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How can teachers promote self-determination

Some students just get through the whole process of education from preschool onwards without giving much thought on what they really want to do with their lives after school. For this reason, it is imperative that teachers take on the responsibility of guiding their students to achieve self-determination since they spend more time at school than at home.

Here are some things that the teachers can do to help promote self-determination among their students:

1. Ask their students their expectations from the class at the start of the year.

2. Develop structures that lead to self-directed learning. Let the students discover some things for themselves. They do not need to be spoon-fed all the time.

3. Provide projects that promote group or class rewards. This instills the value of achieving a goal not just for self-gain but also for the benefits of others on the team.

4. Allow students to practice self-assessment. This will allow them to be their own critiques and improve on their own perceived weaknesses and hone their strengths.

5. Include activities that stimulate decision-making skills.

6. Teach them several communication skills to help them express themselves.

7. Help them be informed of relevant social information, promoting social awareness and sensitivity. Furthermore, channel several activities that will focus on these particular skills:

  • Choice Making
  • Decision Making
  • Problem Solving
  • Goal Setting
  • Self-Advocacy and Leadership
  • Self-Management and Self-Regulation
  • Self-Awareness and Self-Knowledge

After learning these basic skills, the students have to exercise them as often as possible to make them deeply ingrained in their lifestyle. However, teachers need not fret about planning several activities to let them practice their newly-discovered skills because there are several opportunities in their environment that will allow them to do so.

Teachers only need to point out how simple day-to-day scenarios can be applications of the self-determination skills. These include the sports or games they engage in, how they can choose and work towards everyday goals, or how they can show respect to varying cultures and traditions of some of their classmates’ families.

Self-determination is a key concept that students need to learn for them to progress well into adulthood. Teachers must see to it that they serve not only as academic mentors but somehow as life coaches as well.


“Self-Determination in the Classroom”.Self-Determination Resource Website.Retrieved on May 29, 2012 from

“Self-Determination Strategies”.Texas Statewide Leadership for Autism.Posted on December 31, 2010).Retrieved on May 29, 2012 from

Council for Exceptional Children’s Division of Career Development and Transition Publications

Committee.“Fast Facts: Self-Determination”. (Posted on December 12, 2011). Retrieved on May 29, 2012 from

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