Step-by-Step: Teaching Students to Self-Monitor

Rafferty, L. A. (2010). Step-by-Step: Teaching Students to Self-Monitor. Teaching Exceptional Children, 43(2), 50-58

An overarching goal in education is to enable students to become independent and self-sufficient individuals who are able to manage their behaviors without the assistance of others. When students are able to manage their own behaviors (also known as self-regulation), they do not rely on external controls, such as teacher prompting. In general education classrooms, teachers are facing an increasingly diverse population of students with an array of needs. It is not feasible for a teacher to constantly manage a student's behavior. Add 20 to 30 children to the equation and the task becomes daunting. One group of interventions that have been successfully taught and used by students at all grade levels with a wide range of abilities is self-management interventions. Self-management interventions can be used to help students manage a variety of social and academic behaviors. The behavior(s) that are selected for change with a particular intervention are known as the target behavior(s). Typically, when a student is taught how to use a self-management intervention, only one behavior or a set of related behaviors is targeted for remediation at a time. Some examples of target behaviors include, but are not limited to, attention to task, academic productivity, academic accuracy, homework completion, disruptive behavior, and various social behaviors such as peer communication and play. Therefore, educators can teach their students self-management techniques to help them regulate a range of, or selection of their own, academic and/or social behaviors. Self-monitoring is considered to be one of the first steps to self-regulated behavior. It is one of the most researched group of self-management interventions, and research results suggest that students at all grade levels (including those who are typically developing and those who have cognitive or behavioral disabilities) can successfully learn to use and benefit from self-monitoring interventions. This article discusses the steps that can be followed to create and implement these types of interventions.


Link to the Document

Prevention Levels

  • Secondary
  • Tertiary


  • Administrators
  • PBS Coaches
  • PBS Teams
  • Specialists
  • Teachers

System Impacts

  • Classroom Level
  • Individual Student
  • Non-Classroom


  • Developmental Disabilities
  • Early Childhood
  • Elementary School
  • Middle School