Defense Date


Graduation Date

Summer 1-1-2017


Immediate Access

Submission Type


Degree Name



Educational Studies (General Education)


School of Education

Committee Chair

Amy Olson

Committee Member

Anne Marie FitzGerald

Committee Member

Julia Williams


community college; early childhood education; goal setting; metacognitive awareness; reflective practices; scaffolding


This research set out to enhance instruction for early education and child development majors in a community college setting in a manner that allows them to gain content knowledge while becoming more prepared to practice effective pedagogy in early learning classrooms. This study examined how metacognitive awareness changes throughout a semester with scaffolded goal setting and reflective practices. It investigated the types of goals students set for a specific learning task, as well as investigated their ability to apply reflective practice to their own learning and teaching practices. This research used a mixed method design to data collection with quantitative data from rubrics and an inventory and qualitative data from instructor journaling. Quantitative results indicated that students improved in some elements of goal setting and all assessed elements of reflective practice, along with improvements in metacognitive awareness. Qualitative findings also indicated that students improved in metacognitive awareness and goal setting as a formal practice even though there was evidence of struggle in regard to the unfamiliarity of the goal setting practice itself and defining a time frame to achieve their goals. The goal setting and reflective practices within the course were helpful to the instructor. Each provided an opportunity for the instructor to support student learning and effectively use strategies to support achievement of the students in the course and in the early childhood field.