SELF-REGULATION IN EDUCATION
Every child on the planet is born with psychological health!!
Before you jump to question this fact you have to see the context this statement sits in. Your adult body consists of around 7,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 atoms, thats 20 to 30 trillion cells, this incomprehensible mass of cells multiplied from just a single cell. If you live to 70 years old your heart will beat around 2 billion times. When your body needs food an automated hunger signal notifies you of the need to eat, when you are dehydrated an automated thirst signal notifies you it's time to drink. When your body needs to rest you receive a signal to take rest, when you need to take a pee...you get the picture!
At the moment no scientist on the planet can explain a single cell in its entirety or how they divide in unison to form different types of tissue. This is a scientific fact, not an opinion. So fundamentally how we work as a living organism remains an incomplete equation.
Of your 20 billion or so cells consider right now how many you are currently regulating? Then consider, of the two billion heart beats you may have in your lifetime, how many of them will you regulate. With this in mind the term self-regulation actually means this in reality. You are already self-regulated to an astounding level, the only problem that gets in the way of that regulation is our ideas and concepts of what we need for health. It's Mrs Johnson's birthday, roll out the chocolate cake.... it's Mr Jones' leaving do, roll out the Merlot.... I feel tired, must mean I should stop at KFC on the way home etc.
The key to understanding why 3750 UK teachers were signed off in 2017 and over a million working days (in the last four years) were lost due to forms of stress, lies in self-regulation. A term which has unfortunately been hijacked into a series of mind control techniques. They include forms of mindfulness, self-regulation, yoga or meditating classes which have been introduced across the country to tackle troubled kids and struggling teachers but their ideas of self-regulation are based in a wider arrogance which is now verging on stupidity.
They are making the basic assumption that individuals have the capacity to control their feelings and emotions. The techniques being implemented in an attempt to change the mood of teachers and pupils include forcibly thinking different thoughts, exercising or diet. What we are asking them to do is the physical equivalent of asking a 7 year old child or 37 year old teacher to exert control over 20+ trillion cells. At times they may say "yes miss I did it!" "I was thinking about dividing my own cells and it happened"."I did it again miss", "I was thinking about regulating my body temperature and I did it". Someone give the kid a 7th place medal and a yoga mat because he behaved exactly the way we thought he should do for the whole day and then completed the test we imparted on children to make them better employees during the industrial age...yes I am a little frustrated, haha!
Concepts about self-regulation are not self-regulation, we just need to give that already automated process a chance to breathe by no longer judging teachers solely on test results but also on the quality of interactions they have day-to-day with students. The quality of these interactions can only ever derive from the quality of experience both are having. It's time to put the Chimp Theory in it's box with every other theory out there and look to the self-regulation which we are born with.
If the education system begins to realise self-regulation isn't learned but something that diminishes as social concepts and ideas about how to obtain health build then we can arrive at common sense. Children can be emotional without being told there is something wrong with them, children who don't fit the system can be encouraged to follow alternate interests outside of the national curriculum without being told they have a disorder like ADHD. Let them have freedom to create and give them the support that comes from inspired teachers, teachers that know the greatest impact will not be their classes yearly SATs results but being talked about by a pupil with fondness and admiration for years to come, the same pupil who will one day join the next generation of inspired teachers!