Self Regulation

The ability to self-regulate is a desirable quality and has been valued in human beings throughout history because of its positive affects on behavior and the acquisition of skills that can accompany mindful self-regulation.

It is not easy as a child or a teenager to appreciate the concept of self-regulation although its positive effects on behavior and educational outcomes for a child are immense.

Regulating yourself is a self-directive process through which you can transform your mental abilities into task related skills, and for children the task related skills are academic up till a certain age.

With self-regulation you can manage and organize your thoughts and convert them into skills needed for learning. You can learn to continuously monitor your own progress toward a goal you may set, check on the outcomes, and redirect your efforts if they have been unsuccessful. For a child to be self-regulated all you need is to be aware of your own thought process, and be motivated to actively participate in your own learning process. No one is going to do the learning for you. That is the unfortunate truth and also the greatest burden from which most children seek an escape. There just isn’t one.

We have to understand the value of self-regulation on our own and appreciate the value of human labour needed to achieve progress.

A number of children question the concept and say ‘Why Self-regulation’ – why is it so important. The answer is simple, the need for regulating the self is important because of the effects that it has on educational and behavioral outcomes.

Self-regulation is not an automatic process. If it were, would life not be perfect? Also Self regulation has to hurdle over issues like Attention Deficit Disorders, Mood Disorders, Anxiety, Depression, Learning Disabilities and by the time the child is able to understand the use of self-regulation techniques which can actively engage them in their academic pursuits, it is a bit to late and class XII results are out or Junior College grades have been declared and- well they can not be reversed.

The one and only thing that cannot be reversed academically is your Class X and Class XII or your O and A level grades.

Much as you may wish that things should have been different, the lack of self-regulation cannot be changed.

As a child of school going age most children need to consciously view education as an activity that they need to do for themselves in a proactive manner, rather than viewing the school years as a covert event that happens to them as a result of parents wishing to tie them down or society making up funny rules to bind and hold them down when ‘happiness’ may lie in a mall or a movie theatre.

For those who understand and take a more active role in their education – it puts them in the driver's seat and in charge of change that affects their life and lives on with them for a lifetime.

Children who use self-regulation effectively learn to efficiently accomplish a task and are able to regulate different strategies and monitor the effectiveness of those strategies while evaluating and determining the next course of action.

Academically successful learners utilize various forms of self-regulation without even knowing it and use them to greatly increase performance. We have seen successful learners constantly check their comprehension. When they read a passage, and realize that they do not understand what they have read, they will go back and reread, and question or summarize what is that they need to understand. On the other hand, when a student with learning disabilities reads a passage, and realizes that they do not understand what they have read, they tend to shut down, or just continue to read because they do not recognize the goal of reading the passage.

A learning disability can tend to convert a child into a passive learner, who often fails to evaluate and monitor his own learning, and in order to compensate the child will allow others to regulate their learning or rely on the assistance of others to successfully complete a task. Essential executive control functions, which are necessary to complete complex academic tasks independently, seem to vanish. Processes like coordinating metacognitive knowledge - Regulating cognitive and metacognitive knowledge, understanding one's own knowledge, and thought process. Planning - Using a deliberate and organized approach to attack a task. Monitoring - assessing comprehension while progressing through a task, and checking for effectiveness, testing, evaluating and revising strategies. Failure detection - while progressing through a task, detecting when there is a misunderstanding or an error is made. Failure correction - When an error is detected, going back and correcting any mistakes – all slip away.

This is where we believe that if we can make a child aware and demonstrate the true value of what really is self-regulation, the child with learning disabilities will be as successful and transform his potential mental abilities into education and academic related skills.

To achieve academic success it has to have value to the child for him to self-regulate his behavior and if the target behavior is not seen as worth the effort then there is usually no reason to self-regulate that behavior, it would serve no purpose. It is important to keep in mind that a particular behavior itself may not be valuable or rewarding, but the effect that the behavior produces or the social perception of the behavior may be valuable.

Meritocracy cannot be more definable and observable. Meritocracy is defined in detail, it is not difficult or impossible to self-regulate and its importance is so articulated that anyone would be able to understand the rationale and the output occurrence can easily be observed and measured. Even for those who say that it does not need to be overt and observable to the outside world, the answer is it does need to be observable to you for you to feel good and worth it from the inside.

Your effort should be to self monitor your attention and resulting performance, understand the strategy you want to use, as different children will have their own ideas and then have the will to implement the self monitoring of your course of action.

Try some private speech which serves no communicative function but where you can literally talk yourself through a task. Try some induced self-statements and self-instruction to aid in orienting, organizing, and/or structuring you behavior. The goal is to go from modeled, induced, strategic, task-relevant, private speaking in your mind to covert, strategic, task-relevant output.

Try setting some reasonable goals, which will allow you to see progress that is being made, and which will enhance your motivation, provide structure and focus your attention, and serve an informational function. Goal setting can be an influential and valuable means for improving your performance. The fulfillment you will gain by reaching or making progress toward your goal will provide you the much-needed motivation to continue until you exceed your own expectations.

However be clear about - Specificity so that it is easier for you to gauge your progress - Difficulty – so that you can put forth effort and utilize resources and achieve targets that are attainable - Proximity – so that what you set out to achieve can be completed in the near future and produce greater performance outcomes because they are attainable and if you do set distal goals then break them down into to several proximal goals to reach your long-term objective.

Nothing is easy, and do not blame your parents and teachers. The self-regulation buck stops at you. Sure if you have a genuine neurological issue and a learning disability is acting as a speed breaker on your run, then you need to reach out for help and take the help that is available and can be offered.

The deepest hole that children fall into is not determining standards and setting evaluative criteria. You need to be able to understand when you have met the requirement necessary to be able to self-reinforce and to determine your own standards for progress, and be able to evaluate your performance against comparable standards.

If you need help, do not hesitate to reach out. There is no glory in suffering in silence not knowing what to do. If you want, involve you parents as they are your well wishers and if you are comfortable, call us (+91 8826022886) to set up an appointment to understand how to move forward.