Self-Awareness Activities for Students

Instructor: Derek Hughes

Derek has a Masters of Science degree in Teaching, Learning & Curriculum.

Improving students' self-awareness is an important job for any teacher. This lesson will provide several classroom activities for helping students develop and maintain self-awareness.

What is Self-Awareness?

As we move through the day, we are constantly monitoring our feelings, well-being, and perception. That is why practicing self-awareness, or the ability to reflect on oneself as an individual, is so important for students. The skills we use to practice self awareness is often second nature to adults, but these skills need to be taught and practiced during childhood. This lesson will summarize several activities you can use in the classroom to help students practice self-awareness.

Keeping a Journal

Your students are probably already writing in a daily journal. However, you may not realize that this activity is incredibly useful for promoting self-awareness. By including prompts with topics that require students to consider their feelings, emotions, and personality, journal writing can be a powerful tool. However, there are some adjustments that will help regulate the journal-writing routine.

First, it is important that students feel their journal is a safe space to write how they are truly feeling. They should be encouraged to write private thoughts. Some students may be hesitant to do so if they think the teacher will be reading all of their entries. Therefore, by indicating to your students that you will only be scanning their journals to ensure they are writing instead of reading their entries closely, they will be more likely to truly reflect on themselves and write those feelings down.

Alternately, you may want to make only certain journal prompts geared toward self-awareness. This way, you can still read certain journal entries to monitor student writing while clearly indicating that some entries will not be read or checked. Another option might be to allow students to mark which entries should not be read. This gives them more ownership over their writing while making it clear they can share whatever they want in their journals. However, there is always the chance of a student writing something alarming in their journal. In this case, it is best to use your discretion when reading journal entries. If you are particularly concerned about the way a student is acting, their journal entries may provide some more insight. This is a fine line to walk, so use your best judgement and consult administration if needed.

Journal prompts should be general enough so that students can explore their feelings, but specific enough so they have a clear direction. For example, one prompt might read 'When is the last time you felt sad? Why? What other situations might make you feel sad?'. You can also ask students to write fictional stories about characters experiencing such situations, like a story about a girl or boy who was happy. These prompts can also be adjusted for the age of the students you work with. If the intended prompts are for the upper grades, simply increase the complexity of the writing prompts.

Self-Monitoring Checklists

One aspect of self-awareness is knowledge of one's own strengths and weaknesses. When individuals complete a task, they often consider the best way to accomplish it using a unique arsenal of abilities. Activities in school should be similarly self-monitored. Therefore, checklists are a great way to help students master this skill.

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