Social awareness is a beneficial feeling for those who practice it and for the surrounding community. If stimulated in individuals while still children, it helps to form the behaviour and worldview that will develop in adulthood.

Although the term is apparently generic, its social application in education is very clear and objective, as we show in this article. In addition to helping in learning and choosing a profession, this feeling is a strong starting point to encourage emotional intelligence in children. Read to the end and learn what is social awareness, what is its importance in the development of students and how to develop it, guiding social and individual relationships in a healthy way!

What is social awareness?

Broadly explained, it refers to an individual’s ability to understand their role in a larger context. This can be in a broad social environment, such as a country or state, but also in smaller community organisations such as school, neighbourhood or among friends.

What should be clear is that social awareness should be built from the moment a child starts to see himself among other individuals. If stimulated correctly, they will see this moment as an opportunity to ask themselves some questions, which parents and teachers should help them answer.

The child may wonder, for example, about the difficulties of living in social organisations, even when they are small. In addition, he/she will be confronted, often in a conflictive manner – which is healthy, as long as the conflict is not exaggerated – with the responsibilities that this coexistence requires, and will react to them.

The answer to the meaning can be found in the term itself. To have social conscience means to be alert, aware of social interactions as an element of construction of individuality and collectivity simultaneously.

How important is social awareness in children?

Exaggerated connectivity, social networks and the view of friendships selected by algorithms can be limiting factors for the emotional development of children without them knowing it. The Internet presents facilities and practicalities in several aspects of modern life, but it is interesting that the little ones understand that human relations are not based only on practical or easy elements.

It is social awareness that shows that relating has its complexities, and that differences require respect and patience, as well as empathy and dedication. It is in the continuous and healthy exercise of these feelings that the child is motivated to study, develop and build more lasting social relationships.

What to develop in order for the child to have social awareness?

Social awareness, therefore, is something that is always developing, being determined by certain thoughts and actions, and also determining them. It is the role of parents and teachers to stimulate these thoughts, and this is done by provoking other feelings, which should be developed from an early age.

Social awareness is a beneficial feeling for those who practice it and for the surrounding community. If stimulated in individuals while still children, it helps to form the behaviour and worldview that will develop in adulthood.
CREDIT: EDWARD CISNEROS / UNSPLASH

These feelings are as important as learning English and mathematics, for example, since they determine the way an individual deals with the content he or she learns. Understanding what these qualities are is a way of approaching the concept of social conscience without it seeming vague or generic. Below we list two of them, which may appear to guide the decisions that children begin to make – although it is not necessary to name them if they are very young.

Empathy

To put it literally, the word empathy means to attribute emotions to things or other people. Recently, it has been used in the sense of understanding the motivations and problems of those around us.

Thus, being empathetic means recognising that other individuals will not necessarily behave as we do, or respond in the same way as others when exposed to analogous circumstances. Encouraging empathy in children is the first step in developing their emotional intelligence. Through it, it is easier to teach important attributes for professional life, such as teamwork.

Conflict awareness

Empathy leads to self-knowledge, which is based on the differences between individuals. This self-knowledge prevents unthoughtful actions in conflict situations with people and situations. Thus, children start to act less motivated by aggressiveness and more by the inclination to solve problems, where the other’s opinion is respected and considered. Perhaps this is the most important aspect in the construction of emotional intelligence.

Also the internal conflicts – doubts and confrontations arising from changes in personality and others – should be faced consciously. They must be seen not as obstacles to development, but as part of it – a necessary stage for learning. By understanding the importance of conflict for evolution – in studies, work and social life – the student becomes more secure and moves more quickly towards achieving their goals.

Social expansion

When we are brought up in a certain family group, we absorb ways of thinking and acting that are appropriate to that group. We are influenced by their customs and rules, but also by their world vision. Social expansion consists of the ability to relativise this vision, understanding other social groups and their different ways of thinking, acting and behaving. Thus, it is both a social and intellectual exercise.

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