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Helping Students Develop Self-Regulation

Self-regulation is a skill that takes a long time to learn and may take a lifetime, in truth, to really master. We can get better at it with practice, and our students’ social, emotional, and character development requires that we provide routine opportunities in classrooms and schools for them to work on this skill.

Developing self-regulation as a skill is for everyone, not just those who are experiencing difficulty in some area of their life. The concept here is one of continuous improvement. Self-regulation means identifying and taking steps to help one get better at things that are important for that person’s individual development. Everyone, at all ages, no matter their degree of accomplishment or shortcoming, can participate in an improvement process.

Setting a Goal

In helping students learn to self-regulate, consider following these five steps, which are to be repeated in an ongoing cycle for continued growth and improvement.

  1. Have students determine their goal—the aspect of self-regulation they’d like to improve. You can ask them to work on up to two out of the four areas below at any given point in time.
  2. Have them create a plan for how they will improve in that area in the short term.
  3. Ask students to review their goal and plan with a classmate who will act as their support partner and then get final approval from their support team—a small group that includes classmates and you.
  4. Students should periodically evaluate the plan against the goal they set and determine whether their plan needs adjustment. They should finalize this adjustment after review and approval by their support team.
  5. When students meet one goal, have them set another and create a new plan to share with the support team.

Four Areas for Self-Regulation Improvement

While improvement plans can be made in any area, I suggest focusing on study skills, social and emotional competency, physical health, or citizenship. See the full article in Edutopia for details on how to foster improvement in these four areas.

Excerpted from “Helping Students Develop Self-Regulation” by Maurice J. Elias, a professor in the Psychology Department at Rutgers University, and the director of the Rutgers Social-Emotional Learning Lab.

Source: Edutopia | Helping Students Develop Self-Regulation, | © 2019 George Lucas Educational Foundation