Teaching Self-Management to Students for Distance Learning

Updated: Apr 4, 2020

As most schools shut indefinitely, and teachers and parents are left to figure out how to facilitate learning or play, for that matter, it has become clear that we need sustainable resolutions.

Amidst the numerous educational apps and knowledge banks, we seem to have forgotten an important resource – the student.

The most engaging programs are usually ones that take student curiosity and motivation into consideration. How do you figure what drives them? Have them create a Goal list!

Setting Goals

Students can record their goals in these areas:

● Academics

● Social life

● Sports and exercise

● Healthy eating

● Family and community

● Hobbies and interests

● Screen time

Remember to follow the acronym: SMART - specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely—is practical and reasonable.

This will also help you identify what drives and challenges each student and what bores them. With the necessity of online lessons, the format of projects, submissions, and even essays can take on different forms.

For example, I once had students create a Wanted poster for Bill Sikes from the novel Oliver Twist, thus initiating some rather cool detailing of his physical and emotional attributes. They then backed it up with a cry to the public of his vile misdeeds.

Task Lists and Notes

Have them trace steps that will lead to the goal.

Identifying resources and distributing responsibility are important skills required in creating such a list. Students may need scaffolds to organize their thinking, planning and overall work. When accomplishing tasks individually or in a team, task lists help to assign responsibility; they ensure equitable collaboration and are easy to evaluate individual responsibility.

We’ve developed a skill-building resource that calls for students to identify the situation at hand and pick an effective technique of creating such lists and notes!

Framing a timeline

Now that they know what they have to do, how do they get it done?

Honestly, most adults struggle with meeting deadlines so who are we to admonish the kids? Luckily, they have an opportunity that most of us didn’t – resources that allow for the skill of creating timelines to help them meet that submission deadline. Here’s a useful resource!

Execution of Tasks

Remember that task list and notes they created? That’s going to come in handy here. As students go about tracking their timelines, have them hold themselves and their peers accountable using the Task-lists.

Integrity and honesty in the execution of tasks are important - and self-evaluation here goes a long way. For example, this Anti-plagiarism checklist will help students evaluate their own work.

They can also use this chart to detect a flaw in logic of an essay or research paper they’ve written or are citing.

You can even have students come up with their own method of evaluation - like quiz-making for their peers. Platforms like Kahoot! allow users to create multiple-choice quizzes incorporating youtube videos and images. We’ve used it to assess Critical Thinking skills, bias identification, differentiation between Fact & Opinion, etc.

Get started here: https://create.kahoot.it/


Just as we take time to reflect on content learning, we also need to take time to reflect on the learning process. This should could occur at the end of each of the steps above:

Have students reflect on questions like –

● How did the process of creating a timeline affect my goal?

● Was there anything I’d change in the way we went about delegating tasks?

● Do I know how to evaluate my work for plagiarism?

● How will I use what I've learned to create and meet future goals?

● What are some questions I would like to ask my peer group?

Remember, you’re not alone. Students are a tremendous resource in the process of their own learning, and you will be enabling life-long learners.

Nikita is part of the School Success team at Callido Learning. She has a background in teaching English Literature and Language in Middle School, and facilitating workshops for children in storytelling, and creative writing.

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