A couple of weeks ago, I posted about a pretty interesting new study that — through brain scans — actually showed what the brain looked like when you are demonstrating self-control and when you are not (see This Is — Literally — Your Brain On Self-Control).

I hadn’t gotten a chance at that point to actual read the study, but the researcher was interviewed on NPR today (it hasn’t been posted at the time of my writing, but should be up in a few hours). Here’s the transcript of the interview.

He didn’t seem to be saying anything new on the radio, but then my ears pricked up near the end when he said that, in the study, reminding people about the consequences of their not losing self-control was not effective at getting them to regain it. The intervention that did work, though, was asking them to take a minute and think about behaviors they needed to exhibit to achieve their goals.

His comment prompted me to go back and read the research, and I found that his comment was confirmed in the paper.

It’s just another reinforcer to what I have found that has worked for me — instead of threatening punishment, reminding students of their goals and asking them if their actions were going to help achieve them. I might try to remember, though, to also ask them to think of (and maybe write down) one action they could take to help them along in that direction.

It’s just another “tool” in the classroom management toolbox, and you can find more at The Best Posts About Helping Students Develop Their Capacity For Self-Control.