Teaching Tuesday: 3 Self-Help Strategies for Students

By Dr. Tracy Vasquez and Dr. Marjaneh Gilpatrick, faculty

female student and male teacher reading together in classroom

As we continue to focus on building positive and safe learning environments for the upcoming semester, we can apply some strategies to help students with self-management skills. Students and families will be more engaged and better equipped to manage stress and emotions when they are prepared with self-help strategies to use in varied learning environments.

Goal Setting

By having students set personal and academic goals at the beginning of each school year or academic semester you provide focused time for students to consider their future in a positive light. When students have created these goals, you can set regular check-ins with them to celebrate progress and establish next steps toward the goals.

It is also important to consider how to strengthen collaborative efforts with the family and discuss the child’s goals. For instance, once a benchmark or other summative assessment has been scored, you can hold a conference with each student to reflect on their performance and set an academic goal to achieve prior to the next summative assessment. You can further encourage students to track their own data using a bar graph to depict their progress, providing a visual aid and a source of encouragement.

Time Management

One way to help students manage their time is to implement smaller goals within given timeframes. For instance, if a student has a goal to read three short novels in a semester, you can help them establish a mini goal to make progress toward the larger goal. Then, check in with them on how many chapters they have read per week. Setting these mini goals will help them determine how to adjust their time to meet the larger goal, reflect on actions to take, and obtain materials they may need.


The role of self-efficacy is to guide students to be learner-centered and learner-driven. As a teacher, you can at first guide students and provide them strategies to self-manage. This is one step to move them toward independent motivation in their learning. For example, embedding regular reflection, journaling, peer-conferencing and utilizing other self-regulation tools will assist students in building their self-confidence to be more self-sufficient in their learning experiences.

When you equip students with a variety of self-management strategies, you are teaching them to embrace challenges. As a result, they will be more likely to take risks and build upon their efforts to reach established goals.

Utilizing these self-help strategies within your school community will help establish a sense of safety for students and families to be resilient in these challenging times. Your role as a teacher is vital in not only teaching these self-management strategies but also supporting students in their progress toward goals.

At Grand Canyon University’s College of Education, our teaching and learning cycle provides a structure for reflection for teacher and principal candidates. It provides guidance based on research regarding the professional teaching and learning process and is grounded in our rich Christian heritage. The teacher and principal candidates personally also progress through the teaching and learning cycle. By doing so, they are better able to have a systematic positive impact on classroom instruction and student learning. Learn more about earning your education degree from GCU and return each week for a new Teaching Tuesday post.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.