Lesson 1: Self Awareness

Name(s) of student(s):

Age and grade level:

Goal from IEP connected to lesson:

Objective from IEP connected to lesson:

Purpose of lesson: Assist the student in discussing and recording his strengths, skills, interests, and weaknesses.

Materials needed: Note taking device, Internet access


This lesson likely requires two sessions with students.

“Today, we will talk about what you enjoy and your skills. The purpose of this discussion is to get you thinking about a career that will mesh well with your interests and will take advantage of your strengths.” Note: Think about creative and relevant ways to present this lesson series. You may consider an approach similar to the one MTV uses in the former self-improvement television reality series, “MTV MADE” (Watch a full episode online to understand the premise and tell the students they are going to be MADE!)


Facilitate the lesson with discussion-provoking questions like: How do you enjoy your free time? What are your passions? What would your best friend say you are particularly good at?

Group Exercise: Positive Reflections About Others

If in a group setting (which is ideal), have students and teacher describe the positive qualities, personality traits, and character traits of one group member at a time, ensuring that all students can hear praise/descriptions. Tell students to use their preferred note-taking method to record the traits and qualities that others observe about them. Ask them to take 5-10 minutes to evaluate their list and write any additional traits they recognize in themselves.

Discussion: Unique Attributes

Reinforce the idea that everyone has a unique blend of positive valued qualities and traits. “Isn’t it remarkable each of you possesses such a different blend of good attributes? I appreciate the diversity in this group. You all have much to offer our community and the workforce.”

Exercise: Identifying Interests and Affinities

Have your students think about and record at least 25 interests. To help them get started, ask them to think about these questions: What do you find exciting to do or learn about? What generally piques your interest? What do you excel in? Note: Avoid allowing students to choose silly interests such as lip gloss. Make this an enjoyable exercise; practicality will be addressed in future lessons.

Discussion: Employable Skills

Discuss what makes a skill relevant to employment. Explain that in addition to positive traits and personal interests, students need to identify the skills they possess that an employer would be interested in. “Perhaps you are gifted in helping people or your math skills are superb. Helping people is an employable skill: you might take care of senior citizens in a facility supporting long-term care or work as a social worker who assists in domestic adoption. Math skills are also employable in a variety of ways. You could work at a retailer tabulating inventory or build computer programs for large businesses.”

Exercise: Identifying Employable Skills

Have students record their employable skills; be prepared to prompt students with employable skills you notice about them. Consider having students take an online basic employable skills inventory such as Bridge’s Ability Profile.

Discussion: The Other Side

Time to consider the reverse. Have students consider areas of weakness—skills they might not have an affinity for, might be good at but don’t enjoy, or personality traits that might make them unsuited to a given line of work. Describe an area of weakness of your own (“Math is not a strong subject for me.”) and talk about how your awareness of this area of weakness helped you make good career decisions.

Exercise: Areas of Weakness

Have students think about and record areas of weakness. Emphasize that this exercise is about building awareness so they can make informed decisions.


“Today we talked about you! Thinking about your unique combination of strengths and weaknesses, skills and interests gives us a platform for discussing the types of careers that will be a good fit for you. Thank you for your participation.”

Progress notes, data collection, comments, modifications:

Next steps/lesson: Career awareness.

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