Teaching Social Skills.

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TEACHINGSOCIAL SKILLS

Introduction

Coping with students who display social problems can be difficult. Teaching social skills to these children takes time, effort and patience (Brophy, 1996). That is why it is a good idea to take action before the problem becomes too serious. One of the most important factors for successful student socialization depends on a teacher's ability to adopt an authoritative teaching style for classroom management. This means that teachers should exert leadership and exercise control, but at the same time be supportive of students. They should always supply reasons for their actions.

There are many attributes of a successful teacher. The following attributes put together by Good and Brophy (1995) all contribute to the success of a student.

*Social attractiveness: Based on a cheerful disposition, friendliness, emotional maturity and sincerity.

*Ego strength: Teachers need to be calm in a crisis, listen actively, avoid win-lose conflicts and maintain a problem-solving orientation.

*Realistic perception of self and students

*Enjoyment of students: Being friendly but not over familiar and being comfortable with the group without becoming a group member.

*Clarity about teaching roles: Comfort in playing these roles. Explaining to students what their expectations are of them.

*Patience and determination: In working with students who persist to push limits.

*Acceptance of the individual: Always the individual but not always his/her behaviour.

*The ability to state and act on firm and flexible limits: Based on clear expectations, keeping rules to a minimum and liberalizing them as students become more independent and responsible over time.

Through developing these roles, teachers can create the potential for having a significant impact on students' lives.

Discussion

Do you agree or disagree with the above attributes of a successful teacher?

Are there any other attributes that you think are important for a teacher to have?

What are your memories of the teachers at primary school?

After examining the attributes of a successful teacher, it is important to acknowledge the social behaviours in order to assess the children's behaviour.

When examining a child's behaviour, the starting point is usually the assessment of friendship skills. Here are nine factors of social behaviour in relation to friendship skills that children will participate in:

1. Entry skills: How a child joins a group of children and how they welcome other children into their group.

2. Assistance: Recognizing when and how to provide assistance as well as seeking assistance from others.

3. Criticism: Knowing when and how to criticize someone and how to take criticism.

4. Accepting suggestions: Incorporating the ideas of others in the activity.

5. Reciprocity and sharing: An equitable distribution of conversation, direction and resources.

6. Conflict resolution: Managing disagreement with compromise and recognizing the opinions of others.

7. Monitoring and listening: Monitoring contribution to the activity and body language.

8. Empathy: Recognizing positive and negative feelings of others.

9. Avoiding and ending: The appropriate behaviour and comments to end the interaction or to maintain it.

(Attwood & Gray, 1999-2001)

After observing the children's friendship skills, it is important to use behavioural and cognitive strategies in order to maintain those friendship skills (Attwood, 2002). If the skills mentioned above occur, then it is vital that such behaviour is recognized and rewarded.

Observation Checklist

This checklist is a really good idea for teachers to fill out after observing the children in class. Teachers can acknowledge what a child's' qualities are as well as what factors need improvement and working on before it becomes too late. In this observation checklist, the nine factors of social behaviours are closely looked at and then evaluated....
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