5 Ways To Help Students Develop Self-Regulation | EQ 6


Our series of six blog posts, unpacks each of Gardner’s elements of emotional intelligence and look at ways teachers can use Makers Empire to develop these qualities in students. Previous posts focused on ways to help students develop self-awareness, self-reflection, empathymotivation and social skills. This final post in the series focuses on self-regulation.

What is self regulation?

Self-regulation is the ability to recognise, understand and manage your emotional reactions and behaviours in response to things that happen around you.

People with well-developed self-regulatory abilities are able manage the way they respond to strong emotions such as excitement, frustration, anger, embarrassment and fear. They are able to calm themselves down after feeling excited or upset. Self-regulation also helps us to focus on tasks and refocus our attention to a new task, control our impulses, and behave in ways that helps us get along with other people.

Dr. Stuart Shanker, Founder & Visionary of The MEHRIT Centre in Canada recently wrote about five domains of self-regulation:

  1. Biological – refers to level of energy in the human nervous system and determines how well we regulate our brain’s natural responses to stressors, including flight or fight instincts.
  2. Emotional – refers to feelings and moods and determines how well we monitor and modify our emotional responses to stimuli.
  3. Cognitive – refers to mental processes such as memory, retention of information, and problem-solving and determines how well we can sustain and redirect our attention, inhibit impulses, and cope with frustration.
  4. Social – refers to understanding, assessing and responding to social cues and determines how well we can regulate our behaviour and reactions when we are interacting with others.
  5. Pro-social – refers to being socially accepted and determines how well we make and maintain friendships, and coregulate in peer-to-peer interactions

5 ways Makers Empire can help students develop self-regulation

1. Activities that allow self-expression through dance, drawing, movement, painting and other creative endeavours are well known for helping us to regulate our emotions and energy levels. This means that simply allowing students to create in 3D with Makers Empire can equip them with another tool to choose from when they need a creative outlet.

2. Partner activities where students are required to take turns can help students practice controlling their impulses, and social self-regulation. Collaborative design activities where students take it in turns adding a shape to a design, or swap devices after a certain time can help create self-regulation opportunities. 

3. Simple games that require students to respond to cues and refocus their attention can help with cognitive regulation. Students might be asked to roll a dice and add the corresponding number of shapes to a design before rolling the dice again to determine the next number of shapes to be added.

4. Try creating memory games using Makers Empire. Perhaps, share a simple design with the class and then have students recreate the design as closely as they can from memory.

5. Our pro-training tutorials can help develop self-regulation by asking students to complete each step accurately before moving onto the next step. Students need to focus on the required action and perform it accurately without being distracted by other possible actions or features in order to achieve a successful result.

5 questions teachers can ask to promote students’ self-regulation

  1. How do you feel when you are creating your favourite designs? Can you think of situations when this activity might help you feel better?
  2. How do you feel when you have to wait for a turn at an activity you want to do? What can you do or think about to make it easier to wait? Why is it important to wait your turn sometimes?
  3. What do you need to focus on right now? How can you stop yourself from thinking about the next step before you finish this one? What might happen if you don’t finish this step first?
  4. What do you remember about the design you were looking at? What shapes, colours or features did you notice? Does it help to imagine you have taken a photo of the design in your mind? Which parts do you remember most? Why do you think that is?
  5. How can we break this task into steps? What do we need to do first, second and third? 
Picture of Mandi Dimitriadis

Mandi Dimitriadis

Mandi Dimitriadis, DipT. is the award-winning, highly regarded and passionate Director of Learning at Makers Empire. She is an experienced classroom teacher who recognises the power of technology to enhance teaching and improve educational outcomes. Mandi has extensive experience with curriculum development and learning, having previously developed programs for the Australian Government’s Department of Education, and having created custom curriculum for Makers Empire schools in the USA, China and the UAE. She is passionate about Design Thinking and how best to prepare today’s students for the future.

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