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By: Mary Ann Coleman

“Our school had many presentations last year from your SEL partners. Our teachers know all they need to know about Self-Reg!”  

It’s great that your school has a terrific background around self-regulation! This year, we are trying for a whole-school approach and want to have everyone in the Board to be consistent and have the same information. If a staff member were to move schools, they should have the same foundation as the rest of the staff in the school. It is also important that all staff from custodians to teaching staff are speaking the same language, to be able to support all students with self-regulation.

“If you don’t give me the program how do you know I’m teaching it to the kids correctly?”

Self reg is not a program. It’s a life-long skill and a whole new way of thinking. Self-Reg is comprised of brain-body science as well as many other components. Once you understand the theory and the science behind Shanker Self-Reg, then you can choose different programs or tools that may complement different students. Ultimately with Self-Reg it is the student who individually decides if the tool is appropriate or works for them.

“I have a student who has difficulty self-regulating in class who often blurts out and is confrontational with others.”

Self-regulation is meant to be preventive, not reactive. Self-Reg works best when thinking and learning is clear and stress free. One of the main objectives is to teach students how to observe and understand how their own body or other people’s bodies are feeling, reframe another peer’s behaviour or their own, and think about ways to reduce stress and strategies that they themselves can implement. What will help them do their job at school? Being competent learners who are able and ready to learn. To get there, they need Self-Reg.

“There is no proof behind Stuart’s Shanker’s work. I don’t believe in Shanker Self-Reg.”

Actually, if you look at the brain-body science: YES, there is science that backs this up.  By looking deeper at some of the things that our team is promoting and saying, you’ll see that while we may be using different terms, the main ideas are consistent. Ultimately we all want students to do their best. Self-Reg is a mindset. It’s a change in practice, and a framework that’s pedagogically and scientifically sound. Many of us have been using pieces of self-regulation all along without knowing it. Now what we need to do is label it, model it and teach it explicitly so that our students can become lifelong self-reggers.

“We use Conscious Discipline in Kindergarten so we do not need your support.”

Conscious discipline is a great program. It can be beneficial to some students in terms of their learning strategies and tools.Self regulation is individual. That means that each student may have their own set of stressors, tools & learning strategies that apply to them. Conscious Discipline is a program. Self-regulation is a way of life. We want to be able to teach our students around hidden and obvious stressors and the brain body response that goes with them. Consistent messaging that can transfer between grade and be age appropriate. Self-regulation gives the student and teacher permission to use what is good for each individual self.