Self-Concept Activities for Students

Instructor: Clio Stearns

Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.

Helping your students know and understand themselves is an important part of your role as their teacher! This lesson offers self-concept activities that your students will learn from and enjoy.

Self-Concept and Your Students

As teachers, we certainly have a lot to think about. We worry about our students' academic progress and their social worlds and behavior. Yet it is also deeply important for us to think about our students' emotional well-being. One aspect of this is their self-concept.

Self-concept is students' way of seeing and thinking about themselves. When a student knows and understands herself, her strengths, struggles, and style, she is able to seek help, feel confident, and succeed as a thinker and learner. Self-concept is something that develops gradually over time, so it's not the sort of thing you can teach in a one-timelesson. The activities presented here will help you understand and work on your students' self-concepts little by little.

Visual Activities

Self-Portrait in Action

One thing you can do to help your students develop a strong self-concept is have them paint portraits of themselves doing something they love or feel capable doing. Let your students use small mirrors to look at themselves as they paint or sketch, and really think about their different physical features, skin color, and style. At the same time, help them think about seeing themselves in action, not statically. As they paint, they can talk with others about the activity they have chosen to portray and what they think it says about themselves.

Collage of Me

Another great way to get students working visually as they develop their self-concept is to have them create collages. Use old magazines and catalogues for this activity, and give each student a large piece of paper to work with. They should cut out pictures that they associate with their identity; these might be things they love, pictures that represent their strengths, or images representing things they are working on. Let your students share their collages with their classmates.

Verbal Activities

I Am, I Am Not

Ask your students to write as many sentences as they can beginning with the prompt, 'I am.' Then, ask them to write as many sentences as they can beginning with the prompt, 'I am not.' Then, ask students to read back over their sentences and think about what they learned about themselves from doing this writing exercise. As a group, help your students reflect on what aspects of their self-concept grow and change when they have to think explicitly about how they do and do not see themselves.

Introduction Poem

Have each of your students write a poem that they believe could be used to introduce themselves to others. Their poems should identify which of their qualities they consider unique and especially worthy of knowing or acknowledging. The poems might also express things with which they struggle. Hold a self-concept poetry slam that allows your students share their work.

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