Skip to main content

Self-Regulation for Students, Self-Regulation for Me

I attended I really great session today on self-regulation. It was part of a series of centrally-organized vice principal leadership sessions. This has been the best session to date!

The workshop was premised on the work and research of York University's Dr. Stuart Shanker, who provides one of the most practical and understandable definitions of self-regulations, at least that I have read:

"Self-regulation is the ability to manage stress. It refers to the neural processes that control the energy expended to deal with a stressor and then recover. When an individual's stress levels are too high various systems for thinking and metabolic recovery are compromised. The signs of dysregulation can show up in the behaviour, mood attention and/or physical well-being of child, teen, or adult."

Having self-control or responding to situations in an appropriate manner were part of what I previously understood self-regulation to be about. Clearly it goes beyond a sense of control. Self-regulation requires self-awareness and knowing which stresses are triggers that cause a heightened reaction. Shanker developed 5 steps for self-regulation:
1. reframe
2. recognize the stressors
3. reduce the stress
4. reflect
5. respond
I think that in my role I've done this with kids, perhaps not in this order and not so intentional so as to name these steps but I think there is value to structuring conversations with kids more along these lines. Often, I told teachers that they should be naming the various teaching strategies they are using with students so that students can make connections and apply that strategy in other learning situations. It makes sense to teach kids more explicitly how they can self-regulate. Let's face it - this can work for adults too. I've already posted the handout with these steps in my office as a daily reminder of how I can keep my various stresses in check.

Often times I wonder if one of the main stresses that kids feel at school is a lack of control, so their behaviour will at times reflect that. How much choice, really, do kids have in a classroom on a daily basis? Do kids feel that their voice is being heard, that their opinions matter?

One key learning I took away from today's session is learning to discern between misbehaviour and stress behaviour. A child "misbehaves" when he or she has the capacity to know how to behave differently and typically will respond to consequence. In the case of stress behaviour, a child has lost the ability to process because the stress is so great, as is the reaction. If we can't tell the difference between the two we impact the likelihood of repeat behaviour. If we punish stress behaviour, trigger levels escalate and behaviour worsens. Makes sense to me.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Leading During a Pandemic

 Never thought I'd EVER type a title like that.  Pandemics were only events I had taught about during my History classes. The experience thus far can only be described as surreal. It's been a part of our reality for nearly 10 months now and the fear and uncertainty is still not lost on me with the reporting of daily infection and death rates. It has been my single greatest challenge as a leader to date to show up to work everyday imbuing optimism that we're going to be ok, that school is a safe place to be. I have to say that on 98% of those days, I have believed just that. We have be so very fortunate not to have experienced any positive diagnoses of COVID-19 so far. Implementing the new health and safety protocols, while tedious and laborious, has not been all that  difficult. Sure, the work up front was a lot - signage, taping arrows and cues on the walls and floors, rearranging classroom furniture to establish social distancing in the classrooms ... as the Principal, th

I Am a Catholic Principal!

Yesterday was National School Principal Day and this lovely nod from CPCO showed up on my Twitter feed! Prior to its release, I had to complete a questionnaire and what is featured on this image is the answer to a question that asked about what I thought was greatest accomplishment over the past year. I thought I would share all of the responses to the other questions that were asked. Is there a personal experience/incident that led you to choose this vocation? Please describe. I never planned for a career in Administration because I loved teaching too much. In ongoing discussion with a Superintendent-mentor, I began to realize how much more I could help students who really needed it. I also began to realize the potential that existed to influence change at both the local and systemic level in terms of supporting a variety of student needs through various initiatives. What do you love the most about being a Catholic school leader? What I have come to truly appreciate and love

Catholic Education Week 2020

Tomorrow marks the beginning of Catholic Education Week. It is truly a gift to be able to work in a publicly-funded Catholic school, where we can be free to express our faith so freely and unapologetically. It's a bit sad that we are presently in quarantine and cannot gather in community to celebrate this wonderful gift but my staff and I decided to capitalize on the marvel that is social media to stay connected to our students. We wanted to inspire hope and encourage them from our homes, to theirs. I challenged my staff to select a favourite Scripture passage that they felt evokes a great sense of hope and each day on our school's Twitter feed, I feature a staff member with their quote. I also posted these photos into all of the Google Classrooms that the staff were running for  distance learning. In our special community, where relationships are so key to student success, we thought it was important for the kids to see our faces. We called our little project #motivatedbyfaith