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September 14, 2011

Self-Regulation, the Key to Success?

From Different Learners, by Jane M. Healy.
"Self-regulation ... is a major ingredient for success in learning and life.  Children who develop good self-regulation skills have extra ammunition for overcoming problems and capitalizing on their particular combination of talents.  The development of self-regulation depends on home, school and community.  Its ingredients are
  • a strong belief in one's own abilities and potential 
  • self-control
  • positive relationships with others
  • motivation and persistence

Psychologists find these qualities to be at least twice as influential as IQ for both academic and life success.  They will determine in great part whether your child overcomes innate problems or succumbs to them ...
Failure to attain self-regulation is a core problem that accompanies many learning, attention,  and emotional-social problems.  Environments strongly influence development of self-regulation."

The author suggest that some of the factors that impede development of brain connections governing self-regulation are

  • stress from unsafe and disorganized environments
  • media that capture a child's attention and over which they have little control 
  • intrusive sensory environments that distract children from learning to manage their minds (eg. noise, visual stimuli, too much excitement)
  • adults who are unwilling or unable to spend the time to model and teach self-control, attention, thoughtful behaviour, forward planning, persistence and delayed gratification.
  • schools that focus on memorizing information and academic acceleration at the expense of how to learn, reflection and strategies for problem-solving
  • overmanagement that reduces a child's sense of control
I bought this book accidentally, thinking at the time that it was about something completely different.  But I really enjoyed it.   It has some valuable insights into how the brain develops.  The brain is extremely 'plastic' and is able to remodel itself and make new connections throughout life.  Because of this a child's brain is easily influenced, both positively and negatively, by environment.

What do you think - how important is self-regulation for success in life?

1 comment:

Donna House said...

You are so right, I have noticed the same thing as I have read a lot about self-regulation. To truly know yourself and your capabilities in combination with self-regulation is the key to success in my opinion. Do you agree?