Research: Eric Jensen argues that self-regulation is the number one executive function skill that kids need to be successful in school. Also termed grit, resilience, or perseverance, Jensen cites numerous studies that relate this skill to academic performance and educational achievement. Students who can regulate their emotions and behavior are simply more likely to succeed in school and in life.
Practice: Self-regulation can be taught by slowing down to consider student attitudes and choices in given circumstances. At Chrysalis we engage students in direct, honest conversations about their behavior–where it might be appropriate, where it might not, and how to make that decision. We look for teachable moments where we see students struggling with self-regulation and use that opportunity to drive lessons around behavior and promote positive interactions. We allow students the opportunity to fail and get back up in a caring environment where everyone makes mistakes and learns from them.
Practice: This evidence strengthens the importance we place on hands-on activities and play during the school day. While most schools refer to drama, art, design, geography, or PE as electives that are too easily eliminated from a student’s day, we recognize their importance and can easily incorporate them into a student’s schedule. Students have access to makerspace activities, puzzles, and games during their free time. While they aren’t directly working on STEM content, their brains are being prepared to do so in ways that they find rewarding and fun.