In Response to Nathan’s post on Self-regulation as a Philosophy of Education

I actually heard about this from a friend of mine who works in the Christian School in Langley, B.C., which is only a short drive from Surrey where this idea of self-regulation has become such a hit. As a teacher with a classroom full of rowdy boys and social girls, she was interested in this idea. It sure has interested me too!
One thing I really like about this idea is this: “Self-regulation ultimately hands the job of taking charge of their learning and their behaviour back to the kids.” My philosophy of education is very student centered and this fits in with my idea of a thriving classroom. In my experience, when a person “owns” something, then it becomes more real and they are more dedicated to it. In this case, when the students “own” their self-regulation they are owning their academics and taking control over it, and I can only imagine the results being positive.
An issue I do see occurring, however, is that each child is likely to self-regulate differently. If a child were to just get up and take a run, this could disrupt not only their class, but the classes around them, which could be damaging to the others, but beneficial for them. Where does the line get drawn? It is much easier to accept the use of headphones (though with responsibility that they don’t wear them when the teacher is talking to them; that they use them with respect) than wanting to encourage students to get up and go for a run.
In saying this though, there were countless times in high school when my teachers would send myself or other friends of mine for a walk around the school until we were ready to come back in and focus. Or encouraged us to bring a healthy snack into class when we couldn’t pay attention otherwise (especially in that class right before lunch!) or when I shared my healthy parts of my lunch with a boy in a Grade 5 class I was a TA for, and just eating that orange instead of chips or candy changed his whole day around! So I’ve seen how important self-regulation is!
For myself in university, when I can no longer focus on studying I work out or go for a run, eat some fruit, and get back to it. I also am one of those who listen to music, but my music playlist is very selective as certain music is great for my work outs but would bring too much stimulation for studying. On a little side note actually, here is a very interesting article about the effects of music on the brain! Click here to read it.
If student’s don’t take advantage of it, and once they get used to the idea of it so as not to be distracted by others self-regulation, if the teacher and students are both committed to practicing self-regulation in the classroom, then yes, I think students for sure should be granted the freedom of it! School and education, in my opinion, is about them after all, and if if this is going to improve their learning, then definitely it should be implemented. 8 or so hours in a school day otherwise, is extremely long when students just can’t seem to focus.
-Angie

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