Today was the start of week 2 and it was a busy day.
I’m lucky to be involved in a self-regulation pilot with Dr. Stuart Shanker based on his book Calm, Alert and Learning. I’m certainly not an expert and I’m very much figuring it out as I go along (with my awesome colleagues) but what I know right now mostly from my students is Self-Regulation is not compliance, silence, obedience, sameness. It is students learning how to figure out what they need to adjust their moods, emotions, impulses so that their learning conditions are optimal.
In just 1 week I’ve seen some pretty fantastic things. My students are figuring out that they don’t have to sit at a desk and chair – unless they want to because some students really need that. They are using alternative seating and clip boards, white boards, chalk boards with their papers magneted in place. They are sitting near the sunlight pouring through the windows or closing the blinds because the intense light is bothering them. A few students have naturally chosen to sit at the same table spot each day. This has all come from very limited instruction from me – I kind of wanted to see what they would do on their own.
There are a lot of kinks that are arising too. For example the alternative seating. I’ve had to explicitly teach safe, responsible use. So running and jumping on them, or laying across with your head on the ground probably not best use. Also deciding who gets to use them and when is tricky especially when it’s clear to me who would benefit but part of the process is the kids figuring this out. Another kink is when is it self-regulation and when is it task avoidance? Are they they same thing, completely separate and how do I get my students to see the difference?
I do notice a positive change in my kids in a very short time – and I know it’s going to be a big year of learning for my students and myself and I’m excited about it.