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Behavior: Social Skills, Self Esteem

How to you teach social skills so they seem genuine?


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Joined: Nov 03, 2005
Posts: 69138
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Posted Jul 07, 2002 at 11:58:17 AM
Subject: How to you teach social skills so they seem genuine?

How do you teach social skills so that they are genuinely received and peers and staff do not think they are brown nosing?

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Anonymous
Joined Oct 21, 2014
Posts: 69138

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Posted:Jul 10, 2002 2:31:59 AM

Stephanie,

Social skills can be taught like any other skill. They should be taught individually keeping in mind the level of understanding that the child has and his/her level of maturity. It is best to teach social skills at a neutral time; not when the child is upset or when he/she has made a "social mistake". I personally like the Boys Town method. There are many books published by Boys Town Press. You can get a free Boys Town Press catalog by calling 1-800-BT Books. I think that one of the best ways that you can teach genuine social skills is by modeling them to your children. The old addage that "Children learn what they live" is very true and probably represents the most permanent kind of learning because the experience is a constant process that generalizes over many situations. If you demonstrate good social skills with your children they will remember them because they are the recipients of your actions. They will more likely remember how you responded to them and how your actions made them feel. I also think that it is good to discuss those times that you as an adult don't handle everything perfectly. If you lose your temper with your child, apologise to him/her and explain then what you should have done or said. Seeing you as an imperfect being, will help him/her be more open to learning from his/her mistakes later on. It will also make the process more relevant to your child's life. Hearing and experiencing sincere interactions at home and in the classroom will gradually become a part of their vocabulary and thinking as well. You might also use those moments that were not appropriate as points of discussion later on as a review. For example, if you were in a local department store or fast-food restaurant and you or one of your children observed someone acting inappropriately, then you might discretely point out the situation and follow-up with a discussion when you could do so without offending someone. You could ask questions about how the person looked to them and what he/she could have done differently. These kinds of teachable moments are good because they are real, and offer no threat to your children's self-esteem. A parenting book that I like is titled "How To Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk" written by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish. They also wrote a book called "Sibling's Without Rivalry". Both books cover a wide range of topics and they are very reader-friendly. Although the books cover a lot of discipline/conflict issues, they also teach effective communication skills. They are very reasonably priced, under $10.00. Boys Town Publishing, Prentice Hall Publishing and Sopris West Educational Services have many books on the subject for the parent and the classroom teacher. Three books that I like are titled: 1. Teaching Social Skills To Youth 2. Social Skills Activities For Special Children and 3. The Well Managed Classroom. The book titled, Social Skills Actvities for Special Children offers sample discussion questions that might follow a specific activity. It has 142 lessons with reproducible activity sheets that deal with social skills across situations. This book is written by Darlene Mannix and it is published by Prentice Hall. Sopris West may be contacted on the internet at www.sopriswest.com or by calling 1-800-547-6747. Sopris West has books, videos and entire programs on social skill development. Sopris West and Boys Town Publishing have many of their materials designed for specific ages and or grade levels. In the Boys Town Model, they break down the process into 16 skill areas. They also talk about preventive teaching. These books break down a multitude of social skills into their basic components (steps). Boys Town suggests that you follow an 8-step process in preventive teaching where you
1. Introduce the specific skill
2. Describe appropriate behavior
3. Give rationale. (Help them understand the link between their behavior and possible outcomes.)
4. Request acknowledgement. (Check to see if what you are saying makes sense to the child. See if the child agrees and/or understands what you are saying and why it might be important.)
5. Practice the skill. (Role play and create real opportunities.)
6. Give Feedback (Lots of SPECIFIC reinforcement!)
7. Follow up with a positive consequence. (Praise, pat on the back, etc.
8. Establish repeat, follow-up practice sessions. Use prompts when possible to alert your child to an approaching social opportunity to use their newly learned skills. Then gradually fade the prompts out as the child becomes better at picking up the situational cues by himself/herself.

When you introduce the skill, you should describe its use over a variety of situations. You want to describe each step of the skill with the rationale for the behavior. Boys Town also encourages the use of preventive prompts. These are basically reminders that are given to the child/children when the adult sees a situation about to develop. The child may be reminded of what was practiced or discussed earlier and then praised when he/she has successfully followed through. You should remember to specifically tell the child what he/she did correctly. Don't just say, good job! Say, "I like the way that you said or did ..." The greater the variety of situations, the more original and spontaneous your child's social skills will become. When you are teaching a social skill, it is always good to role-play situations and vary the partners so that each child can get used to different people. Talk together and brainstorm as many social responses as you can think of. Rate them to which response might be the best one and so forth. There may be many good responses that would work. You might take your child/children out to eat or to visit someone in the community where it is safe for them to practice their social skills. All of these things encourage an authentic response from your child.

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Anonymous
Joined Oct 21, 2014
Posts: 69138

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Posted:Jul 13, 2002 9:57:26 AM

First, you need the support of your administration to be successful in implementing the social skills. All staff should be trained in workshops to teach social skills. Special education students are not the only ones lacking in social skills--so are a majority of regular education students. Some teachers are also lacking in appropriate social skills. The staff should view the videos by Richard Lavoie on appropriate socialization skills. These videos would change the outlook on social skills among the staff. The videos can be purchased at www.ldonline.org under the listing of the LD store. Skillstreaming is a wonderful book to teach social skills to a large or small group of students in the classroom. This book can be purchased at the LD store also.

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