In this blog post I am going to write about the importance of self regulation. In my practice I teach the use of systematic self observation through the utilization of behavioral charts, academic monitoring journals (AMJ’s), and behavioral contracts. The student learns to regulate their study behaviors and achieve their academic goals though systematic self monitoring. Systematic self monitoring as a process encourages productive obsessive focusing and the AMJ in itself becomes the object of the obsessive focusing. Anxiety, depression, and self doubt is replaced with attention, focus, and heightened self esteem as daily goals are met and performance improves.
In many ways this therapeutic technique is the exact opposite of psychodynamic or humanistic therapeutic methodologies where the client is encouraged to free associate and say whatever comes to mind. Adolescents tend to brood and perseverate on their problems when allowed to freely associate in therapy. Treatment needs to be goal directed and solution focused.
The problem with students struggling in school is that they tend to slip further and further behind every day. If the problem is not addressed quickly, all hope can be quickly lost. To catch up and be on the right track, struggling student need to:
1) Catch up and learn what they missed.
2) Learn self regulation skills to ensure they won’t fall behind again.
3) Learn study skills and paper writing skills to ensure effort expended is not wasted.
4) Experience some success to break the negative, possibly depressed cycle they might be stuck in. In sum, the therapist needs to instill hope and help the student win some victories.
I am going to post an article below taken from a textbook on adolescence and education which speaks to the importance of self regulation in school. The conclusion of this excerpt is that, “there is seldom any instruction in methods of studying or other self-regulatory skills, and there is substantial evidence that many students fail to acquire these skills on their own.” This is where I come in as a professional. I can help your child not only learn self regulation skills but adopt a level of self regulation you might have not thought possible.
Read the entire article here
Achieving Self-Regulation: The Trial and Triumph of Adolescence
Barry J. Zimmerman, Graduate School and University Center, City University of New York
from Pajares, F., & Urdan, T. (Eds.) (2002). Adolescence and education, Vol. 2: Academic
School Organization and the Development of Self-Regulation
The organization of schools is predicated on developmental improvements in students' academic and personal self-regulation. Schools are organized to provide greater social assistance in the early grades and to reduce that support as students advance to higher grades. During the primary grades, teachers regulate student learning by setting explicit guidelines for classroom functioning. In these grades, students are not expected to engage in significant self-regulated learning experiences outside the classroom, such as homework or studying, but during later elementary school grades, teachers assign homework for completion outside of class. Many of these youngsters have difficulty completing these homework tasks and must turn to their parents for assistance (Hoover-Dempsey, Battiato, Walker, Reed, DeJong, & Jones, 2001). However, preadolescent students have developmental limitations in their acquisition, self-evaluation, and transfer of learning strategies (Pressley & Dennis-Rounds, 1980). Thus, although teachers and parents seek to develop elementary school students’ academic self-regulation via assigned homework, the transition from social to self-regulation is often unsuccessful.
Despite these limitations in self-regulatory development, students enter middle schools having more fluid classroom environments as well as increased expectations for personal responsibility than in elementary school. In the middle school, students are often taught academic subjects, such as mathematics or English, by different teachers and are expected to manage the multiple homework assignments on their own. To succeed in this more demanding academic setting, students must assume greater responsibility and display greater personal initiative. Wigfield, Eccles, and Pintrich (1996) have reported substantial increases in the difficulty and amount of assigned homework during the middle school years at a time when parental support declines. This can lead to significant self-esteem problems for students who have failed to become sufficiently self-regulatory to function on their own. In addition, many students confront negative academic influences among their peers, such as name-calling or social exclusion as a "geek" or "nerd," if they devote outside time to academic matters (Steinberg, Brown, & Dornbusch, 1996). However, students with a strong sense of self-regulatory efficacy can resist adverse academic influences of low achieving peers better than those with a weak sense of self-efficacy (Bandura, Barbaranelli, Caprara, & Pastorelli, 1996b). Self-efficacy is defined as perceived capability to learn or perform at designated levels of skill (Bandura, 1986).
During the high school years, adolescents experience further decreases in the structure of their academic environment as well as further increases in the amount and difficulty of homework. These students are taught subject matter by different teachers in different classrooms with different classmates and are expected to manage these diverse requirements personally. High school students are expected to complete not only teacher-assigned work but also to engage in self-initiated forms of studying, such as preparation for tests. Often these tests play a pivotal role in gaining access to further educational opportunities, such as placement in advanced classes and entrance into college. Frequently, out-of-school employment or extracurricular activities, such as music and sports, must be managed along with homework and studying (Steinberg, Brown, & Dornbusch, 1996). Students are expected to develop self-regulatory skills, such as goal setting, self-monitoring, and time management, as well as sources of motivation to self-initiate and sustain learning (Zimmerman, Greenberg, & Weinstein, 1994). Many students respond to these increasing demands for self-regulation by adopting effective learning strategies, but a significant number of students do not adopt them (Zimmerman & Martinez-Pons, 1986, 1988, 1990). Students need to self-monitor their academic progress and to seek out teachers and peers for help when it is needed (i.e., a help seeking strategy), but poorly regulated students are reluctant to ask for help, often fearing exposure to criticism or ridicule (Newman, 1994).
In summary, educators seek to instill greater academic self-regulation as students progress from childhood to adolescence by initially introducing many social and physical curricular supports in the classroom and by gradually withdrawing them as students are expected to develop self-regulatory skill. However, there is seldom any instruction in methods of studying or other self-regulatory skills, and there is substantial evidence that many students fail to acquire these skills on their own. Social learning researchers have begun to investigate how the transition to academic self-sufficiency can be facilitated by teaching or otherwise optimizing social and self- sources of regulation (Schunk & Zimmerman, 1997; Zimmerman, 2000). These researchers have identified hierarchical levels in learners' development of self-regulated functioning. These levels represent regulatory milestones in an optimal educational path, and they provide an explanation for students' success in not only academic subjects but also in other nonacademic areas, such as sports and music (Zimmerman, 1998; McPherson & Zimmerman, in press).