SELF-MANAGING STUDENTS

SELF-MANAGING STUDENTS

Self-managing  students – Dream or Reality?

By guest writer, Bette Blance, President WGI-NZ

While working with some teachers in Tokoroa I shared the idea of using THE DOOR, a school- wide strategy for getting students to solve their own disputes.  This strategy is a quick, simple process for promoting relationships, resilience, and for negotiating differences.  A copy of the process is put on the door of every classroom.  As students come in from the playground having had a disagreement,they can work through their problem independently.

As I described this process, one of the teachers visibly sighed and sat back in her seat.  “Oh how I wish…”, she said.  We all know what the line up after play time takes so much energy and time.

If we want classrooms where children are self managing, where they take responsibility for their own choices, we need to find ways that they can firstly learn and then practise these behaviours.

Opportunities for the self evaluation lead students to self management. Working from choice motivation (internal control) rather than control motivation (external control), students learn to use Glasser’s connecting habit of negotiating differences.

These types of strategies are not just band aids; rather they are part of an overall philosophical approach where learners being self managing is the major goal in the classroom.

This strategy works from an internal motivation perspective, giving students the responsibility to sort out disputes and evaluate their own behaviour.

The Door

This strategy, which I have adapted from work at the Junior School at Moama Anglican Grammar School in New South Wales, uses signs on the back of door in every classroom, every corridor, every toilet door and even on the gate to the playground.  Students learn the strategy and are self directed in taking someone else to the DOOR.

At THE DOOR, students work through the following statements and questions. They are designed for non-coercive problem solving, so that everyone’s pictures about how they want their school to be are matched.

  • I want our school to be a happy place?  What do you want school to be like for you?
  • I would like to talk about what happened in the playground today.  What happened for you?
  • This is what happened for me?
  • Next time this happens I will …
  • What might you do next time?
  • Thank you

The Head of Junior School at this school had been doing duty on the playground when two young students came up to him.  One complained that other had pushed him.  The Head of School said “Have you been to the DOOR?”  The two students went off to the script that was placed on the gate to the playground.  The younger student could not remember the script nor could he read it yet.  The child who was the ‘pusher’ read the script while the young student repeated the questions and waited for the answers.   Taking responsibility is big in this school.

Setting Goals

… if you don’t know where you’re going
You might end up somewhere else – Toby Keith

Setting clear goals enables learners to evaluate how close they are to achieving them. The more specific and measurable the goal, the more easily they can self evaluate.

Learners can ask themselves “How close am I to getting what I want?”   “What do I now need to do to get closer to that goal?”

Mastery of self control ( self management, self regulation) as described  in the Dunedin longitudinal study  following a cohort of 1000 children over 36 years  predicted health, wealth and public safety of the population.  By the age of 10 students who had mastered self control were more likely to have success at many life tasks.

As teachers we can have an influence on students’ ability to self-manage. These strategies are examples of how to ensure that this happens.

Moffitt,  el al 2010,  A gradient of childhood self control predicts health, wealth and public safetywww.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10/pnas.1010076108

Glasser, W, 1998  Choice Theory: A New Psychology of Personal Freedom

 https://www.wglasser.com/the-glasser-approach/choice-theory

As an Instructor with William Glasser International Bette continues to work with schools, counsellors and members of the general public who have the desire to learn more about how and why we behave the way we do.

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