Self-regulation and communication skills in children with moderate learning difficulties

Lamb, Susannah J. (2002) Self-regulation and communication skills in children with moderate learning difficulties. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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Self-regulation is increasingly considered to play an important part in several aspects of learning. It has also been claimed to be a strong candidate in explaining many of the difficulties faced by children with learning difficulties. Difficulties in monitoring one's own comprehension and controlling one's own cognitive processes, for example, is likely to affect progress on many school tasks. At the same time, the language and communication difficulties frequently faced by children with learning difficulties can also be explained by reference to poor self-regulatory skills.

This thesis explores the link between self-regulation, communication and learning for a group of children with moderate learning difficulties (MLDs). It reports the design and evaluation of an intervention study which sought to promote MLD children's use of self-regulatory strategies within a communicative context. The study was motivated by the Vygotskian proposal that collaborative interactions provide the opportunity for metacognitive skills to be modelled, shared and practised on the social plane before being internalised to become part of the child's own repertoire of self-regulatory behaviours.

Preliminary analysis of the children's communication strategies indicated general improvements. However, on a separate measure of communicative performance, only half the children were observed to make gains. In attempting to explain this apparent dissociation between communicative process and communicative performance, the thesis raises some important questions about the kind of methodology which is used to measure individual contributions during collaborative interactions. By providing an alternative approach, microgenetic in nature, which concentrates on looking at the appropriateness of children's performance within the context in which it is taking place, an explanation for the seemingly discrepant results is proposed. Generalised gains in communicative performance can be explained by changes in particular types of strategic behaviours, specifically strategies associated with effective information provision and strategies which serve to regulate the interaction.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Wood, David
Keywords: self-regulation, communication skills, moderate learning difficulties, MLDs, children with learning difficulties, cognition, metacognition
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Science > School of Psychology
Item ID: 11258
Depositing User: EP, Services
Date Deposited: 30 Apr 2010 13:26
Last Modified: 14 Oct 2017 09:18

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