Self-Control Strategies for School-Age Children – Angela Duckworth

Angela Duckworth, 2013 MacArthur Fellow

Angela Duckworth speaks about Self Control as part of the Presidential Symposium at the 27th APS Annual Convention, New York City

Presentation Detailed Recap

5 Stages in the process model of self-control

Situation Selection

Choose where to be or choose your situation


  • Sitting in front of the class instead of the back will put you in a position to focus on what you need to be doing than get distracted by stuff you rather be doing.
  • Getting into the wrong crowds at school would socially influence you negatively.

Situation Modification

Some students don’t have the luxury or ability to change where they are, so its important to modify the situation where its optimal for the student to learn effectively. Changing the aspect of your situation would greatly enhance that and significantly reduce temptations and/or distractions.


  • Closing your laptop in class
  • Putting your phone in a different room than where you are studying so you aren’t tempted to touch it.

Selective Attention

Cognitive Change

Change your mind. Reframe the situation from a different or outside perspective.

Response Modulation

Students tell us to choose your situation is more effective than any other cognitive strategies. Intervening earlier is better than intervening later.

Studies reveals that students with more self control also have strong study habits.

Angela Duckworth end her presentation quoting William James

“Our virtues are habits as much as our vices… Our nervous systems have…grown to the way in which they have been exercised, just as a sheet of paper or a coat, once creased or folded, tends to fall forever afterward into the same identical folds.”
William James – Talks to Teachers – Chapter 8 – 1899

Learn more of Angela Duckworth’s work on her website @


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