ACT for Youth Center of Excellence

Self-Management

Social and Emotional Learning - Self-ManagementSocial and Emotional Learning (SEL) enhances our ability to manage our feelings, thoughts, and behaviors in a variety of contexts. In this part of the SEL Toolkit, we link to resources that help youth work professionals:
  • Promote a growth mindset and grit
  • Nurture motivation to learn
  • Facilitate goal setting
  • Facilitate emotional regulation
  • Integrate mindfulness practices
Following these topics you will find resources designed especially for young people.

Promote a Growth Mindset and Grit

Carol Dweck and other researchers have observed that rewarding effort, grit, and perseverance helps children and adolescents develop a growth mindset -- the belief that you can learn and achieve by making persistent efforts. By contrast, those who have a "fixed" mindset believe that innate ability, rather than effort, determines success. A growth mindset increases learning and exploration as well as the ability to handle frustration and failure, while a fixed mindset can lead to a sense of inadequacy as well as failure to keep trying if success isn't achieved right away.

Strategies to promote a growth mindset include:

  • Educate youth about growth and fixed mindsets
     
  • Discourage labels -- such as "smart" or "dumb" -- that convey fixed ability
     
  • Praise effort, strategies, and progress, not intelligence or abilities
     
  • Provide challenging activities with the understanding that challenges are fun and mistakes help people learn and improve

Mindset

Carol Dweck's website describes her research and findings. It also provides an online self-assessment and strategies to develop a growth mindset.

WebWebsite

Carol Dweck - A Study on Praise and Mindsets

This video describes Carol Dweck's research on the effects of praise on students. The study involved over 400 fifth-graders from all over the United States.

VideoVideo (5 minutes)

Mindset and Motivation in Adolescence

"Growth" and "fixed" mindsets have an impact on our levels of achievement and how we feel about failure and learning. In this article, Kristen Elmore introduces the research on mindsets.

WebArticle

Encouraging Growth Mindsets

Growth mindsets support learning, while fixed mindsets can make us reluctant to challenge ourselves. How can people who work with adolescents encourage them to adopt growth mindsets?

WebArticle

Mindset Works: Motivate Students to Grow Their Minds!

These web pages contain videos about Carol Dweck's work and research, as well as interviews with teachers and students.

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Step it Up 2 Thrive: Growth Mindset

These web pages from the Thrive Foundation for Youth include reading material, youth activities, lesson plans, and tips on how to develop growth mindsets.

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WKCD: Growth Mindset and Why It Matters

What Kids Can Do (WKCD) has assembled five short videos that provide a lively introduction to the growth mindset for students as well as teachers.

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Angela Lee Duckworth: The Key to Success? Grit

This TED Talk by psychologist Angela Lee Duckworth highlights her research on grit and perseverance as key factors for success.

VideoTED Talk (6 minutes)

Edutopia: Teaching Grit Cultivates Resilience and Perseverance

In rural New Hampshire, fifth-grade teacher Amy Lyon has created a curriculum based on researcher Angela Lee Duckworth's ideas about grit. Students set and work toward their own long-term goals, learning valuable lessons about dealing with frustration and distractions along the way.

VideoVideo (6 minutes)

Nurture Motivation to Learn

How Youth Learn: a Portfolio to Inform and Inspire Educators, Students, Parents & More

Part of the WKCD "How Youth Learn" Portfolio, The Motivation Equation is a free e-manual on inspiring young people to learn. The portfolio includes additional resources such as research highlights and student voices, as well as multimedia education tools such as the video Ned's Gr8 8: An Insider's Guide to the Teenage Brain.

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Fires in the Mind

Based on the book of the same title, this WKCD website provides resources and practical tips on how to engage young people in learning skills.

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Facilitate Goal Setting

To facilitate goal setting, invite reflection about life purpose and the future. Ask questions like:
  • What are your hopes and dreams?
  • Which one is most important to you just now?
  • What can you do now to bring that dream a little closer?
  • What do you love doing most?
  • What do you do that makes you feel really good about yourself?
  • Who do you really admire and why?

Edutopia: Setting S.M.A.R.T Goals

This page provides a video and lesson plan to help young people set goals using the SMART framework.

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Facilitate Emotional Regulation

General strategies for helping youth learn to manage their emotions include:
  • Encourage youth to name and express their emotions
  • Acknowledge their emotions (empathic listening)
  • Model emotional self-regulation and positive self-talk:
    • I am not going to let it get to me
    • I can handle this
    • I can calm down
    • I have other friends who like me
    • With more practice, I'll get it
    • Everyone makes mistakes. I'll do better next time
  • Role play situations using a problem-solving approach:
    • Define: What is the problem and how am I feeling about it?
    • Brainstorm: What can I do about it?
    • Evaluate possible solutions: What would happen if I did this?
    • Implement: Am I doing what I decided to do?
    • Evaluate: How did it turn out?

PBIS World: Teach Coping Skills

This web page offers general strategies and tips on how to teach coping skills. In addition, it addresses specific stressors, linking to techniques and resources.

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Emotional intelligence Curriculum

University of Illinois Extension provides activities to develop emotional intelligence for three different age groups.

PDFAges 8-10

PDFAges 11-12

PDFAges 13-18

Assessing Stress in Children and Youth: A Guide for Out-of-School Time Program Practitioners

This Child Trends research brief is designed to help out-of-school program practitioners recognize and reduce the consequences of stress.

PDFResearch Brief

Integrate Mindfulness Practices

Helpguide's Benefits of Mindfulness

Mindfulness is the practice of purposely focusing your attention on the present moment -- and accepting it without judgment. This web page provides guidance and simple mindfulness practices, with links to resources.

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Greater Good: Mindfulness

Berkeley's Greater Good Science Center, University of California, provides mindfulness guidance and resources, including a series of videos.

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Edutopia: How to Start a Meditation Program in Your School

This page provides guidance and successful strategies on establishing meditation practices in classroom settings.

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Edutopia: Quiet Time Primer

This brief primer gives concrete instruction and process descriptions on how to set up meditation and quiet practices with youth.

PDFHandout

Resources for Young People

ACT Youth Network: Lead the Way!

This section of ACT for Youth's website for young people helps youth identify their leadership style and set goals.

WebYouth Web Pages

ACT Youth Network: Got Stress?

This section of ACT for Youth's website for young people helps youth explore the purpose of stress, stress signals, coping strategies, and ways to reduce stress.

WebYouth Web Pages

TeensHealth: Stress and Coping Center

This youth site from Nemours Foundation includes articles on stress, mental health conditions, and getting and giving help.

WebYouth Web Pages

Center for Young Women's Health: Emotional Health

Developed by Boston Children's Hospital, this Center offers young women many resources on emotional health, stress management, and coping.

WebYouth Web Pages

Young Men's Health: Emotional Health

Boston Children's Hospital offers young men resources for dealing with stress, depression, and anger, as well as friendships, among other topics.

WebYouth Web Pages

ReachOut.com

Originally created in Australia and now supported by the Inspire USA Foundation, this interactive website is for youth who face tough times and may struggle with mental health issues. Written by and for teens and young adults, the site provides facts, stories, videos, and other resources.

WebYouth Website