Self-Reg for Elementary Teachers

Self-Reg for parents, photo of man and son sitting on the grass together

What is Self-Reg all about?

Shanker Self-Reg® is a process for enhancing self- regulation by understanding and dealing with stress. In Self-Reg we consider both our responses to stress and our underlying state of energy and tension when we encounter a stress.

Self-Regulation

  • Self-Reg is based on the original, psychophysiological definition of self-regulation, which refers to how we respond to stress— whether in a manner that promotes or constricts recovery and growth.
  • Self-regulation is fundamentally different from self-control: it seeks to reduce troublesome impulses, not to inhibit them.
  • Self-regulation is about understanding, not “monitoring and managing” emotions, thoughts and behaviour: in ourselves and others.
  • We all self-regulate, though sometimes in ways that are maladaptive: i.e., that lead to even greater stress down the road.
  • Self-Reg is not a program. It is an ongoing, lifelong, process of understanding stress-behaviour and involves interrelated practices for maintaining a healthy energy/tension balance.

    Shanker Self-Reg® looks at stress across 5 Domains of Self-Reg: biological, emotion, cognitive, social, and prosocial.

Self-Reg includes recognizing what calm feels like for yourself as well as what it feels like to become overstressed.

The ultimate Self-Reg goal is to help children acquire the necessary understanding of when and how to manage their own energy and tension, so they can adapt to the ever-changing and increasing stresses of life. But Self-Reg is also personal. If we are going to “lend students our calm,” we first have to understand our own stress and know how to manage our own energy and tension.

Self-Reg can help us understand and respond to the roots of behaviour, learning, motivation and social problems in all students and adults.

Children in a classroom sitting around a table doing crafts

Self-Reg is science-backed, rooted in Dr. Stuart Shanker’s synthesis of decades of research from neuroscience, physiology, psychophysiology, psychology, and clinical practice.

The ultimate Self-Reg goal is to help people acquire the necessary understanding of when and how to manage their own energy and tension, so they can adapt to the ever-changing and increasing stresses of life.

Self-Reg can help us understand and respond to the roots of behaviour, learning, motivation and social problems in all children, youth and adults.

Self-Reg is personal. If we are going to “lend students our calm,” we first have to understand and manage our own stress, energy and tension and recognize what calm feels like for ourselves as well as what it feels like to be overstressed.

The Roots of Self-Reg Practice

SAFETY

Helping children feel safe in every way— physically, emotional, culturally and socially— provides the foundation for a regulated or balanced state that supports learning and positive social interaction.

RELATIONSHIPS

The practice of Self-Reg occurs within relationships: with students, families, colleagues and the school community.

Co-regulation: When two people adjust to and regulate one another’s behaviour (mood, emotions, language) via bi-directional interactive signals and behaviours.

ENVIRONMENTS

Design or redesign the classroom to support more calmness (reducing visual clutter, toning down bright colours, different lighting).

Create microenvironments where students can go to feel more calm or more energized as needed.

BECOME A STRESS DETECTIVE

Reframing; Learning to see and interpret children’s behaviour in a different way and learning the difference between misbehaviour and stress behaviour.

When a child “misbehaves,” ask Why? and Why now?

Look for hidden stressors (strong smells, bright lights, sitting still too long, hunger, hard chairs etc.).

IT’S PERSONAL

Self-Reg begins with you. Consider your own stress and dysregulation and how they affect youand your students.

PROFESSIONAL LEARNING

Learn about the connections between stress, energy and tension and how they affect children’sbehaviour, mood and learning.

Pursue Self-Reg learning through TMC’s Self-Reg Foundations Course and other online learning opportunities.

Smiling girl out in nature
Dr. Stuart Shanker is a Distinguished Research Professor Emeritus of Philosophy and Psychology from York University and the Founder & Visionary of The MEHRIT Centre, Ltd. Stuart has served as an advisor on early child development to government organizations across Canada and the US, and in countries around the world. Dr. Shanker also blogs for Psychology Today
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