The Impact of Self-control in the Danish Folkeskole

Student thesis: Master thesis (including HD thesis)

  • Mads Friche
4. term, Learning and Innovative Change, Master (Master Programme)
How does individual self-control affect lessons in a Danish 9th grade class?
Self-control is a widely used term, which has been researched for decays. Most of the research regarding self-control, however, is focused on the psychological aspects of the individual behavior, and very little research has been conducted regarding the consequences of the lack of self-control, in pupils in a classroom. The causes of human actions are extremely complex, and many surrounding factors, genetics, and the specific relations in the situation influences the action. Instead of focusing on whether or not the specific action was related to self-control, I focused whether or not it could be related to self-control, since the consequences of those two does not vary. To investigate this, it is necessary to have a definition of the term self-control, which I define as following:
“Self-control is the ability to override desires and impulses, in order to achieve long-term goals”
This definition was made by Walter Mischel (2015) in his work The Marshmallow Test, and similar definitions appear in most studies done on the subject. Procrastination and impulsivity are to commonly used aspects of research in self-control, but very little evidence support the idea that these traits correlate. Piquero et al. (2010) argued that self-control consisted of different sub-traits but failed to distinguish properly between these in the conclusion of their review. Individuals who score high on impulsivity, does not necessarily procrastinate and vice versa, which is essential when it comes to observing self-control in a context. Most studies regarding self-control involves both aspects but does not properly distinguish between the traits. In this paper I argue that self-control should be divided into sub-traits, especially when the objective is regarding the consequences in a social context. By observing a Danish 9.th grade class for a day, and interviewing six pupils, I conclude that impulsivity and procrastination have very different consequences for the student and for the rest of the class. Lack of self-control regarding impulsivity was observed as the main reason for most of the unrest that happened and one pupil making noises, tended to lead to more pupils losing their ability to focus and concentrate. Procrastination seemed prevent some of the pupils from doing their homework, which did not interfere with rest of the lecture. Since the diverse types of self-control include different traits, especially when we look at the consequences in a social situation, it is important for researchers to distinguish between the traits.
Mischel, W., (2015), Skumfidustesten, Klim
Piquero, A., Jennings, W., Farrington, D. (2010) Self-control interventions for children under age 10 for improving self-control and delinquency and problem behaviors. The Campbell Collaboration
LanguageDanish
Publication date30 May 2018
Number of pages55
ID: 280109922