The Weight Loss Technique That Boosts Self-Control is an article in PsyBlog about a new study that found that reminding people how difficult it was to show self-control over their diet actually increased their self-control.
I’m thinking that this kind of strategy might be worth trying with challenging students that have not responded to other efforts (I’ve got a couple in mind).
However, it would need to be done very carefully.
I’m thinking of trying it in the context of discussing that, yes, self-control can be very hard.
But then immediately following that up with an affirmation that I believe he/she can do it.
It would be somewhat similar to a study done with critical feedback on student writing:
Researchers randomly assigned 7th graders to receive a note on an essay their teacher had marked-up. The note either assured the student that her teacher had provided her critical feedback because she held high expectations for the student and was confident the student could meet them (“I’m giving you these comments because I have high standards and I know that you can meet them”), or the note was placebic (“I’m giving you these comments so you have feedback on your essay”). Students who received the treatment note, especially negatively-stereotyped African American students, were more likely to revise their essay for a higher grade.
Without that kind of affirmation, I can see some students just viewing this kind of intervention as a confirmation of a low-opinion they may already have of themselves.
I’m adding this info to Best Posts About Helping Students Develop Their Capacity For Self-Control.