The success of my lessons on learning’s physical impact on the brain has prompted me to think of creating similar lessons that might encourage students to see how learning can more directly benefit them beyond the schoolhouse door.

I’ve begun developing a lesson on the importance of having self-control. Studies show that the ability to have self-discipline (also known as self-regulation) can result in tremendous learning and life benefits.

I’ve just begun to think about it, and am open to hearing ideas.  I’ll be posting what my final plans look like.  Here are the resources I’m reviewing now:

A TED Talk by Joachim de Posada focused on the lessons from famous marshmallow experiment. A marshmallow was put in front of children, the researcher left the room after telling the child he/she would be back shortly and if the child could resist grabbing the one marshmallow she/he would get more upon the researcher’s return. Years later, those who showed self-control were much more successful in their lives.

I briefly explained this study to a joint class we were training to use a web tool to make a slideshow yesterday. The application requires that students email their final creation to themselves in order to obtain the url address of the finished product, which in turn students can then post on our class blog. After taking a minute to summarize the researchers findings, I talked about how tempting it would be once they went to their personal email to open-up other messages from friends in addition to the one from the slideshow site. But I wanted them to “remember the marshmallow.”

These students actually do work for our English classes in a different computer applications class. I spoke to the teacher after school, and he told me that — as far as he could tell — no students did anything other than open up the one email from the slideshow site.

Three other excellent resources on this topic are:

DON’T: The Secret of Self-Control
from The New Yorker magazine.

Self-Regulation Supports Student Learning and Achievement
by Kevin Washburn

Just today, The New York Times published Can the Right Kinds of Play Teach Self-Control?

Any other suggestions of resources or ideas are welcome.