Lessons Learned in Creating a Self-Regulation Classroom

The hard truth: There is no manual.

A central element of self-regulation is that it is the person’s responsibility to self-regulate.

Regulation imposed by someone telling you how to behave/feel is compliance, as is regulation by following a set of rules that can’t possibly take account of all possible circumstances.  Others can provide insight, guidance, and help, but only the person can do work of regulation.

This is as true for classroom or a school as it is for an individual.  No two classrooms in a school are the same, the personalities and needs of the class’s students and teachers are unique.  No two schools, even neighbouring ones in the same community, are the alike.  For a school or class to truly have a culture based on self-regulation, it must figure out what works in its specific circumstances.

There is no text book, no manual, no infallible expert to follow.  Intelligent, careful, and caring trial and error by the people directly involved is the only way to find what works.

This flexible approach will often come into conflict with the sort of traditional hierarchical “right/wrong answer”, strict policy, zero-tolerance culture that is still practiced in many schools and by many educators.  There is a natural desire to exercise control over others.  This is a major obstacle to be overcome.  Much like teachers and parents need to loosen their control over children for them learn to self-regulate, administrators and governments need to loosen control over the way schools and classrooms function.

Trying to foster self-regulation in students within a “command and control” culture based on rewards and punishments is a wasted effort of just going through the motions.



10 Self-Reg Lessons Learned – self-reg.ca