Sometimes teachers tend to focus only on the curricular content, forgetting such important aspects as the emotional and social development of the students. For this reason, I propose the autobiography technique, a resource that will help us, as teachers, to delve a little deeper into the lives of each of the boys and girls who attend our classroom and strengthen our bond.
The autobiography is a literary genre situated between literature and history, whose main characteristic is that the narrator of the events is the character who lives them. This term from English, emerged during the nineteenth century in England, used by the poet Robert Southey in 1809 in one of his articles. However, there are references pointing to the German philosopher Friedrich Schlegel of his employment in 1798.
Biographies often include the following headings:
- Personal: you must add data such as the full name, as well as the date and place of birth.
- Family: being necessary to name the people who make up the family.
- Academic: You can describe the educational centers in which you have been, the achievements, the subjects that you liked more or less, the teachers who influenced the teaching and learning process, etc.
In addition, it is essential to mention aspects such as hobbies and goals that you would like to achieve in the future.
The technique that I propose to carry out with your students is the autobiography. It is as simple as ask your students to write a text about themselves. This will allow them to practice their writing and written expression skills, but it is also a very useful resource for us, the teachers, to take the opportunity to learn more and better about the skills of each of the children we have in class.
As for the steps to take into account, it is convenient to establish the following:
- Asking a question of interest to the students
Students should be asked a question related to their knowledge of themselves. In this way, they can participate in the activity finding meaning in the proposal.
- Prepare a script ordered chronologically
Thanks to this scheme they will be able to visualize the most relevant periods, anecdotes and turning points. In this script, the following guidelines should be taken into account:
Choose a starting point- Once the ideas have been developed, it is imperative to decide where to start. We do not necessarily have to start from birth because, on occasions, the information we have about this fact may be scarce.
Build the first person: write considering the first person, so that the content is subjective and direct. Also, it is convenient to decide in what time we are going to write.
Take the context into account: it is necessary to recall the scenarios in which the events took place, as well as the social, political and historical conditions experienced. Sometimes they are decisive in understanding the decisions made.
- Investigation of collected information: from the structuring of the script, the students will begin to answer the questions posed. During this process, students have to ask close friends, look for graphic material, etc.
- Teacher correction: the teacher will be in charge of making possible corrections by providing adequate feedback that allows students to improve in the aspects that are necessary.
- Possible sharing between colleagues: That children expose their autobiographical work in public can be very beneficial, since it allows the exchange of the projects carried out, so that everyone can get to know each other, establishing stronger bonds of union.
Regarding the educational field, it is an activity that can be carried out from the beginning of literacy, that is, at the age of 5-6 years. So that, can be addressed throughout the Primary Education stage, forming part of the production of texts established in the official curriculum of said stage, as well as in Compulsory Secondary Education. In addition, as it is a technique used in psychology, it can be used with people of a higher age range.
And what are the benefits of this technique applied in the classroom? Let's look at some of the main ones.
1. It is an activity that allows establishing an environment of trust between the teacher and the students.
2. It favors the literacy process in studentss, awakening their interest in writing and giving them the possibility to apply the grammatical and spelling knowledge they have learned.
3. Enhances linguistic abilities, as it is an activity that is developed through written language.
4. Helps students to use written information as a means of communication, stimulating interest in expressing themselves correctly.
5. Involves cognitive development, since skills such as information search, data selection, recapitulation, summary and synthesis, etc. must be acquired.
6. Develops cognitive processes such as memory, as an effort must be made to remember and transcribe part of the history of their lives.
7. Contributes to improvement of family bond. The families must collaborate positively in this activity by helping to carry out an investigation for the construction of the identity of their children.
8. It makes it possible to get to know yourself better (self-knowledge), by conducting an introspective analysis. In addition, it is characterized by self-discovery and self-reflection.
9. Encourages self-confidence and personal initiative.
10. Improves the development of socio-affective and moral values, knowledge of the 'I' and the appreciation of the other.
11. It allows to externalize the emotions being a starting point to initiate therapeutic changes.
As we said, carrying out the autobiography technique is very positive for the student himself, but also allows us teachers to learn more about them and, therefore, it strengthens our bond. Next, I will highlight some of the main information that we can extract from this exercise.
- It allows to analyze the content and the form of what is written, being able to know aspects such as the spelling of the students.
- Helps to detect possible learning difficulties such as dyslexia.
- It facilitates the knowledge of the students, analyzing the affective, social and motivational processes.
- In the field of psychology, it can be a technique used in the psychological evaluation that allows the exploration of the personality of the person. Delving into data of interest or detecting possible symptoms. For example, hypersensitivity and susceptibility to the feeling of inferiority.
In addition, it can be a key tool to identify possible cases of child abuse.
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