What is Social Awareness?
Social Awareness is the ability to take the perspective of and empathize with others, including those from diverse backgrounds and cultures. The ability to understand social and ethical norms for behavior and to recognize family, school, and community resources and supports.
- Appreciating diversity
- Respect for others
Why is it important to incorporate Social Awareness into my classroom?
Social Awareness is important because it helps students consider the perspective of other people. It improves their social skills by interacting with people from diverse backgrounds. It helps create an inclusive and comfortable class environment, teaching skills of communication, collaboration, social responsibility, and professionalism. By being more socially aware, students can more easily get involved in a positive interaction with other people and find effective solutions to different social problems. Socially aware students are also less vulnerable to stressful situations and have fewer chances of getting involved in undisciplined behavior.
There are many ways to help students strengthen their social awareness skills within the classroom. Inspire students to start conversations with other students outside of their normal social circles. One way to do this is to change the seating arrangements in the classroom every once and awhile. Allow the students to work in their same groups until they are comfortable with one another, and then rotate the students so they learn to work with other people. This will teach the students how to work with new people. Provide students with opportunities to collaborate and work together on common goals. During classroom assignments, allow them to work in pairs. When the projects are completed, give students time to reflect by journaling about the process of working with their partners. Use the following prompts to guide these students with their thinking:
- How did you feel about working with your peers on this project? Please explain.
- What were the advantages of working with your group on this project?
- What challenges or roadblocks did your group experience while working on this project? How were those challenges overcome?
Another simple technique teachers can use to implicate social awareness in the classroom is teaching active listening skills. An activity that can be used at the beginning or end of class each day is to have the students talk with a partner for five minutes about what they learned that day or how they are feeling. At the end of the conversation, their partner can identify three to five keywords identifying how their partner is feeling.
What is Self Awareness?
Self Awareness is the ability to recognize your own emotions, thoughts, and values. It is the ability to ground yourself in a sense of confidence while also knowing your own strengths and limitations.
- Emotional awareness
- Self confidence
- Self perception
- Self efficacy
Why is it important to incorporate self awareness into my classroom?
Incorporating self awareness in a classroom is important for a student to begin developing a sense of self. Allowing them the space to reflect and think about their families, culture, interests, all allows them to begin acknowledging who they are. By being more self aware, students will become more confident in who they are, be able to recognize their own needs, manage their emotions better, be able to manage stress better, and much more.
Establishing self awareness activities from a young age will allow students to begin growing their self confidence in their abilities and identities that will help them in the long run. Giving students the space to reflect on who they are as they learn new things about the world around them will help with their developmental growth as individuals. As a teacher, you can incorporate self awareness reflection questions or activities into your everyday lesson plans!
Example Self Reflection Questions:
- On a scale from 1 to 10 (1 being bad and 10 being great), how do you feel today?
- What was your favorite part of this activity? Why?
- What could I have done differently in this activity to make it better for you?
- What are 3 things you did well in this project? What are 3 things that could have gone better?
What is Self Management?
Self-management is the ability to successfully regulate one’s emotions, thoughts, and behaviors in different situations. This includes effectively managing stress, controlling impulses, motivating oneself, and working towards achieving personal and academic goals.
Why is is important to incorporate self management in my classroom?
When students are able to identify their emotions, they are better able to regulate them. It is more than recognizing who you are, but how you will use that information about yourself to achieve your goals. We must teach our students how to turn their emotions into actions, so they are able to use this to advocate for themselves and for what they believe in. Students are coming into the classroom with all different backgrounds and experiences. It is important to create a regulated, calm environment, so students know and understand they have a safe space to express their emotions to both the teacher and other students.
Stop. Think. Act. Teach your students that they have the control to pause, breathe, and think about how they are going to react to a certain situation or emotion. Provide a space within your classroom, for example, a bean bag chair in the corner, where they can go when they need to take a breath. Providing this space acknowledges that it is okay to pause and think about turning your emotions into actions.
What is Relationship Skills?
The ability to establish relationships to create and maintain healthy and supportive relationships, that supports the student to move through life using their own lenses to demonstrate empathy and with diverse individuals and groups.
It is not only stating clearly your point across, but understanding facial expressions, body language, verbal and nonverbal cues, and gestures that can help individuals understand
Being an active listener provides individuals to take a step further consciously to understand how the person feels and interprets, making a big effort to put themselves in the position of the person wanting to be heard
They can use appropriate eye contact, facial expressions, responding, and limiting their distractions to focus on the other individual
Cooperate with others
Supporting one another so they can motivate one another to focus and achieve a goal together, building a community within one another.
Resisting inappropriate social pressures
Communicate and understand to commit to not engage in unsafe, unwanted, and inappropriate behaviors that can lead to destructive patterns of behavior and actions.
Negotiating conflict constructively
Individuals need to reflect on their experiences and if they come across a situation, where conflict escalates. They are able to resolve calmly or think of different ways how to handle the situation, to make an appropriate decision that can de-escalate the situation, and to find a middle ground for both parties.
Seek help or offer support
Individuals need to be pushed to check on their own understanding of both academic and social situations. Students need to be able to identify if they are in need of help and/or when to ask for help.
Why is it important for students to develop Relationship Skills?
Students will be able to actively listen to others, communicate clearly, cooperate with others, and lastly advocate for others who come from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds. Cooperation will help students to learn how to be flexible and adaptable, such as taking turns, respecting one another’s thoughts, even if they agree or disagree. It provides students to listen well and understand that they are all different and respecting their differences. Students will recognize when they identify and observe unfair treatment, so they are able to seek and offer support when needed.
What is Responsible Decision Making?
Responsible Decision Making is the ability to make constructive and respectful choices about personal behavior and social interactions based on consideration of ethical standards, safety concerns, social norms, the realistic evaluation of consequences of various actions, and the well-being of self and others.
In order for students to effectively make responsible decisions, they must develop competency with the following abilities:
Identify the problem: Students must be able to accurately recognize when they have encountered a problem. Problems can range from difficulty meeting the expectations in a classroom, to choosing whether or not to complete homework, or even deciding to engage in unhealthy behavior, such as lying or using banned substances. It is important that students are able to appropriately acknowledge when they are faced with a problem. For some, recognizing that they are in a difficult situation can be challenging as a result of their language-based difficulties or social communication weaknesses.
Analyze the situation: Once students have succeeded in identifying the problem, they must then learn to analyze the situation from a variety of angles, which includes identifying how and why the problem arose. To build this skill, students may benefit from educator guidance to fully understand their role in the developing situation.
Solve the problem: After students have sufficiently identified, analyzed, and considered the problem, they then need to develop and practice methods for solving problems. They need to identify possible options and explore the potential consequences of each option. Educators can play a role in guiding the practice and implementation of these methods. Individual students may even need to be creative in their solutions to fit their own profiles.
Consider ethical responsibility: In addition to the natural or identified consequences of a decision, students must also consider any ethical or moral obligations they may feel or be held to. For instance, before a student chooses to look at someone else’s test, the student will need to consider the potential ethical and moral repercussions of cheating.
Evaluate and reflect: Evaluating and reflecting on what happened is almost as important as the decision-making process itself. When students take the time to evaluate how successfully they identified, analyzed, and solved a problem, they are more apt to engage in appropriate reflection on what went well and what could be improved. This reflection allows students to note any necessary changes and work to incorporate those in their next decision-making opportunity.
Why is it important to incorporate Responsible Decision Making in my classroom?
Developing responsible decision-making skills can depend significantly on practice and feedback with a Teacher. In order for students to fully understand when they encounter a problem, it is important for them to engage in instruction and reflection with guided feedback. This process will increase their awareness and ability to navigate those situations, as well as build their understanding of how to analyze all possible consequences of different outcomes in order to make the best choice. This activity is meant for long term learning throughout the year. Letting them know that they should not only hold themselves accountable but others as well.
Created with images by Priscilla Du Preez - "Library shelves" • Tim Gouw - "Selfie"