effect between gender and SRL strategy is

in line with previous research indicating that boys are more inclined to use cognitive strategies than girls

(Carr, 1997). However, there are contradictory findings on gender differences, indicating that more

research needs to be done in this area.

Educational importance of the study

The findings from this research advance theory about how to support the development of SRL

through modeling and scaffolding of SRL strategies such as, self-instruction, self-questioning and self-

monitoring; and, also contribute to practice by revealing approaches teachers can adapt to foster SRL in

a classroom context. Overall, this research will inform the development of adaptive approaches to

effective teaching in schools in ways that take into account cultural differences and advance the success

of diverse learners.

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