The Evidence Portal

Learning and development activities to enable meta-cognition and self-regulation

Flexible activity

Learning and development activities that underpin aspects of the Mindfulness and self-regulation, and the Self-concept, self-efficacy and confidence core components. Specifically, these activities enable skill-building around stress management, emotion regulation and coping skills. This can include learning about behaviour or process ‘loops’ that explain recurring patterns of behaviour, thought recognition, the relationship between emotions and behaviours, the mind-body connection and how the brain works and changes with learning.

There is a great deal of underlying theory and principle-based learning that underpins skills associated with mindfulness, self-regulation, emotion regulation and cognitive strategies for managing heightened emotional situations. This activity imparts this foundational information to ground and introduce skill-building around stress management, coping and emotion regulation.

How can it be implemented?

This content can be delivered via structured or unstructured learning, multimedia or social media platforms, interactive sessions, review sessions and through home-learning, homework and at-home practice.

Structured learning:

  • Structured learning includes lessons or educational messages that follow a protocol, plan or guide. Examples include established curriculum delivered by trained facilitators.

Unstructured learning:

  • Unstructured learning includes lessons or educational messages that do not follow a prescribed pattern or sequence. This allows facilitators to deliver content in a manner more tailored and responsive to their program participants.

Multimedia or social media platforms:

  • Educational content can be delivered via web platforms, social media platforms, audio and/or visual streaming platforms and via text messaging.

Interactive sessions:

  • Educational content can also be delivered via interactive sessions including via group discussion, group work, peer learning, modelling and/or performances.

Review sessions:

  • Review sessions that reinforce learned educational content can assist to summarise key messages and embed learning.

Homework, at-home practice and written assignments:

  • Homework, at-home practice and written assignments can also reinforce learned content.

Who is the target group?

This flexible activity has been implemented with a number of different target groups. Key characteristics include:

  • Students in grades 5-8
  • Students enrolled in continuation high schools
  • Students enrolled in middle schools where the majority of students are classified as economically disadvantaged
  • 9-10th grade students aged 14-16 from a diverse, medium-to-large sized low-income public high school with substantial levels of conflict
  • Students considered at-risk for school failure
  • 6-8th grade students aged 12-15

What programs conduct this activity?

  • In Mindfulness-based stress reduction (adapted version), didactic material relating to the mind-body connection is delivered.
  • Project Towards No Drug Abuse (TND) teaches students material around positive and negative thought behaviour loops. Students learn how positive or negative thinking, choices and behaviour are tied together as process loops.
  • In Speaking to the Potential, Ability and Resilience Inside Every Kid (SPARK) Pre-Teen Mentoring Curriculum, a series of coordinated lessons delivered in a specific order and incorporating multiple learning activities target thought recognition, the dynamics of feelings, and the ability to use thought chains in decision-making.
  • In No program name: Incremental intervention, two of six educational sessions focus on neuroanatomy and explain how the brain changes with learning. Students are given ‘brain challenge’ worksheets to complete.
  • In CERTIFY – Cognitive Emotion Regulation Training Intended for Youth, students are introduced to the concept of cognitive emotion regulation across a series of 11 sessions including an introductory and concluding session. The concluding session serves as a review of the content learned across the course of the intervention.
  • In IVRE + ER, the first two emotion regulation content sessions focus on the relationship between emotions and behaviours as well as emotion education.

What else should I consider?

Delivery of learning and development activities should take into account the age and developmental maturity of the targeted cohort. Educational materials and lessons should be age-appropriate and where relevant, culturally sensitive and appropriate.

If online or video activities are going to be implemented, service providers and participants will require access to devices and/or software to view and engage with the content.

Further resources

Last updated:

24 Nov 2022

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