Welcome back to the “Neuroscience Meets SEL Podcast” this is Andrea Samadi. Our goal with this podcast is to close the gap recent surveys show exists in our workforce where 58 percent of employers say college graduates aren’t adequately prepared for today’s workforce, and those employers noted a particular gap in social and emotional skills. Research shows that social-emotional skills like social awareness, self-regulation, and growth mindset are crucial to college and career readiness. The outcomes of developing these intelligences are vast as they impact our performance, leadership, personal excellence, time management, and decision-making.
We’ve chosen six social and emotional learning competencies to dive deep into and tie in how an understanding of our brain can facilitate these strategies. With each competency, we’ll investigate the best practices that you can use to develop and improve your own SEL/Emotional Intelligence and well-being practice, before extending these strategies to your districts, schools, classrooms, workplaces and communities. We want the ideas you take away with you to be actionable whether you are an educator working in a school, an employee or manager in a corporation, or someone just looking to take their skills to the next level. Be sure to look for the resources in the show notes section if you would like to dive deeper into this topic.
Our next competency is self-regulation.What is Self-Regulation and Why is it So Important?
Self-regulation is “the ability to manage your emotions and behavior in accordance with the demands of the situation. It includes being able to resist highly emotional reactions to upsetting stimuli, to calm yourself down when you get upset, adjust to a change in expectations and (the ability) to handle frustration”[i] In other words, it’s the ability to bounce back after a setback or disappointment, and the ability to stay in congruence with your inner value system.
The ability to control one's behavior, emotions, and thoughts is an integral skill to be taught to young children as well, so they can form and maintain healthy relationships and connections later in life.[ii] As an adult, self-regulation is important in day to day life as we must learn how to handle and bounce back from life’s challenges and disappointments in our personal and professional lives. This skill is crucial to develop as we all know that life is full of ups and downs and we must be able to navigate through challenging situations before we can reach any level of achievement and success. We all know people who seem to bounce back after adversity. It’s not by luck or chance, it’s because they have learned how to self-regulate and intentionally get themselves back on course. This is a learned skill and one that we must teach or model to our students/children for them to be able to master it as adults.
Scott Bezsylko, the executive director of the Winston Prep school explains that they approach self-regulation skills “in the same way (they) approach other skills, academic or social: (they) isolate that skill and provide practice. When you think of it as a skill to be taught — rather than, say, just bad behavior — it changes the tone and content of the feedback you give kids.” [iii] Just like we would create a drill for improving dribbling for a basketball player, or practicing vocabulary words for a spelling test, we can create practice for self-regulation.
Self-Regulation Tips for Children
The key to teaching these skills to children is to model them, coaching younger children, until they can produce the results on their own.[iv]
MODEL SELF-TALK: This works well with younger students as they learn how to identify their emotions. Teachers can model self-regulation in class by naming the emotions they are experiencing since we learn by watching others. Help students to recognize the emotions they have (for example-today I am feeling frustrated because I am stuck