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Social Skills: Promoting Positive Behavior, Academic Success, and School Safety

Good social skills are critical to successful functioning in life. These skills enable us to know what to say, how to make good choices, and how to behave in diverse situations. The extent to which children and adolescents possess good social skills can influence their academic performance, behavior, social and family relationships, and involvement in extracurricular activities. Social skills are also linked to the quality of the school environment and school safety.

While most children pick up positive skills through their everyday interactions with adults and peers, it is important that educators and parents reinforce this casual learning with direct and indirect instruction. We must also recognize when and where children pick up behaviors that might be detrimental to their development or safety. In the past, schools have relied exclusively on families to teach children important interpersonal and conflict resolution skills. However, increased negative societal influences and demands on family life make it imperative that schools partner with parents to facilitate this social learning process. This is particularly true today given the critical role that social skills play in maintaining a positive school environment and reducing school violence. 

Consequences of Good Social Skills 

With a full repertoire of social skills, students will have the ability to make social choices that will strengthen their interpersonal relationships and facilitate success in school. Some consequences of good social skills include:

  • Positive and safe school environment.
  • Child resiliency in the face of future crises or other stressful life events.
  • Students who seek appropriate and safe avenues for aggression and frustration.
  • Children who take personal responsibility for promoting school safety.

Consequences of Poor Social Skills

Students with poor social skills have been shown to:

  • Experience difficulties in interpersonal relationships with parents, teachers, and peers.
  • Evoke highly negative responses from others that lead to high levels of peer rejection.  Peer rejection has been linked on several occasions with school violence.
  • Show signs of depression, aggression and anxiety.
  • Demonstrate poor academic performance as an indirect consequence.
  • Show a higher incidence of involvement in the criminal justice system as adults.

Impact on School Safety

Given the demonstrated relationship between social skills and school safety, schools are increasingly seeking ways to help students develop positive social skills, both in school and in the community. Social skills related to school safety include:

  • Anger management
  • Recognizing/understanding others' point of view
  • Social problem solving
  • Peer negotiation
  • Conflict management
  • Peer resistance skills
  • Active listening
  • Effective communication
  • Increased acceptance and tolerance of diverse groups

In isolation, social skills are not sufficient to ensure school safety; interventions should not be limited to student instruction and training. Change in the school culture should be facilitated by infusing social skills training into a comprehensive system of school safety and discipline policies, emphasizing relationship-building between students and faculty (teachers and administrators) and between schools and families, and providing effective behavior management and academic instruction.

Defining Types of Social Skills

While there are hundreds of important social skills for students to learn, we can organize them into skill areas to make it easier to identify and determine appropriate interventions. For example, the "Stop and Think" program organizes skills into four areas:

1. Survival skills (e.g., listening, following directions, ignoring distractions, using nice or brave talk, rewarding yourself)

2. Interpersonal skills (e.g., sharing, asking for permission, joining an activity, waiting your turn)

3. Problem-solving skills (e.g., asking for help, apologizing, accepting consequences, deciding what to do)

4. Conflict resolution skills (e.g., dealing with teasing, losing, accusations, being left out, peer pressure)

Click here for the source for above material

 

Teaching Social Skills To Kids Who Don't Have Them

 

List of Social Skills for Middle School Students

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Last updated  2008/09/28 02:31:41 CDTHits  382