SEL Intro #4: Self Awareness

Self ReflectionThis is the fourth in a series of informational blog posts: SEL Intro #4. Check back weekly or search our archive for more!

What Is Self Awareness?

The Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning  (CASEL) includes self awareness as one of its five core competencies for “promoting interpersonal and cognitive competence”. Promoting interpersonal and cognitive competence is basically another way of saying Social Emotional Learning (SEL). In this case, CASEL’s detailed definition of self awareness includes the abilities to identify emotions, accurately perceive oneself, recognize strengths, have self confidence and be self efficacious (able to produce a desired result).

These smaller pieces play crucial roles in the EDMO Method®  SEL Skills and Mindsets, too. In fact, CASEL’s findings were part of the research used to develop the EDMO® Method. But our method is more than just SEL. It extends beyond to include the character traits of curiosity, courage and kindness, which make us feel better and fuel our passion for STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art & Math).

What Does Self Awareness Do?

This group of abilities, or skills, that make up self awareness can be thought of as  one of several sets of puzzle pieces that make up the giant jigsaw that is human behavior. When these puzzle pieces fit together properly (just as well developed SEL skills do), we have success dealing with people, acquiring knowledge and getting things done. For example, let’s do a thought experiment. We’ll start with something simple, like the idea of managing a particular emotion, maybe anger.

In order to have cognitive and interpersonal competence (or “success”) when I feel angry, I rely on self awareness to:

  • be able to identify anger when I feel it (identify emotions)
  • have a reasonable idea of what I look like to others when I feel angry (accurately perceive oneself)
  • know methods for managing angry feelings that have been successful for me in the past (recognize strengths)
  • be confident that I *can* handle these feelings in a manner appropriate to where I am and who I am with (have self confidence)
  • be able to implement a set of steps that make up one of the methods that has worked for me in the past  to manage feeling angry in this set of circumstances with these particular people (be self efficacious)

Why Is It Important?

While the idea of managing our emotions may seem simple at first, just look back at how much is going on in there! Then think of how many different emotions we have and how vast the set of skills (or puzzle pieces) needed to manage all of them must be. Robert Plutchik’s wheel of emotion pictured below should give you some idea of how humungous a task that is!Robert Plutchik's Wheel of EmotionIt’s also important to see how self awareness can fit into the rest of the puzzle. So take a step back for a wider view of our experiment. What caused the anger in the first place?  What puzzle pieces (skills) do I need to deal with that sort of situation? In this case, I happen to know that my anger was caused by frustration when trying to solve a problem in science class. I’ll move on to that next post!

More Info, Please?

You can learn more about the core competency Self Awareness by following the links below:

Still not sure about what SEL is? Check our original post in this series: SEL Intro #1: What is Social Emotional Learning? Plus, be on the lookout for the next in this series of posts: SEL Intro #5: Self Management.