Scientific developments in a number of fields point to a similar argument –how well students do in school can be determined by how well they are able to self-regulate. Some theorists believe that self-regulation should now be considered a more important benchmark of educational performance than IQ.
So what is self-regulation and what does it look like for your child in the classroom?
- When feeling calm, focused and alert and having the skill to know that one is calm and alert; understanding how a relaxed internal state goes hand in hand with our external state. Having this optimal state allows students to view the task at hand through their higher brain function, allowing them to work at a task to the best of their ability
- When one is stressed, having the expertise to understand what is causing that stress; to be able to advocate for themselves and take any actions needed to support their health and well-being to be able to move forward to learn in the best way possible.
- The ability to recognize stressors both within and outside the classroom and how they affect their academic performance and well-being both externally and internally; having the environment to be able to take the appropriate measures to support themselves to deal with the stressors and to be respected as being the best advocates for themselves.
- Understanding how stressors take them out of the area of the brain that supports learning and consequently puts students in a survival state. Acknowledging that when children are in their survival brain it needs to be respected and until they are feeling safe (in their view) learning will not be a priority.
- Having the desire to deal with those stressors. To have the desire you need to have tools so you don’t keep repeating the cycle of being overwhelmed and helplessness. Knowing you will be respected, listened to and given what you need through educational empowerment to move forward in a healthy way.
- The education of strategies for dealing with those stressors is key. Without knowledge of how we are naturally wired and strategies to deal with self-regulation through stressors there is no growth in self-regulation and it turns inward building up negatively affecting a person’s future health and well-being.
The better we understand the complex biological and experiential interactions involved in self-regulations, the better we can design classroom/home practices that will enhance a student’s self-regulation and mitigate the cascading effects of initial challenges.
So compelling is this vision that one might go so far as to argue that if IQ was the major psychological construct of the 20th century, in the 21st century it will be self-regulation; for unlike IQ, this new lens gives us hope that by providing children with tools to promote their self-regulation, we can significantly alter their educational –and life trajectories.
Come walk with me,