How to Teach Self-Awareness as Part of a Social-Emotional Learning Curriculum

A young boy writing in a notebook at a desk

Social-emotional learning, the process of understanding and managing emotions to have better social interactions and make good decisions, is a big part of preparing students for the future. Lately, schools have become more focused on including social-emotional learning as part of the curriculum because studies show improved academic and behavioral outcomes for students who have this instruction baked into their education. 

One important piece of the social-emotional curriculum is developing intrapersonal intelligence.


What Is Intrapersonal Intelligence?

Intrapersonal intelligence means self-awareness or introspection. People who have high intrapersonal intelligence are aware of their emotions, motivations, beliefs, and goals. They know what they like, what they dislike, who they are, and what they want to do. 

Students with intrapersonal intelligence are often self-motivated, organized, confident, and goal oriented. 


How to Teach Self-Awareness Skills to Help Students Thrive in School

Although some students are naturally more in tune with their intrapersonal intelligence, all students can develop these strengths. Intrapersonal skills help students recognize their strengths and weaknesses, which is essential for setting goals. Those with intrapersonal skills are often peacemakers who are instinctively good at dealing with conflict, making decisions, and managing time and stress. These students work well independently and in groups. 


Here are a few activities that will exercise your student’s intrapersonal skills:
  • Setting specific goals to help prioritize his or her workload—at school or at a job.
  • Writing a brief monologue from the perspective of a historical figure. Have your child deliver it in character to a supportive audience of family or close friends.
  • Spending an hour alone creating a unique project or craft. Encourage your child to take it to another level by photographing and/or writing a descriptive paragraph explaining the creation.
  • Starting a journal. Suggest that your student commits to writing in it daily for at least a month. Every day, he or she should describe an idea, feeling, or experience that reflects the person he or she is. This is not a diary to keep track of personal events; it is a journal of your child’s thoughts and reactions. He or she should put it somewhere safe to share with him- or herself 10 years from now.
  • Brainstorming types of professions at which a thoughtful, reflective person can excel, such as a writer, therapist, researcher, or entrepreneur. Which careers does your student think fit his or her strengths?

You can help your student master social-emotional skills for a lifetime of benefits by starting with a focus on self-awareness as part of a social-emotional learning curriculum.

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