Teaching Drama

Cultivating Self-Awareness in the Drama Classroom

Cultivating self-awareness in the drama classroom
Written by Kerry Hishon

We’re delving more deeply into the five areas of Social and Emotional Learning (SEL). If the concept of SEL is new to you, check out this article: Social and Emotional Learning in the Drama Classroom: What Is It?. The first area of SEL we’re focusing on is self-awareness.

Self-awareness focuses on recognizing and understanding one’s own emotions, thoughts, and values, and identifying how they influence behaviour. Developing self-awareness helps students identify their own core values, strengths, and self-worth, as well as their own challenges and limitations. Self-awareness challenges students to demonstrate honesty and integrity, and examine prejudices and biases they might hold.

Self-awareness can be challenging for students to develop, as they are often highly influenced by their friends, families, and fellow students. They’re still figuring out who they are. However, helping students understand who they are can help them build confidence and grow as performers, as well as people.

In drama class, you can gently help your students cultivate self-awareness through this journal prompt exercise. For five days, students will spend the first five minutes of class responding to the following questions. If you wish, you can follow up with a class discussion.

  • Monday: Choose three words to describe yourself. Why did you choose those words?
  • Tuesday: Name one thing you are good at. How did you get good at that thing? 
  • Wednesday: Name one thing you aren’t so good at. Do you want to improve your ability to do that thing? Why or why not?
  • Thursday: Name a person who is important to you. What is your relationship to that person? Why are they important to you?
  • Friday: Look back through this week’s journal prompts. How do these questions relate to your work in drama class? Or, how can you apply these questions to your work in drama class? 

For Friday’s question, if students get stuck, have them think about lessons you’ve taught or exercises they’ve practiced in drama class. For example, all the questions can be used for character analysis — what is your character good at or not good at? What three words would you use to describe your character? What three words would they use to describe themselves?

Click here for five more self-awareness journal prompts.

Kerry Hishon is a director, actor, writer and stage combatant from London, Ontario, Canada. She blogs at www.kerryhishon.com.

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About the author

Kerry Hishon

Kerry Hishon is a director, actor, writer and stage combatant from London, Ontario, Canada. View her blog at www.kerryhishon.com.