Teaching Self-Regulatory Skills in the Classroom: A 3-Step Approach (2023)

June 15, 2021

affirmative action people


Picture this: it's hot outside, you're stuck in traffic, and the air conditioning isn't as powerful as it should be. And just as you're finally about to turn, someone cuts... you... off.

It doesn't stop there: you arrive at the store, excited to buy supplies for that life skills class you've been dying to teach all week, and someone robs (again) the parking lot you've had your eye on.

how do you react

Do you get angry, yell or confront the other driver? Or do you count to ten, take a deep breath and let go?

Your response to these situations depends on your ability to control your emotions and behavior.

Kindergarten teachers can also testify that children experience similar frustrating situations during childhood.

However, they still cannot control their emotions and actions.

This is where educators come in. With their help, students can learn self-management techniques to control their behavior.

“I am very grateful for these classes. They fill a need that so many children today lack in the educational process” – Linda Davis, 2nd Grade Teacher

(Video) 5 Incredibly Fun GAMES to Teach Self-Regulation (Self-Control) | Social Emotional Learning

What is self-regulation in the classroom?

Self-regulated learning (SRL) occurs when a student takes responsibility for their own academic success by managing their resources such as time, energy, thinking and actions.

To beprocesstakes place in three steps:

  1. planning-The student:

  2. monitoring—In this phase, the student executes his plans and closely monitors his performance and experience with the methods of his choice.

  3. Consideration— Finally, after completing the task, the student reviews his performance: "Where was I really good and what could I have done better?"

As students implement self-regulation skills, they will learn their favorite skillslearning styleand finally, they perform at a higher level.

As a student progresses through the grades beyond high school, self-regulation also helps them:

  • Behaving in a socially acceptable manner because self-regulation strengthens your ability to control your impulsive actions

  • Build healthy friendships by taking turns playing games, sharing toys, and expressing emotions appropriately.

  • Become more independent by making good decisions about your behavior in unfamiliar situations with less adult supervision

  • Coping with stress by believing they have what it takes to handle strong feelings and even calm down after an angry outburst

Well, as a teacher, you could do just fine. They cover the program at a reasonable pace and try to listen to their students, but their behavior still suggests they are struggling to self-regulate.

Like this?

  • Maybe they don't pay attention.

    (Video) Teaching Strategies we are Using Inside the Classroom

  • You may not be able to follow the instructions.

  • They may have trouble remembering what they just heard

So let's explore some of the ways you can improve self-regulation in the classroom.

What are self-regulation strategies?

As with any skill, self-regulation strategies need to be taught explicitly. This means that children:

  1. Look to a positive role model(I do)

  2. practice with help(We do)

  3. Finally apply yourself(They do)

I do

In the yes learning phase, the teacher becomes a model of self-regulated behavior.

That doesn't make them perfect, because even teachers sometimes find it difficult to regulate themselves.

It means a model that strives to be self-regulated and open to show students what the real journey is like.

And one of the most important ways to teach self-regulation in the classroom is to share your feelings.

There are times when you feel irritable or depressed. By sharing these experiences with your students, they can learn to identify and name their feelings.

Think aloud so students can see the mental process you are going through.

Emphasize that even though you may feel like yelling or hitting someone, you have other options, and your students can too.

For example:

"I'm frustrated because the bell rang and our class ended before I could finish my lesson plan.

So first, recognize that it's okay to be frustrated.

After doing that, I decided to split my future lesson plans to reserve a full hour for questions after we covered our current topic.”

(Video) What is Classroom Management?

After this hands-on demonstration, find and read books with characters who are successful at self-regulation and who are not.

Remember to include positive, non-conformist examples as they are valuable.

Go deeper and talk about what happens when characters or people don't self-regulate, then share some consequences like:

  • get into trouble

  • break something valuable

  • lose friends

  • I just feel terrible

Finally, conclude this segment by singing this encouraging song called "Improve Myself" for students to refer to constantly.

We do

The We Do learning phase involves practicing self-regulation skills along with your students.

Act out scenarios, read stories, watch video clips or have them create their own specific scenario.

The trick now is to stop at the scenario's trouble spot and then practice a self-regulation strategy like mindfulness:

deep breath

Inhale deeply through your nose (count to five) and exhale through your mouth (count to five or more).

Alternatively, use a breathing strategy called "balloon breathing" to teach students how their abdomen is like a balloon that expands and deflates as they breathe deeply.

This simple technique can help them calm down when they are angry and help them focus again.

focus exercises

Start exercises that require repetitive actions, such as finding objects of a specific color and counting something.

Ask your students to use guided imagery to imagine a place they have been before and where they feel very relaxed. Let them know that if they are angry or upset they can close their eyes and "go for it".

corporal conscience

Teach students to pay attention to what their bodies are saying and suggest a positive coping mechanism. For example:

  • Are you feeling restless? They might be tired and need to stretch away from their desks.

    (Video) Metacognition: The Skill That Promotes Advanced Learning

  • hectic? They might be disappointed about something, so journaling can help them identify the cause and then engage in positive self-talk.

  • A knot in the stomach? They may be preoccupied with answering questions in class, so reassure them that every answer they give counts as a win.

In short, teach him to pay attention to his body's feelings, and then help him figure out what those things mean to him.

They do

At this point, your student is ready to implement their self-regulation skills on their own. Ideally, they can recognize when to calm down and regulate their behavior.

Of course, as a teacher you may need to step in to help them identify these moments, but here are some tools that can help students self-regulate:

calming kit

A calming kit can help students regulate intense emotions. But first practice extensively by working together on the "We do" phase so they don't just become toys.

positive internal dialogue

Collect synonyms for our core emotions: sad, angry, happy, and scared to inspire students to develop a more subtle ability to name their own emotions.

Go ahead and give them empowering “mantras” like “I did it” or “I can do this”. And add that song that encourages them to do their best.

Finally, remember that developing self-regulation takes time, so be patient. You are already doing an amazing job equipping your students with skills for lifelong success.

"By second grade, I picked fights with anyone who tried to challenge me. By fourth grade, I turned my life around. I didn't feel threatened. I felt safe. I made new friends and didn't want to argue. I realized that I'm great at science, math and, of course, physical education. It's much more fun to be in class than in the office.” - Jason.

How do you encourage self-regulation in the classroom?

The best way to teach self-regulation strategies depends very much on the classroom teacher's ability to create an optimal teaching environment.

And here is ourHolistic model of school reformIn between.

By addressing the entire school ecosystem - school, family and community -The Positive Action curriculumcontains topics that encourage positive behavior.

Say goodbye to poor self-regulation and hello to student-directed self-regulation.

“Positive Action Makes Positive Changes in the Lives of Jackson-Madison County Youth! We attribute this success to the model program that Ação Positiva offers, together with the professionals who implement it.”-Barry Cooper, director of prevention at JACOA.

Schedule a webinar with us and we'll walk you through our curriculum and show you how it can help you achieve your specific goals as an institution.


(Video) The 5-4-3-2-1 Method: A Grounding Exercise to Manage Anxiety


1. Teaching Strategies - Gaining Children's Attention
(CECE Early Childhood Videos at Eastern CT State U.)
2. Teaching Methods for Inspiring the Students of the Future | Joe Ruhl | TEDxLafayette
(TEDx Talks)
3. Self-Regulated Learning
(Lori Edwards)
4. The first 20 hours -- how to learn anything | Josh Kaufman | TEDxCSU
(TEDx Talks)
5. Classroom Management
(Teachings in Education)
6. How To Discipline a Teenager That Won't Listen
(Nicholeen Peck - Teaching Self Government)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Errol Quitzon

Last Updated: 26/04/2023

Views: 6044

Rating: 4.9 / 5 (79 voted)

Reviews: 94% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Errol Quitzon

Birthday: 1993-04-02

Address: 70604 Haley Lane, Port Weldonside, TN 99233-0942

Phone: +9665282866296

Job: Product Retail Agent

Hobby: Computer programming, Horseback riding, Hooping, Dance, Ice skating, Backpacking, Rafting

Introduction: My name is Errol Quitzon, I am a fair, cute, fancy, clean, attractive, sparkling, kind person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.