Self-Smarts: Knowing Yourself Is the First Step to Success
If you are a teacher, parent, or Learning Coach, you’re used to gauging what your student does and does not know. Does he or she know how to stay organized and motivated throughout the school day? Does he or she know enough about fractions to take the math quiz tomorrow?
Although every student needs to build his or her academic knowledge, it’s just as important for students to understand themselves. This is the concept of intrapersonal intelligence.
What Is Intrapersonal Intelligence?
The word intrapersonal means “within the self”—so, “intrapersonal intelligence” is another term for self-awareness or introspection. It’s part of psychologist Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences. People who have high intrapersonal intelligence are aware of their emotions, motivations, beliefs, and goals. They know what they like, what they dislike, who they are, and what they want to do. This is not the same as interpersonal, or socially skilled. Intra- means “within” or “internal.”
Students with intrapersonal intelligence are often:
- Skilled at self-reflection
Building Intrapersonal Skills in Every Student
Although some students are naturally more in tune with their intrapersonal intelligence, all students can develop these strengths. Intrapersonal skills help students recognize their strengths and weaknesses, which is essential for setting goals. Those with intrapersonal skills are often peacemakers who are instinctively good at dealing with conflict, making decisions, and managing time and stress.
Some of the Connections Academy clubs that exercise intrapersonal intelligence include:
- Art Clubs
- Book Club
- Debate Club
- Digital Storytelling Club
- History Club
- Music Club
- Poetry Clubs
- Quiz Bowl Club
- Student Literary Magazine
- Theater Arts Club
Here are a few activities that will exercise your student’s intrapersonal skills:
- Setting specific goals to help prioritize his or her workload—at school or at a job.
- Writing a brief monologue from the perspective of a historical figure. Have your child deliver it in character to a supportive audience of family or close friends.
- Spending an hour alone creating a unique project or craft. Encourage your child to take it to another level by photographing and/or writing a descriptive paragraph explaining the creation.
- Starting a journal. Suggest that your student commit to writing in it daily for at least a month. Every day, he or she should describe an idea, feeling, or experience that reflects the person he or she is. This is not a diary to keep track of personal events; it is a journal of your child’s thoughts and reactions. He or she should put it somewhere safe to share with him- or herself ten years from now.
- Brainstorming types of professions at which a thoughtful, reflective person can excel, such as a writer, therapist, researcher, or entrepreneur. Which careers does your student think fit his or her strengths?
Does your student have high intrapersonal intelligence? See what other areas he or she is strong in, such as verbal-linguistic intelligence.