Metacognition and Learning

, Volume 13, Issue 2, pp 127–157 | Cite as

Teachers’ direct and indirect promotion of self-regulated learning in primary and secondary school mathematics classes – insights from video-based classroom observations and teacher interviews

  • Charlotte DignathEmail author
  • Gerhard Büttner


Self-regulated learning has a positive effect on academic outcomes; however, little is known about whether and how teachers at various education levels promote it in their classes. Video-based classroom observations were conducted to assess primary and secondary school mathematics teachers’ direct and indirect promotion of self-regulated learning (SRL). Teachers’ implicit and explicit instruction of SRL strategies (direct promotion of SRL) and the learning environment they created (indirect promotion of SRL) were rated according to how conducive they were to self-regulation. In addition, semi-structured interviews were conducted with the secondary school teachers to gain insight into their subjective views on SRL. Although the teachers’ instructional practices could foster SRL, teachers spent little time explicitly teaching SRL strategies. Moreover, they taught mainly cognitive strategies and very few metacognitive strategies. These results were more pronounced at the primary level than at the secondary level. Primary school teachers provided learning environments conducive to self-regulation more often than secondary school teachers did. The interviews revealed that the teachers lacked knowledge about metacognition as an important component of SRL and were rather reluctant to promote it; however, most of them valued cognitive and motivational components of SRL. Primary and secondary school teachers need training to enhance their direct and indirect instruction of SRL. They could benefit in particular from learning about explicit instruction of SRL strategies and metacognition.


Self-regulated learning Metacognition Teacher Observation Interview Strategy instruction Learning environment 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


  1. Alvi, E., & Gillies, R. M. (2015). Social interactions that support students’ self-regulated learning: a case study of one teacher's experiences. International Journal of Educational Research, 72, 14–25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Artelt, C., Baumert, J., & McElvany, N. (2003). Selbstreguliertes Lernen: Motivation und Strategien in den Ländern der Bundesrepublik Deutschland. In PISA 2000—Ein differenzierter Blick auf die Länder der Bundesrepublik Deutschland (pp. 131-164). VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, Wiesbaden.Google Scholar
  3. Biemiller, A., Shany, M., Inglis, A., & Meichenbaum, D. (1998). Factors influencing children’s acquisition and demonstration of self-regulation on academic tasks. In D. H. Schunk & B. J. Zimmerman (Eds.), Self-regulated learning. From teaching to self-reflective practice (pp. 203–224). New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
  4. Boe, E. E., Shin, S., & Cook, L. H. (2007). Does teacher preparation matter for beginning teachers in either special or general education? The Journal of Special Education, 41(3), 158–170.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Boekaerts, M. (1999). Self-regulated learning: where we are today. International Journal of Educational Research, 31, 445–457.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Boekaerts, M. (2002). Bringing about change in the classroom: Strengths and weaknesses of the selfregulated learning approach—EARLI Presidential Address, 2001. Learning and Instruction, 12(6), 589–604.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Boekaerts, M., & Cascallar, E. (2006). How far we moved toward the integration of theory and practice in self-regulation? Educational Psychology Review, 18, 199–210.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bolhuis, S., & Voeten, M. J. (2001). Toward self-directed learning in secondary schools: what do teachers do? Teaching and Teacher Education, 17(7), 837–855.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bronson, M. B. (2000). Supporting self-regulation in primary school children. In M. B. Bronson (Ed.), Self-regulation in early childhood (pp. 221–242). New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
  10. Brown, A., Campione, J. C., & Day, J. D. (1981). Learning to learn: on training students to learn from texts. Educational Researcher, 10(2), 14–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Butler, D. L., Schnellert, L., & Cartier, S. C. (2013). Layers of self-and co-regulation: Teachers’ co-regulating learning and practice to foster students’ self-regulated learning through reading. Education Research International, 2013, 1–19.Google Scholar
  12. Cartier, S. C., Butler, D. L., & Bouchard, N. (2010). Teachers working together to foster self-regulated learning through reading by students in an elementary school located in a disadvantaged area. Psychological Test and Assessment Modeling, 52(4), 382–418.Google Scholar
  13. Clausen, M., Reusser, K., & Klieme, E. (2003). Unterrichtsqualität auf der Basis hoch-inferenter Unterrichtsbeurteilungen. Ein Vergleich zwischen Deutschland und der deutschsprachigen Schweiz. Unterrichtswissenschaft, 31(2), 122–141.Google Scholar
  14. Cohen, J. (1960). A coefficient of agreement for nominal scales. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 20, 37–46.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Corno, L. (1986). The metacognitive control components of self-regulated learning. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 11(4), 333–346.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. De Corte, E., Verschaffel, L., & Op’t Eynde, P. O. (2000). Self-regulation: A characteristic and a goal of mathematics education. In M. Boekaerts, P. R. Pintrich, & M. Zeidner (Eds.), Handbook of self-regulation (pp. 687–726). San Diego: Academic Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. De Corte, E., Verschaffel, L., & Masui, C. (2004). The CLIA-model: a framework for designing powerful learning environments for thinking and problem solving. European Journal of Psychology of Education, 19(4), 365–384.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. De Smul, M., Van Keer, H., Heirweg, S. & Devos, G. (2017). Exploring diversity in teachers’ implementation of self-regulated learning in primary schools: A mixed-method study. Paper presented at the EARLI conference, August 2017, Tampere, Finland.Google Scholar
  19. Den Brok, P., Brekelmans, M., & Wubbels, T. (2006). Multilevel issues in research using students’ perceptions of learning environments: the case of the questionnaire on teacher interaction. Learning Environments Research, 9, 199–213.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Desoete, A., Roeyers, H., & De Clercq, A. (2003). Can offline metacognition enhance mathematical problem solving?. Journal of Educational Psychology, 95(1), 188.Google Scholar
  21. Dignath, C., & Büttner, G. (2008). Components of fostering self-regulated learning among students. A meta-analysis on intervention studies at primary and secondary school level. Metacognition and Learning, 3(3), 231–264.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Dignath- van Ewijk, C., Dickhäuser, O., & Büttner, G. (2013). Assessing how teachers enhance self-regulated learning: a multiperspective approach. Journal of Cognitive Education and Psychology, 12(3), 338–358.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Dignath, C., Buettner, G. & Langfeldt, H.P. (2008). How can primary school students learn self-regulated learning strategies most effectively? A meta-analysis on self-regulation training programmes. Educational Research Review. (in press). Google Scholar
  24. Dignath-van Ewijk, C. (2016). Which components of teacher competence determine whether teachers enhance self-regulated learning? Predicting teachers’ self-reported promotion of self-regulated learning by means of teacher beliefs, knowledge, and self-efficacy. Frontline Learning Research.Google Scholar
  25. Dignath-van Ewijk, C., & Van der Werf, G. (2012). What teachers think about self-regulated learning: An investigation of teacher beliefs about enhancing students' self-regulation and how they predict teacher behavior. Education Research International, 2012, 1–10. Scholar
  26. EU Council (2002) Council resolution of 27 June 2002 on lifelong learning. Official Journal of the European Communities. July 9, 2002. Google Scholar
  27. Fraser, B. J. (1998). Classroom environment instruments: development, validity and applications. Learning Environment Research, 1, 7–33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Gijbels, D., Van De Watering, G., Dochy, F., & Van Den Bossche, P. (2006). New learning environments and constructivism: The students’ perspective. Instructional Science, 34(3), 213-226.Google Scholar
  29. Greeno, J. G., Collins, A. M., & Resnick, L. B. (1996). Cognition and learning. In D. Berliner & R. Calfee (Eds.), Handbook of educationalpsychology (pp. 15–46). New York: Macmil.Google Scholar
  30. Hamman, D., Berthelot, J., Saia, J., & Crowley, E. (2000). Teachers' coaching of learning and its relation to Students' strategic learning. Journal of Educational Psychology, 92(2), 342–348.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Harris, K. R., & Alexander, P. A. (1998). Integrated, constructivist education: Challenge and reality. Educational Psychology Review, 10(2), 115–127.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Hattie, J. (2013). Visible learning: A synthesis of over 800 meta-analyses relating to achievement. Routledge.Google Scholar
  33. Hattie, J. A., Biggs, J., & Purdie, N. (1996). Effects of learning skills interventions on student learning: a meta-analysis. Review of Educational Research, 66(2), 99–136.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Hedges, L. V., & Olkin, I. (1985). Statistical methods for meta-analysis. San Diego: Academic.Google Scholar
  35. Kistner, S., Rakoczy, K., Otto, B., Dignath-van Ewijk, C., Büttner, G., & Klieme, E. (2010). Promotion of selfregulated learning in classrooms: Investigating frequency, quality, and consequences for student performance. Metacognition and Learning, 5(2), 157–171.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Kline, F. M., Deshler, D. D., & Schumaker, J. B. (1992). Implementing learning strategy instruction in class settings: a research perspective. In M. Pressley, K. R. Harris, & J. T. Guthrie (Eds.), Promoting academic competence and literacy in school (pp. 361–406). San Diego: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  37. Lombaerts, K., De Backer, F., Engels, N., van Braak, J., & Athanasou, J. (2009). Development of the self-regulated learning teacher belief scale. European Journal of Psychology of Education, 24, 79–96.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Loyens, S. M., Rikers, R. M., & Schmidt, H. G. (2007). Students’ conceptions of distinct constructivist assumptions. European Journal of Psychology of Education, 22(2), 179–199.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Mayer, R. E., & Wittrock, M. C. (1996). Problem-solving transfer. In D. C. Berliner & R. C. Calfee (Eds.), Handbook of educational psychology (pp. 47–62). London: Prentice Hall International.Google Scholar
  40. McKenna, R., Rushe, T., & Woodcock, K. A. (2017). Informing the structure of executive function in children: A meta-analysis of functional neuroimaging data. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 11, 154.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Moely, B. E., Hart, S. S., Leal, L., Santulli, K. A., Rao, N., Terry, J., & Burney Hamilton, L. (1992). The Teacher’s role in facilitating memory and study strategy development in the elementary school classroom. Child Development, 63, 653–672.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Panadero, E. (2017). A review of self-regulated learning: six models and four directions for research. Frontiers in Psychology, 8, 422.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Paris, S. G., & Newman, R. S. (1990). Developmental aspects of self-regulated learning. Educational Psychologist, 25(1), 87–102.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Paris, S. G., & Paris, A. H. (2001). Classroom applications of research on self-regulated learning. Educational Psychologist, 36(2), 89–101.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Patrick, P., & Middleton, M. J. (2002). Turning the kaleidoscope: what we see when self-regulated learning is viewed with a qualitative lens. Educational Psychologist, 37(1), 27–39.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Perry, N. E. (2002). Introduction: using qualitative methods to enrich understandings of self-regulated learning. Educational Psychologist, 37(1), 1–3.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Perry, N. E., VandeKamp, K. O., Mercer, L. K., & Nordby, C. J. (2002). Investigating teacher-student interactions that foster self-regulated learning. Educational Psychologist, 37(1), 5–15.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Perry, N. E., Phillips, L., & Dowler, J. (2004). Examing features of tasks and their potential to promote self-regulated learning. Teachers College Record, 106(9), 1854–1878.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Perry, N. E., Hutchinson, L., & Thauberger, C. (2008). Talking about teaching self-regulated learning: scaffolding student teachers’ development and use of practices that promote self-regulated learning. International Journal of Educational Research, 47(2), 97–108.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Pintrich, P. R. (2000). The role of goal orientation in self-regulated learning. In M. Boekaerts, P. R. Pintrich, & M. Zeidner (Eds.), Handbook of self-regulation. San Diego: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  51. Ponitz, C. E. C., McClelland, M. M., Jewkes, A. M., Connor, C. M., Farris, C. L., & Morrison, F. J. (2008). Touch your toes! Developing a direct measure of behavioral regulation in early childhood. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 23, 141–158.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Pressley, M., Harris, K. R., & Marks, M. B. (1992). But good strategy instructors are constructivists! Educational Psychology Review, 4(1), 3–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Randi, J., & Corno, L. (2000). Teacher innovations in self-regulated learning. In M. Boekaerts, P. R. Pintrich, & M. Zeidner (Eds.), Handbook of self-regulation. San Diego: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  54. Schober, B., & Ziegler, A. (2001). Das Münchner Motivationstraining (MMT): Theoretischer Hintergrund, Förderziele und exemplarische Umsetzung. Zeitschrift für Pädagogische Psychologie/German Journal of Educational Psychology.Google Scholar
  55. Schunk, D. H., & Zimmerman, B. J. (1994). Self-regulation of learning and performance: Issues and educational applications. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.Google Scholar
  56. Schunk, D. H., & Zimmerman, B. J. (1998). Self-regulated learning. From teaching to self-reflective practice. New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
  57. Seidel, T. (2006). The role of student characteristics in studying micro teaching-learning environments. Learning Environments Research, 9, 253–271.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Shrout, P. E., & Fleiss, J. L. (1979). Intraclass correlations: Uses in assessing rater reliability. Psychological Bulletin, 86, 420–428.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Simon, P. (2006). Including omission mistakes in the calculation of Cohen’s kappa and an analysis of the coefficient’s paradox features. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 66(5), 765–777.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Slavin, R. E. (1996). Research on cooperative learning and achievement: What we know, what we need to know. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 21(1), 43–69.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Spruce, R., & Bol, L. (2014). Teacher beliefs, knowledge, and practice of self-regulated learning. Metacognition and Learning, 1–33.Google Scholar
  62. Tenenbaum, G., Naidu, S., Jegede, O., & Austin, J. (2001). Constructivist pedagogy in conventional oncampus and distance learning practice: An exploratory investigation. Learning and Instruction, 11(2), 87–111.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Van der Stel, M., & Veenman, M. V. (2014). Metacognitive skills and intellectual ability of young adolescents: A longitudinal study from a developmental perspective. European Journal of Psychology of Education, 29(1), 117-137.Google Scholar
  64. Vandevelde, S., Vandenbussche, L., & Van Keer, H. (2012). Stimulating self-regulated learning in primary education: Encouraging versus hampering factors for teachers. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 69, 1562–1571.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Veenman, M. V. J. (2011). Alternative assessment of strategy use with self-report instruments: a discussion. Metacognition and Learning, 6(2), 205–211.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Veenman, M. V. J. (2013). Assessing metacognitive skills in computerized learning environments. In R. Azevedo & V. A. Aleven (Eds.), International handbook of metacognition and learning technologies (Vol. 28, pp. 157–168). Amsterdam: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Veenman, M. V. J., Van Hout-Wolters, B. H. A. M., & Afflerbach, P. (2006). Metacognition and learning: conceptual and methodological considerations. Metacognition and Learning, 1, 3–14.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Waeytens, K., Lens, W., & Vandenberghe, R. (2002). "Learning to learn": teachers' conceptions of their supporting role. Learning and Instruction, 12(3), 305–322.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Whitebread, D. (1999). Interactions between children’s metacognitive abilities, working memory capacity, strategies and performance during problem-solving. European Journal of Psychology of Education, 14(4), 489–507.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Whitebread, D. (2000). Interpretations of independent learning in the early years. International Journal of Early Years Education, 8(3), 243–252.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Whitebread, D., & Coltman, P. (2010). Aspects of pedagogy supporting metacognition and self-regulation in mathematical learning of young children: evidence from an observational study. ZDM, 42(2), 163–178.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Whitebread, D., Coltman, P., Pasternak, D. P., Sangster, C., Grau, V., Bingham, S., et al. (2009). The development of two observational tools for assessing metacognition and self-regulated learning in young children. Metacognition and Learning, 4(1), 63–85.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Winne, P. H. (2005). A perspective on state-of-the-art research on self-regulated learning. Instructional Science, 33, 559–565.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Zelazo, P. D., & Carlson, S. M. (2012). Hot and cool executive function in childhood and adolescence: Development and plasticity. Child Development Perspectives, 6(4), 354–360.Google Scholar
  75. Zimmerman, B. J. (1998). Developing self-fulfilling cycles of academic regulation: An analysis of exemplary instructional models. In D. H. Schunk & B. J. Zimmerman (Eds.), Self-regulated learning: From teaching to self-reflective practice (pp. 1–19). New York, NY, US: Guilford Publications.Google Scholar
  76. Zimmerman, B. J. (2000). Attaining self-regulation: A social cognitive perspective. In M. Boekaerts, P. R. Pintrich, & M. Zeidner (Eds.), Handbook of self-regulation (pp. 13–39). San Diego: Academic Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Zimmerman, B. J., & Bandura, A. (1994). Impact of self-regulatory influences on writing course attainment. American Educational Research Journal, 31(4), 845–862.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Zohar, A., & Barzilai, S. (2013). A review of research on metacognition in science education: current and future directions. Studies in Science Education, 49, 121–169.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Zohar, A., Degani, A., & Vaaknin, E. (2001). Teachers’ beliefs about low-achieving students and higher order thinking. Teaching and Teacher Education, 17, 469–485.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Goethe-University FrankfurtFrankfurt am MainGermany

Personalised recommendations