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Sharon Wolf

Kenji Kitamura, Dana Charles McCoy, Sharon Wolf.

Children's approaches to learning (AtL) are widely recognized as a critical predictor of educational outcomes, especially in early childhood. Nevertheless, there remains a dearth of understanding regarding the dimensionality of AtL, the reciprocal dynamics between AtL and learning outcomes, and how AtL operates in non-Western contexts. This paper aims to extend the existing AtL literature by both conceptually and empirically investigating the dimensionality of the AtL scale of the International Development and Early Learning Assessment (IDELA) – a globally used measure of early childhood development – based on data from Ghanaian children newly enrolled in formal schooling. Additionally, our research explores reciprocal relationships between AtL subconstructs and academic skills over time. Our analysis identifies two dimensions within the IDELA AtL scale: Self-Regulation (SR) and Motivation. We found that children with higher levels of SR early in schooling demonstrated better literacy and numeracy skills in later grades compared to their peers with low early SR, whereas children's motivation did not predict subsequent literacy and numeracy skills. This study enhances understanding of AtL in non-Western contexts, with implications for culturally appropriate support for children’s engagement in learning.

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