Educators almost universally agree that time in the classroom should encompass more than simply teaching students how to perform academic tasks and recall information. Students should also be learning how to apply those tasks in their everyday lives and understand how the information they’re learning relates to the real world and the people around them. That’s why it has become so important for educators to consider social and emotional learning (SEL) in their lesson planning.
The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) defines SEL as “the process through which children and adults acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.” Based on this, CASEL has broken SEL down into five interrelated competencies: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision making.
In this first installment of our five-part series on the SEL competencies, we’re going to take a look at how you can incorporate self-awareness into your classroom.
Self-Awareness in Your Classroom
Learning self-awareness allows students to see how others see them, and it’s an important skill that can also help students learn how to self-advocate and embrace good study habits. Give students opportunities to explore and understand how they learn.
As a classroom activity, you can help students set individual academic goals each week. At the end of the week, ask students to reflect on why they did or didn’t achieve their goal. Then ask students to think about what changes they can make to overcome challenges or improve their methods for achieving their goal the following week. This gives students the ability to recognize how their strengths and weaknesses relate to their performance, enabling them to regulate their behaviors in ways that improve their learning.
Be sure to also remind students of their accountability to their own learning. While this is a responsibility, frame it as empowerment. Their success is largely in their hands. With that in mind, work with students to identify potential bad habits that might be interfering with their success. Negative mindsets, reluctance to work with and make use of classmates, and other self-defeating qualities can be identified and resolved by a student capable of self-auditing.
Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning. (n.d.). Core SEL competencies. CASEL. Retrieved from https://casel.org/social-and-emotional-learning-and-positive-behavioral-interventions-and-supports/
Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning. (n.d.). What is SEL? CASEL. Retrieved from https://casel.org/what-is-sel/