From Fictional Characters To Peers: Considering Self-Reg For Adults

From Fictional Characters To Peers: Considering Self-Reg For Adults

I’m an avid reader. I especially love to use time over the holidays to sit down and enjoy a good book. I will read almost anything, but my favourite genre is Mystery and Suspense. James Patterson is one of my favourite authors, and while I haven’t read all of his BookShots, I have read every other adult novel that he’s written. I share this because since I took Foundations 1, I can’t read any book without looking at it through a Self-Reg lens.

  • I think about the stressors of the characters.
  • I look at what calms characters down.
  • I note times that characters co-regulate each other.
  • I even ask, “Why?” and “Why now?” when exploring the actions of various characters. 

From Fictional Characters to Peers: Considering Self-Reg for Adults

My greatest aha moment occurred the other day as I was finishing Patterson’s latest novel, Murder Games. Looking closely at the main character, Dylan Reinhart, and his interactions with his significant other and the police officer, Elizabeth Needham, I saw many connections to Self-Reg and the Five Domains. And this is when I stopped and thought, here I am being so understanding, empathetic, and supportive of fictional characters, but do I respond in the same way to the adults in my life? 

Kids are different. Reading Shanker‘s books and taking the Foundations 1 Course have helped me view children differently — even with the many mistakes that I make — but sometimes I think that I need to reframe adult behaviour more frequently. 

  • Do I ask “Why?” and “Why now?” enough?
  • Do I consider the stressors at play?
  • Do I explore how I might be able to co-regulate others?

For the month of August, I have a new position with the Board as one of two Summer Curriculum and Site Support Teachers for Camp Power. For the first summer in 21 years, I will be working at a different camp, and I will not be teaching a group of children. I’ll be working with staff, students, and parents, while supporting program delivery. I’m very excited about this amazing position, and can’t help but wonder, will this position give me a new perspective on grown-ups and Self-Reg? I think that it might. How do you ensure that you view interactions with colleagues and parents through a Self-Reg lens? How might Self-Reg change these interactions? I’d welcome your advice as I move from educator/parent/child experiences to educator/parent/educator experiences. Self-Reg is truly for everyone, and the learning never stops!

Aviva Dunsiger has been the Portal Plus Moderator for over a year now and completed the Foundations 1 Certification Program. She has taught everything from Kindergarten to Grade 6 and enjoys blogging about her teaching and learning experiences. She blogs professionally on her blog, Living Avivaloca. Aviva is excited to contribute a monthly post on The MEHRIT Centre Blog.

By | 2018-01-24T16:51:25+00:00 August 3rd, 2017|


  1. Susan Hopkins August 3, 2017 at 1:20 pm - Reply

    Aviva, I really enjoyed your blog again this month. Congrats on the new position! You’ll be fabulous. I TOTALLY relate to taking a Self-Reg lens to characters. Your comment made me smile. I do the same thing all the time. One thing I noticed from facilitating the Foundations courses many times was that I think a Self-Reg lens can actually help you identify better developed characters in narratives. Sounds strange I know. But remember that activity in Foundations 3 where learners had to do a five domain Self-Reg analysis of an adolescent character from a book, movie, or TV show (present or past)? Well the twists on this were always interesting, we even had characters from the religious stories, cartoons, and YouTube channels analyzed. What I noticed was that the characters from classics and really wonderful books and movies always seemed to have far more complexity and depth to them when you considered them through the 5 domains. A new frame for developing characters for stories perhaps?

    • Aviva Dunsiger August 3, 2017 at 8:44 pm - Reply

      Thanks for your comment, Susan! It’s funny, as I was actually thinking about this assignment as I wrote this post. I remember how challenging this assignment was at the time, and how much, I now do this assignment every time that I read a book and think about the characters. I wonder how many others find that they do the same thing. Imagine if authors considered Self-Reg as they design characters. How might this change them?


Leave A Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.