SEL Intro #5: Self Management

This is the fifth in a series of informational blog posts: SEL Intro #5. Check back weekly or search our archive for more!

What Is Self Management?

The Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning  (CASEL) includes self management as one of its five core competencies for building “students’ capacity to integrate skills, attitudes, and behaviors to deal effectively and ethically with daily tasks and challenges.”  Or in other words, self management is an important part of Social Emotional Learning (SEL). This competency encompasses several skills that make up “the ability to successfully regulate one’s emotions, thoughts, and behaviors in different situations.” For example: impulse control, stress management, self-discipline, self-motivation, goal-setting and organizational skills are all part of the big picture of self management.

What Does Self Management Do?

This one is pretty obvious: when we have control over our impulses we don’t get in trouble in a variety of ways. Managing stress helps us deal with tense situations. Self discipline helps us avoid regret. Self-motivation helps us get things done, goal-setting helps us move forward and organization skills help us keep all the pieces together where we can find them.

At Camp EDMO™ we include self management as one of the six key SEL skills featured in the EDMO Method™. This skill is particularly important at camp and in the classroom, but is frequently a challenge for many kids. In our programs  we include maker projects that fuse collaborative design challenges with art and individual expression because engagement fuels self management. The point of our programs is to spark kids’ curiosity, stretch their creativity, strengthen their collaboration skills and inspire self-reflection. When that happens impulse control, stress management, self-discipline, self-motivation, goal-setting and organizational skills often come naturally. Or at least more naturally than they do to a disengaged (read bored) kid.

Why Is It Important?

Let’s continue with our thought experiment from the previous post in this series, SEL Intro #4: Self Awareness. Back to science class. I’ve already used self awareness to recognize that I’m feeling angry and frustrated about a problem that I’ve got to solve for class. So what can I do about it? This is when self management kicks in.

First of all, I use impulse control to address what not to do. I prevent myself from crumpling up the paper that contains this troublesome problem and throwing it at the teacher. Next I use stress management to calm myself down: deep breaths, find four things that are blue in the classroom, sniff my eraser (if that’s a smell that helps me reset).

Once I’m back to myself,  I use self discipline to keep going so I can get this work done and not have to do it later, at home when I’d rather watch Glee on Hulu. Self-motivation gets me going again, goal-setting lets me tell myself that if I get through the assignment before class is over I can not only watch Glee on Hulu, but maybe have some ice cream, too. Plus I’ll do better in this class, that should help. Finally, organizational skills are what enable me to put my name on the assignment and successfully deliver it to the teacher’s inbox in one piece before the bell rings.

And that’s it – success in science class! It may seem simplistic, but we really aren’t born with these skills. It takes time, practice and guidance to develop them.

More Info, Please?

You can learn more about the core competency Self Management by following the links below:

Still not sure about what SEL is? Check our original post in this series: SEL Intro #1: What is Social Emotional Learning? Plus, be on the lookout for the next in this series of posts: SEL Intro #6: Social Awareness.