Content Strategies for Self-Awareness: An SEL Connected Book Preview
Updated: Apr 2
"Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom." - Aristotle
We perceive the world through the lens of self. Accurately and honestly naming and reflecting on our identity requires first and foremost the skill of self-awareness. CASEL (2020) defines self-awareness: the abilities to understand one’s own emotions, thoughts, and values and how they influence behavior across contexts. These are further distilled into a set of capacities:
Integrating personal and social identities
Identifying personal, cultural, and linguistic assets
Identifying one’s emotions
Demonstrating honesty and integrity
Linking feelings, values, and thoughts
Examining prejudices and biases
Having a growth mindset
Developing interests and a sense of purpose
Through these capacities, students develop an understanding of their identities, cultural assets, and positionality to power. As stated in the introduction, the extent to which social and emotional learning can be used to promote equity is based on the explicit and intentional focus through teaching and enactment. Let’s take a look at an example:
Strategy: Mood Meter
What it is: A tool outlining a continuum of feelings
Capacity: Identifying one’s emotions
General SEL Focus
Students learn vocabulary for various emotions and practice accurately identifying their emotions.
SEL for Equity
In addition to learning the vocabulary, students explore the underlying causes of their emotions and connect them to personal, social, or cultural identities. They also consider the impact their emotions have on others.
As you review the strategies in this section, consider how you will explicitly address equity. When done well, students have the ability to “interrogate their power and privilege, as well as racism, homophobia, sexism, and other forms of violence, to consider what changes they can make within themselves and their world to achieve more equity.” (Simmons, 2019)
In this, and for every section that follows, we present three (3) strategies. It includes information such as activity steps, scaffolds, and tips for online facilitation. At the end of each strategy, there is the story of a strategy in action we call the "spotlight." This is intended to provide shape and color to the strategy in the context of a specific content lesson and grade level.
One of the promises of this book is a bridging of social and emotional learning strategies into everyday content lessons and experiences. And while three is a good start, we wanted to offer more. Below we present additional examples, one content example for each domain capacity. The examples are written at a high-level to allow for adaptation across grade levels. Keep in mind that the examples are merely that, examples. Capacities can be taught within any content area or grade level.
Want the rest of the book? Subscribe to our website to receive your free copy starting on February 15th, 2020. In the meantime, check out some of our other SEL blogs below