Social Awareness In Schools: Cultivating Empathy And Cultural Competence

Author: Antoinette Morris

Posted: 18 Sep 2023

Estimated time to read: 3 mins

Read this blog to learn more about the CASEL competency 'Social Awareness' and strategies for bringing it into your classroom. 

Social awareness is a vital competency within the CASEL framework, emphasising the development of empathy, understanding of diverse perspectives and cultural competence. By promoting social awareness, educators can help students develop a deep appreciation for others' experiences, foster positive relationships and contribute to a more inclusive and compassionate society. In this blog post, we will explore strategies for building social awareness in the classroom. 

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Growing social awareness: classroom strategies

Model empathy: Your own behaviour in the classroom is your most powerful tool. Demonstrate empathy in your interactions with students and other staff to help your students emulate these behaviours more effectively.

Choose group activities: Group activities and projects encourage collaboration and communication. Choose activities that involve working together and solving problems as a team.

Discuss current events: Engaging your students in discussions about current events, societal issues, and global affairs can help them understand different perspectives and develop empathy for people from diverse backgrounds.

Make use of media: Incorporate books, films and documentaries in your teaching that address social issues, diversity and empathy. Discuss these materials afterwards to encourage engagement and critical thinking.

Incorporate role-playing: Use role-playing exercises to help students understand different points of view and step into the shoes of others. 

Teach active listening: Help students develop active listening skills by providing opportunities for them to listen to their peers, ask questions and offer support or feedback.

Cultural awareness: Celebrate different cultures and traditions in the classroom. Invite students to share their cultural backgrounds with themed events and teach them about the customs and traditions of others. 

Don't underestimate storytelling: Encourage students to share personal stories and experiences (where comfortable) to create a sense of connection and understanding among classmates. It's helpful for getting to know your class too!

Use social emotional learning (SEL): Implement SEL programs or curricula that specifically address social awareness. These programs often provide structured lessons and activities for developing empathy and interpersonal skills and can greatly improve student outcomes. 

Remember that fostering social awareness is an ongoing process, and consistency is key. Teachers should create a classroom environment that promotes respect, empathy and open communication, reinforcing these values throughout the school year.

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