Self-Control Lesson Plan

Instructor: Suzanne Rose

Suzanne has taught all levels PK-graduate school and has a PhD in Instructional Systems Design. She currently teachers literacy courses to preservice and inservice teachers.

Through this lesson plan that focuses on self-control, students will learn about delayed gratification and self-control, and will practice self-control in various situations through role-playing activities.

Learning Objectives

As a result of this lesson, students will

  • Define self-control
  • Explain the theory behind self-control and relate it to Freud
  • Respond to situations that require self-control through role-playing


60-90 minutes

Curriculum Standards


Apply knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts, to make effective choices for meaning or style, and to comprehend more fully when reading or listening.


Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 11-12 topics, texts, and issues, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.

Materials Needed

  • SmartBoard or projector to display lesson
  • What is Self-Control? Definition & Theory Quiz (1 per person)
  • Self-control scenario cards


  • Self-control
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Delayed gratification


  • Ask students what they think of when they hear the phrase 'self-control.' After discussion of the phrase, ask if any of them can give an example of a time they lost their self-control and the situation ended badly for them.
  • Display the lesson What Is Self-Control? Definition & Theory using a projector or SmartBoard. Ask the students to silently read the first section of the lesson, 'Self-Control Overview' as you read it aloud.
  • Ask students if they are surprised that losing self-control can be so expensive or that it can come back to haunt you years after the event. Brainstorm and discuss ways that the project manager could have handled the situation without losing self-control.
  • Return to the lesson and have students read along with the next section, 'What is Self-Control?' Discuss the meaning of 'emotional intelligence.' Have they heard that term before? What does it mean? What are some ways described in the lesson that they could use to help develop self-control or emotional intelligence?
  • Return to the lesson and have students silently read the final sections, 'Self-Control Theory' and 'Lesson Summary' as you read them aloud. Ask the students if they have heard of Sigmund Freud and what they associate with his name. Were they surprised that psychologists believe you can strengthen your self-control just be exercising it? What does this mean?
  • Give each student a copy of the What Is Self-Control? Definition & Theory Quiz to complete as a check for understanding.


Activity 1

  • Divide students into pairs.
  • Give each pair of students a scenario written on an index card. Scenarios should be examples of common events that would challenge self-control, such as 'You just bought a whole chocolate cake at the bakery. You love chocolate cake and have already eaten three pieces in one hour.' For each scenario, the students need to determine:
    • What is the issue that is causing self-control problems?
    • What are some possible solutions to this issue?
    • Which solutions will help 'exercise' your 'self-control muscle?' (For example, not buying cake does not exercise your self-control; it removes the temptation completely so that it doesn't need to be managed.)
  • After the pairs are finished responding to these questions, put two pairs of students together and have them share their scenarios and ideas for dealing with each one.

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