The first step in teaching your students interpersonal awareness is to teach them the skill of self-awareness. Self-awareness is the act of becoming aware of yourself as unique from others. Once you you teach your students the skills of self-awareness, interpersonal awareness, or the ability to get along with others, will automatically follow.
Here are some basic questions of self-awareness to ask your students:
- Who do you think you are?
- List some words, phrases, or traits that best describe you.
- How many of these statements are negative?
- How many of these statements are positive?
- Can you change any of the negative statements?
- How can you change?
We will look at the following topics in this post:
- How Self-Awareness Develops
- Take Responsibility
How Self-Awareness Develops
To teach interpersonal awareness, it helps to teach your students how people develop the basic abilities that serve as the foundation to strong interpersonal skills. Every infant is born without a sense of self. Newborns do not know the difference between themselves and the rest of the world. But it seems as though they are programmed to learn self-awareness. This learning starts with new sensations, such as hot, cold, hunger or thirst. When infants reach out to touch things, at first they cannot tell the difference between themselves and the things they touch. But one day they notice a difference between themselves and the toy they hold. As they grow, they learn the basic tools of communication. When they cry, they get picked up or they get fed or changed. This basic type of language is the first essential skill for developing self-awareness.
Your students must also understand empathy. Empathy is a basic understanding of the feelings of others. Empathy is built through an understanding of oneself, or self-awareness. Here are some concepts your students should know about empathy:
- The more you understand your own thoughts, feelings, and emotions, the more you can understand the thoughts and feelings of someone else.
- The more open you are to your own feelings and emotions, the more skilled you become at reading the feelings and emotions of someone else.
- Being fully human requires the ability to communicate, understand and get along with other human beings.
- The inability to read another person’s feelings can be a major limitation in the human experience.
Ask your students to identify their “self-concept”. A self-concept is a self-image, or how one views oneself. The basic difference between self-awareness and self-concept is that self-awareness deals more with the act of becoming aware of ourselves as unique from others, while self-concept deals more with how we perceive ourselves, either positively or negatively.
Teach your students to take responsibility for themselves. Being responsible has to do with the interpersonal need of control. Control behavior covers the relationships between people, power, influence, and authority. The need for control varies from an absolute need to be controlled to a need for ultimate control. Healthy individuals are capable of both giving and accepting control or responsibility. They do not avoid responsibility nor do they try to prove their superior competence. Both self-awareness and interpersonal awareness require a balanced perspective when it comes to control.
Thanks for tuning into our series on teaching interpersonal awareness to your students. If you want to learn more about developing or teaching soft skills, sign up for a free soft skills webinar here.