, Volume 28, Issue 3, pp 923-944

Temperament in the school context: a historical review

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The majority of studies on temperament in the educational context originate from the Anglo-Saxon culture, where there has been an increase in research in this field over the last four decades. The objective of this paper is to contribute towards systematizing of relevant findings that have been carried out in the educational context from the field of temperament over the last decades. This is a theoretical paper, where we present relevant findings obtained in the relationship between temperament and school performance, in both academic (academic skills and performance) and social areas (social–educational adjustment in the classroom). The contribution of temperament to the school performance is important, although differences can be seen in relation to the age of the children and the contents of the curriculum. In general terms, the dimensions of temperament that have more direct relationships with the academic outcomes are adaptability and attention persistence. Also worth noting is the role of negative emotionality which has a negative relationship with children’s performance. Its incidence is much greater, however, when accompanied by low abilities of self-regulation, given the important direct effect that effortful control has on both academic achievement and school social adjustment, even when this is evaluated by different informants. We must highlight the increasing evidence of the relationships that exist between the different components of self-regulation (attentional control, inhibitory control, activation control) and negative emotionality (fear, anger) when explaining behavioural problems in the classroom.