Part 1: Defining Assertiveness
Part 2: Understanding Your Ability to Be Assertive
Part 3: Understanding Yourself
- Teach Students: 3a. Describing Your Emotions
- Teach Students: 3b. Expressing Your Feelings Respectfully
Part 4: Embedding Opportunities for Students to Practice Assertiveness
Part 5: The College and Career Competency Framework
Part 3: Understanding Yourself
Learning Target: Students use the Feeling Words Wheel to understand their feelings better and express them effectively.
In Part 3, students will work on identifying complex emotions and learning ways to express their emotions more appropriately. The first activity in Part 3 focuses on the first component, which entails understanding yourself and your emotions. Understanding how you are feeling can benefit you in expressing your wants, needs, and thoughts accurately. So often, we tend to limit our understanding of ourselves to feelings like anger, sadness, and happiness, when we are likely feeling more complex emotions.
For students to express themselves constructively, they need to understand their emotions. As things happen to them and they interpret the meaning of events, they may have a variety of emotions, depending on the situation. It’s important to know that these feelings are based on how they experience a situation (their perspective), and while experiencing a variety of emotions is natural, we can control how we act on them. Feelings themselves are neither good nor bad—they just are. What we do with them can be positive or negative—we choose how we act on them.
Hiding feelings can often be counterproductive to finding solutions or building better relationships with friends. When we don’t accept and recognize our emotions, it can create bias in judgments, insecurities, and reduced control over our behavior. It is better to understand our feelings, accept them, and then work to express our wants, needs, and thoughts as clearly and directly as possible. As we work to be more assertive, we must work to understand our feelings better. The Feeling Words Wheel has a variety of words to help students more accurately describe their emotions.
Teach Students: 3a. Describing Your Emotions
For each of the situations in the table below and on the “Teach Students: 3a. Describing Your Emotions” handout (Handout 3a. linked to on page 9 of your Educator Workbook), have students identify three feelings from the Feeling Words Wheel that they might be having at that moment. Ask them to try not to choose feelings in the center circle (i.e., fear, anger, disgust, sad, happy, surprise) or a cluster of feelings in the same domain, but instead identify complex feelings from the two outer rings and from multiple domains.
For example, the first scenario may result in feelings from the sadness, anger, and fear domains. Adjust the scenarios as needed for grade level, situations, and audiences. An example has been completed for you.
Watch as a teacher facilitates this activity.3a. Reflect and Apply: Reflect on when you might use the Feeling Words Wheel with your students.
- In what specific situations do your students have difficulty expressing and understanding their feelings?
- How would using the Feeling Words Wheel help your students learn to understand themselves and express themselves more effectively?
Write your ideas on page 5 of the Educator Workbook.
Once students understand why they feel a certain way, they need to be able to describe their feelings respectfully. To do so, students benefit from identifying complex emotions and rephrasing how they communicate these emotions to others.
Teach Students: 3b. Expressing Your Feelings Respectfully
Begin by having students work individually to read each statement and think about what feelings they might have in that situation. Then rewrite each statement to respectfully express the feeling(s) they identified using the “Teach Students: 3b. Expressing Your Feelings Respectfully” handout (Handout 3b. linked to on page 9 of your Educator Workbook). Be sure to go through the first example together. You may also want to consider modifying or adding to the examples in this activity to provide authentic situations relatable to your students.
After completing the table, have students partner up and share their examples with each other.
Debrief each of the statements with the whole class. Then, as a class, ask students to generate four additional statements that do not effectively convey feelings. Returning to their partners, prompt students to rewrite the statements to respectfully expresses the actual feelings.
3b. Reflect and Apply: A goal is for students to be able to express themselves respectfully in a variety of situations. Watch the video of a principal sharing the impacts of teaching students to express their feelings respectfully.
- In which situations do students struggle to express themselves respectfully within your classroom or building?
- How will your classroom or building be impacted by students learning to express themselves respectfully?
Share your answers on page 5 of the Educator Workbook.