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“Self-Persuasion” — A Good Addition To Lessons On Self-Control & Blame

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My book, Helping Students Motivate Themselves (and its sequel, which is my summer project), is full of lessons to help students…motivate themselves, including ones on self-control and taking personal responsibility.

I’ve just figured out something that I think might be a great addition to them — the idea of “self-persuasion.”

Two articles on this topic that cover recent research have just been published — How To Encourage People To Change Their Own Minds and Changing Your Own Mind. They discuss various strategies, including imagining that you have to convince someone else about a position that you may, or may not, particularly believe in.

What a great way to combine learning what I call a “life lesson” on a topic like self-control or personal responsibility with developing skills in the genre of persuasive writing. I wouldn’t want to do this with all the “life lessons” I teach, but it seems to me they would valuable in a couple of the most important ones — important being skills and concepts that I think are critical for my students’ future and which, if learned early enough in the school year, would make all of our lives, including mine, so much better 🙂

I’d put self-control and personal responsibility as two of the most critical ones.

I’ll be giving this a try next school year…

Author: Larry Ferlazzo

I'm a high school teacher in Sacramento, CA.

One Comment

  1. Excellent points! Self-control, once considered an essential survival skill and assumed prerequisite for learning, must be explicitly re-introduced into the curriculum. Both high school – and university – students have been encouraged to “express themselves” so often by both the broader media culture and often their own relatives and teachers that many students have overlooked the need for this more traditional skill. I often tell students that they must balance truth and tact, and remember to remain cool in difficult, stressful situations. Yet self-persuasion must also be taught because many times students recognize – in the abstract – the need to change, but don’t know how to apply it to their own lives. I look forward to reading both your new book and deploying the lessons on self-persuasion.

    Finally, the classic quote “You are not punished for your anger, but by your anger,” from Buddha also appears in my lessons on prepositions as soft propaganda. Students seem to appreciate the reminder to control their emotions.

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