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Response: Student Autonomy Is a Prerequisite of Self-Control

Classroom Q & A with Larry Ferlazzo

Created By

EL Education

Topic

  • Classroom Management

Type

Classroom Management Tools

Grade Level

Libby Woodfin is one of four contributors to this blog postfrom November, 2016 on the topic of student autonomy. See Libby's response midway down, which begins with: 

Autonomy + Structure = Self-Control
Autonomy is a prerequisite of self-control. Students who possess self-control can independently make good choices and control their own behavior, even in the face of temptation. Our effort to help students develop self-control, therefore, must start with giving them more autonomy so that they learn to independently make positive choices. In a classroom full of students this may seem like a risk; however, classroom management that is overly reliant on students being obedient and following directions not only fails to build the skills of self-control that we want for students, it also lacks effectiveness as a management strategy. Turn your back for a minute, step into the hall, or call in a substitute for the day and things can quickly go off the rails, and it may take a lot of time and energy to get things back on track. Helping students develop self-control through greater autonomy, on the other hand, is what can make a classroom really hum as students learn to monitor themselves and each other and sustain effort even when you're not looking. It's the long game—a marathon vs. a sprint.


The effort spent on the front end developing smart structures and systems will pay off when students need less direction from you and can instead take direction from themselves. The following strategies can help students stretch their wings within supportive boundaries.

Created By

EL Education

Topic

  • Classroom Management

Type

Classroom Management Tools

Grade Level

Libby Woodfin is one of four contributors to this blog postfrom November, 2016 on the topic of student autonomy. See Libby's response midway down, which begins with: 

Autonomy + Structure = Self-Control
Autonomy is a prerequisite of self-control. Students who possess self-control can independently make good choices and control their own behavior, even in the face of temptation. Our effort to help students develop self-control, therefore, must start with giving them more autonomy so that they learn to independently make positive choices. In a classroom full of students this may seem like a risk; however, classroom management that is overly reliant on students being obedient and following directions not only fails to build the skills of self-control that we want for students, it also lacks effectiveness as a management strategy. Turn your back for a minute, step into the hall, or call in a substitute for the day and things can quickly go off the rails, and it may take a lot of time and energy to get things back on track. Helping students develop self-control through greater autonomy, on the other hand, is what can make a classroom really hum as students learn to monitor themselves and each other and sustain effort even when you're not looking. It's the long game—a marathon vs. a sprint.


The effort spent on the front end developing smart structures and systems will pay off when students need less direction from you and can instead take direction from themselves. The following strategies can help students stretch their wings within supportive boundaries.