Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Modeling self-control through real stories

My last post was about some different self-control strategies that were effective. Today I'm going to talk about how I share this information with my students.

What do you remember more?
  • Your last staff meeting?
  • The last movie you watched?
I bet you remember the last movie more than your last staff meeting. Of course there are many reasons why. One of those reasons is because it was a story. Our minds are meant to understand stories. So, I teach self-control by telling students stories about myself where I model when my strategies worked and when they did not work. As I tell the story, I model the type of thinking I would like them to use.

I might say something like, "Last January it was New Years, and so I made a resolution. How many of you have made resolutions before? (They chat) Well, mine was that I was going to exercise more. I wanted to work out 5 times a week. So, I decided that I was going to do that. Monday I played soccer with my friends. This is going to be so easy. I can totally do this.

Tuesday came . . . and I was tired after school, and there was this great show on TV that I really wanted to watch and I told myself - I'll do it after the show. Then I had to cook dinner. And suddenly it was bedtime and I hadn't done it. . ."

It is important to think through and model when you are not successful. Students can learn from your mistakes.

"Three weeks later, I realized that I hadn't really been exercising 5 times a week. How many of you have had trouble with doing something you said you would do? Like HW or cleaning your room?"

Model what did work and the strategies you want students to use in their life.

"So, the third time I tried to reach my goal, I set up a system. I wrote down what I was going to do on a piece of paper and I set up some rewards and consequences for myself. I shared with my friends my goal on facebook. . . "

Share more than one time, and then another, and then another.

You probably remember the last movie you saw, but not the one that you saw 5 times ago. Students are hearing stories from all over. If you want your message to stick, say it over and over with different stories.

What do I do when I don't have a real story about me to share?

I use a Rafael Story. Click here to learn more about this powerful technique!

Learn more about the research behind this technique.

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