Bringing Social Awareness to the Forefront

woman in beige sweater holding her hair

At the start of any virtual class or training session, we need to think about everyone who is in the room. During my sessions, I consistently start with a (1) “Hi Everyone“, and something like a (2) “How’s everyone doing?”, followed by (3) a minute of wait time. Doing this helps us to align with Social Awareness, which is one of the Social Emotional Learning competencies. The specific aspects of Social Awareness include:

  • Empathy
  • Perspective-taking
  • Respect for others
  • Appreciating diversity

Using this 1-2-3 approach allows for a few things to happen.

1 – Model Inclusivity

Using an inclusive term like “everyone” or “y’all” when making that first greeting or a class period or a learning session helps to insure that individuals are not excluded. Back in the day, we may have said “Good morning boys and girls”, this is something in today’s world that we should stop. Our students use the pronouns of “he/him/his”, “she/her/hers” or “they/them/theirs”. These are not preferred pronouns they are their pronouns. By focusing on the two most popular sets of pronouns, we could be unintentionally excluding a whole group of individuals. Know who your audience is.

2 – Be Genuine

How’s everyone doing?” or a similar type of question allows us to do a quick check-in with everyone. Sometimes we aren’t doing okay. Sometimes things are just meh. We can’t assume that we know how the people in our groups and classes are feeling. We need to ask the question. When I train adults, particularly early in the morning, I ask “How’s the coffee?” or something even lighter. It’s a way to break the ice before diving into the learning.

3 – Provide Wait Time

Asking the question alone isn’t enough if you don’t give people time to respond.

Think about it for a moment.

Has anyone asked you “How are you?“. They were expecting an “I’m good“, and when you responded differently, it took them a moment to figure out their reply to your response. This happens allot when we try to anticipate how interactions will flow. If 2020 has taught us anything, then it’s that we can’t anticipate every moment. So if we provide a little wait time, and apply some active listening to our discussions, then it allows us to show our learners that we respect where who they are and where they are in the learning journey.

When our learners know that we care, then they’ll be open to hearing what we have to share.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: