What is self-regulation and Why should educators focus on it?
“No one likes the feelings that come when we think that we are not in control. In this particular time in society, it often seems as if we are NOT in control” (Fowler-White, 2021, p. 104). The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) has identified two critical areas to the core of social and emotional skills. These two areas are self-regulation and self-awareness. Merriam-Webster defines self-regulation as the act or condition or an instance of regulating oneself or itself. Being able to self-regulate means you have control over one’s behavior and life. As educators, it is important that include time in our day to focus on helping students learn to regulate their emotions. When students are taught how to navigate their emotional compass, it helps to create a stable space for them to concentrate academically.
Mindfulness as a means to Self-Regulate
One method that has become popular as a means for promoting self-regulation in schools is mindfulness. Biologist, Jon Kabat-Zinn, defines mindfulness as the act of “paying attention on purpose” to the present moment, with a “non-judgmental attitude” (Davis, 2015). There are so many benefits to integrating self-regulation strategies such as mindfulness into classroom practices.
Here are just a few:
- Helps students learn to identify, explain, and control their emotions
- Facilitates their capacity for empathy and compassion.
- Permit heightened awareness, increases the ability to focus, and gives rise to insight
- Teaches students how to manage stress and anxiety.
As educators, it is important to include time in our day to focus on helping students learn to regulate their emotions. When students are taught how to navigate their emotional compass, it helps to create a stable space for them to concentrate academically. @DigitalPD4YouTweet
Does your classroom environment help students self-regulate?
- Does your classroom have a “calm down corner”? When students need a moment to gather their thoughts and adjust their emotions, a comfortable space is needed. Calm down corners are a great way to promote self-regulation in the classroom. To create these areas consider adding things such as pillows, a rug, and a basket of books. You could also have a clipboard with a reflection page, soft seating, and a lamp or soft lighting. Also, consider blocking this area off to create a private space for students to decompress.
- What materials have you included in the space to promote student reflection? Coloring pages, lego blocks, and stress balls are good items to begin with. You could also post mindfulness graphics/posters with countdown charts in the space as well. Lastly, if you add headphones students would be able to listen to classical music or a short meditation. Any of these would help students learn to calm themselves and self-regulate.
- Have you embedded self-regulation into your classroom routine? SEL check-ins are a great way to help students routinely pay attention to their emotional state throughout the day?
Improving Self-Regulation in your classroom
I recently read an article in Edutopia where author Sarah Kellet, offered strategies for creating mindful spaces in the classroom. To learn more about it, you can find the article here. You can also learn more about meeting students social and emotional needs in Educator Reflection Tips #66.
- Davis, L. When Mindfulness Meets the Classroom
- Waterford.org 51 Mindfulness Exercises for the Classroom