Research has shown that one of the main reasons that low-performing students don’t achieve to their fullest potential is that they often enter school with poor self-regulation skills.  Self-regulation is essential to academic success, and teachers need practical ideas for helping all of their students to self-regulate.  In an Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development article, “Away from Reprimands to Self-Regulation,” ASCD administrators adapt the suggestions from an ASCD member book, How to Create a Culture of Achievement.  Suggestions are based on recommendations from famed psychologist, Albert Bandura’s, theories about self-regulation.

Bandura’s recommendations can be grouped into the following three categories:

  • Invite students to reconsider their standards of behavior,
  • Monitor their behavior, and
  • Make changes along the way

Bandura emphasized that educators should make certain “that we do not ostracize, shame, or exclude students based on their behavior.”  He further urged educators to remember the concept of reciprocal determinism:  “to integrate the student as soon as possible after the situation has been addressed because we understand that the environment causes behavior and that behavior causes environment.”

He further recommended specific activities for educators:

  • Behavioral Charts – Although personal and not pubic, these are visual representations of undesired student behaviors.  Students keep track of the details associated with their inappropriate behaviors.
  • Environmental Planning – A caring adult helps the student to analyze the chart by pointing out possible ways to avoid repetition of the behavior, how to remove triggers, and development of coping mechanisms for certain stimuli.
  • Self-contracts – The student, assisted by a trusted adult, creates a written agreement with himself or herself that includes consequences and rewards based on the analysis of the behavioral chart.