We need the willpower to promote self-discipline.
May 6, 2011 5:10 AM   Subscribe

My class is in charge of promoting the value of "self-discipline" around the school in the form of posters/messages/etc during the month of June. What would be some good ways to promote that value?

I was thinking about lifting ideas from tumblr as there are a lots of images about motivation and willpower there but I'd love more ideas.

If it matters my students are 13-14 years old.
posted by Memo to Education (10 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I went to a gym that had a large perpetual-type calendar posted that encouraged the 30-days-to-habit maxim. It said "Today Is _____ (full date). On _____(full date 30 days later). I will be _____(and this was actually blank)." Then beneath the dates it had lists of good habits that you could acquire within 30 days for ideas (eating 5 veggies a day, walking to 3 appointments per week, not watching TV in bed, flossing, saving $3.00/day . . . etc).

I always kind of liked it because the suggestions were simple and seemed doable and there was a tangible deadline staring me in the face. There was a little info sign near it, as well, explaining how habits develop. FWIW, I actually did acquire a good habit from that time (that I still have) by using the deadline and the idea from that poster/calendar.
posted by rumposinc at 5:41 AM on May 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

Your question reminded me of this poster, though at that age your students might appreciate the courage wolf version a little bit more.
posted by Rinku at 5:56 AM on May 6, 2011

Self-discipline for that age group, in my experience with a 14-year-old son and seeing several nieces and nephews through teenagedom, is putting down the phone/video game/computer screen to do things like homework/practice music/extra-curricular activities/have dinner with your family.

It's hard for them to delay gratification and for them, logical consequences don't often happen right away (the grades don't come til later, for example). Maybe you could tie that into some messages somehow.
posted by cooker girl at 6:40 AM on May 6, 2011

Recent studies have shown that, beyond talent (which can't be learned or trained) and beyond privilege (which doesn't change) the one common ingredient with those who are extremely good at stuff is the 10,000 hour theory, which basically states it takes 10,000 hours of practice to excel at something—anything, actually. Sports, computers, acting… you name it, you can do it, it just takes 10,000 hours.

If I were coming up with a poster, I would have something like this:
IT TAKES 10,000 hours to achieve mastery of ANYTHING. ready? GO.

posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:52 AM on May 6, 2011 [6 favorites]

This blog highlights amazing pro-social campaigns.
posted by k8t at 6:53 AM on May 6, 2011

You have a class filled with 13-14 year olds, each with fresh new ideas and you are asking us?

If they don't know what self-discipline is, that's one thing - give them some source material to learn about self discipline. But, if you want something to resonate with 13-14 year olds, let the 13-14 year olds have a stake in it: Do a day of research, a quick 3 minute presentation by each student, then have them write slogans as teams. Put it to a vote, and have them put their plan into action.
posted by Nanukthedog at 8:11 AM on May 6, 2011

I'd think that some sort of school-wide program or activity would be more effective at promoting self-discipline that a series of posters. Organize a good-habits pledge month and focus the posters and messages around that (ideas for good habits to adopt, etc.).
posted by SomeTrickPony at 8:24 AM on May 6, 2011

If you do an activity, you could have them learn about or watch some of the YouTube videos recreating the Marshmallow Experiment.
posted by deludingmyself at 9:42 AM on May 6, 2011

Though rereading that article, the tone's a bit too deterministic for trying to encourage kids to work on willpower. I still think there's potential in the idea, but you'd have to frame it in a useful way.
posted by deludingmyself at 9:45 AM on May 6, 2011

I agree with Nanukthedog - you don't need ideas, you just need to provide structure. I would walk them through these question -
What does "self-discipline" mean?
Why do we care?
What does it look like in action? (examples of how kids their age use self-discipline and what they get out of it)
Brainstorming ideas for posters - theme, slogan etc.
Form working groups and have them decide what they want their poster to be. (with some structure to make sure there is variety.)
Encourage creativity in designing and executing the poster - perhaps each group has to come up with 3 rough sketches for different ways of implementing their design idea and then pick one.
posted by metahawk at 10:25 AM on May 6, 2011

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