ResilientKids™ Teacher Guide

Self-Awareness

This section defines the key concepts covered in this chapter. These are the central themes upon which the activities are based.

♦ SELF-KNOWLEDGE

This concept includes identifying feelings and emotions, discovering self-perception, recognizing strengths and building a sense of self-confidence and self-efficacy. Teachable in an age-appropriate way, these skills provide context for and a deeper understanding of self-awareness.

♦ SELF-CONFIDENCE

Believing in our own self-worth makes us less reliant on others’ views for our own valuation. People with self-confidence have an intrinsic motivation for learning and growth. They are more successful, able to present themselves well, and possess the courage to stand out from the crowd and make decisions true to their values. Self-confidence increases with introspection.

♦ SELF-COMPASSION

Dr. Kristin Neff, an expert on self-compassion, defines this concept as simply treating yourself as kindly as you would a close friend when they’re having a hard time. This helps us to recognize that we are all part of the same human experience and we all have shortcomings and will fail at times. In this chapter, we incorporate self-compassion as the first step of heartfulness, when our heart is full of the present, as we build awareness of how we talk to ourselves.   

♦ GROWTH MINDSET

The term ‘growth mindset’ was coined over 30 years ago by psychologist Carol Dweck.  Dweck's research shows that students who believe that their abilities are developed through dedication and hard work, rather than innate talent, are more likely to persevere and show resilience when things get tough. Teachers can instill a growth mindset in their students by celebrating mistakes as learning opportunities, recognizing the effort instead of the outcome, and emphasizing that the brain is like a muscle that gets stronger through hard work and practice.

♦ AUTOPILOT

In a recent study, it was discovered that we are “checked out” with our minds wandering about half the time! Furthermore, most people report that they’re unhappy when this is happening. Mindfulness practice can be the antidote to autopilot. Once we develop the skill to recognize when our mind has wandered, we can more easily and more frequently return to the present moment. The act of returning is mindful and strengthened each time we do it. Though autopilot is a natural tendency we all have, the more we practice engaging in our daily lives without being on autopilot, the easier it will be to stay present or return to the present moment without judgment. 

♦ BRAIN SCIENCE #2: FLIPPING YOUR LID

The brain is a complex organ. Our goal of including a neuroscience lesson in each chapter is to encourage curiosity around how this amazing organ works. Having explained the Mind-Body Connection in Chapter 1, we move on in this chapter to name parts of the brain and how they work together.

 

For this lesson, we rely on the hand-model of the brain developed by Dr. Dan Siegel, a clinical psychiatrist at UCLA, to label the relevant parts of the brain that are positively impacted through this work. We also use his term, ‘flip your lid,’ to describe what happens during emotional overload. By making it simple to understand, we help our students become more aware of when they are about to “flip their lid.” If they know this is coming and the whole class/teacher has similar language, then the community can support the student in reminding them of the tools and resources available to them that they have learned through the Digital ResilientKidsTM curriculum.

This section offers direction as to where the program is headed in this chapter and some notes about things to look for in your students as you answer the reflection questions at the end of Chapter 2.

♦ PRACTICE USING ANCHORS

As described in Chapter 1, this is called a ‘practice’ for a reason. Continued lessons utilizing the various anchors will build a level of familiarity into this work, which is often new for students. In focusing on self-awareness, generally students will gravitate to one of the primary anchors as most comfortable by the end of this chapter.

♦ INCREASE AWARENESS

With a goal of increasing self-awareness, we first have to build the capacity of awareness. Practicing mindfulness increases awareness, and many of the lessons in this chapter further cultivate this skill. By harnessing an innate curiosity to investigate what is happening around us, we can then shift that focus to oneself, the theme of this chapter.

♦ IDENTIFY AND NAME EMOTIONS

Building on self-awareness, we help students put a vocabulary to their feelings and emotions. As Dr. Dan Siegel says, “Name it to tame it!” This concept helps students build a vocabulary for feelings and emotions so that they can identify what they are feeling in certain moments rather than being run over by it. This empowering act comes with maturity and with increased awareness, a focus in Chapter 2.

♦ RECOGNIZE INNER VOICE

We all have an inner voice. Sometimes it is loud and clearly recognizable; other times it is quieter and harder to identify. Activities in this chapter work toward developing a clearer picture of the thoughts we think and teach us to find a little space for perspective. Because we tend to identify with our thoughts, this extra space can be helpful when attempting to discover whether or not they are true.

♦ DEVELOP ACCURATE SELF-PERCEPTION

Self-awareness can help students know themselves better. When we are able to slow down or insert a pause between stimulus and response, we can see a bigger picture that will grow and develop over time. Modeling various check-in questions by saying out loud “When could you ask yourself how you are feeling?” or, “I notice that I am mad right now. I wonder where that is coming from?” or, “What can I do when I start to notice that I am feeling frustrated?” can help remind students how to develop this introspective ability. 

The questions on the Chapter 2 Teacher Reflection Form are listed below so you can keep them in the back of your mind as you progress through the chapter.

1. Do students hear their inner voice (mental chatter, feelings or self-talk)?

A. If yes, please share an anecdote about this.

B. If no, what was missing or prevented this from happening?

2. Have students developed a comfort with their use of anchors?

A. If yes, please share an anecdote about this.

B. If no, what was missing or prevented this from happening?

3. Do students have the vocabulary to identify emotions?

A. If yes, how have you seen this demonstrated?

B. If no, what was missing or prevented this development?

4. Do students have a beginning understanding of how their brain works?

A. If yes, when have you seen this demonstrated by your students?

B. If no, what was missing or prevented them from developing an understanding of how their brain works?

5. Have students increased their self-awareness?

A. If yes, please share an anecdote about increased student self-awareness.

B. If no, what was missing or prevented this from happening during Chapter 2?

6. Please use this box to provide any additional information you would like us to know.

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