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Autobiography and Personal Narrative for Self-Reflection


ELA: Writing Social-Emotional Learning High School & Up Strategy


Anxiety Flexible Thinking Expressive Language

Autobiography and Personal Narrative for Self-Reflection

If your students would benefit from a deeper self-reflection exercise and they would be willing to share deeper personal experiences

How To Apply It!

  1. Autobiography and authentic sharing with peers can be the most effective way for students to engage in true self-reflection and fully appreciate who they are, what they like, and what they want to be.
  2. Students write their autobiography. While pages do not equate to quality, in this case a longer requirement encourages students to fully explore all aspects of their lives. Twenty-five pages can be a suitable length for high school students.
  3. Students write and share a personal essay with a larger audience. Writing about a defining event or a personal passion can be one of the most challenging and, ultimately, most rewarding, assignments of their academic careers. Teachers should expect to provide coaching to ensure authenticity which is key for the ultimate goal of self-reflection. Teachers also should expect to cultivate a safe environment where students feel comfortable sharing.
  4. Student-led round table. This is a non-writing based option. Students rotate roles as a speaker, moderator, and audience throughout the year. The moderator asks key questions that the the group members will answer in a panel-type discussion: How do I see myself? Where am I going with my life? How will I get there? How will I show others what I know? Consider inviting younger students to listen and learn from older peers.

Why It Works (the Science Of Learning)!

Engaging in writing an autobiography and/or sharing specific aspects of one's life encourages students to self-reflect. It builds a sense of self-worth and self-awareness of one's goals, interests, and motivations.