Within the last week, Dove's "Real Beauty Sketches" video has been plastered over social media accounts. In fact, I discovered it through Carli Counsels, a wonderful new elementary school counseling blog.
It's amazing how quickly good resources and thought-provoking content can spread! I love that I am able to better my school counseling program by engaging in social media. (Insert shout-out to Marty Stevens for encouraging me to join Twitter in the first place!)
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If you haven't watched "Real Beauty Sketches," what are you waiting for?! Press play...NOW! ;)
I am fairly confident that if I were in these women's shoes, I would have been just as hard on myself. This begs the question: If we are consciously or subconsciously self-haters, how can we teach young children to avoid that path? How an individual feels about their outward appearance is usually quite apparent - body language and clothing choices, in particular, give you away. So, wouldn't our students notice that we are not practicing what we preach? They are looking to us for advice, but are we qualified to give it? I think it's time for us to walk the walk, not just talk the talk.
The Dove Social Mission, in general, is a wonderful resource for school counselors. I think you could use almost any of their videos or materials with your intermediate level students. Personally, I would opt for 5th and 6th graders.
I created a companion workpage (left) for the "Real Beauty Sketches" series, that would give students the opportunity to share how they see one of their peers. This would work best in a small group setting, so students have the chance to reflect and share in a more controlled, safe environment.
I have conducted a similar lesson called "Compliment Circle," an activity where group members must provide positive feedback for everyone in the group. I start by giving every student a piece of blank paper and having them write their name at the top. Then, everyone passes their paper to the person on their left. The students write something positive about the person on their paper. When everyone is finished, we pass the papers again. This continues until the students have written on every paper but their own. Before the compliments are revealed, I have students discuss how they are feeling (anticipation, worries, etc.). Then, students read their compliments. Again, we reflect as a group on the peer feedback and discuss how this could positively impact our friendships.
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Once students hear positive feedback from their peers, it's important to work on their own "inner critics" as well. Sometimes, we rely too heavily on praise and reassurance from others - we need to learn how to generate that from within. You could do this by having students complete the above workpage for themselves (before seeing what their peer created), then compare the two.
I hope there will be a day when image will no longer hold us back, preventing talented individuals from reaching their dreams and performing to their fullest potential. In the meantime, we need to help each other see what's REALLY reflecting in our mirrors...and that's beautiful. :)