5 Ideas to Teach Social Skills to your Students
Having social skills is essential for success in life. Kids must be taught the use of good social skills in order to include and accommodate for the wide range of students in the classroom. Inclusive classrooms are representations of the real world where people of all backgrounds and abilities co-exist.
Here are some ways in which you can create a more inclusive classroom and support social skill development in your students:
Practice what you preach
Students learn what you show them. The teacher’s positive and welcoming attitude sets the tone of behaviour between students. They learn how to interact with one another. For example, teachers who expect students to not talk loudly and use 'inside voices' shouldn't be yelling at the class to get their attention. In other words, practice what you preach.
Role play it out
It is important to not only teach the students a concept or lesson but then give them a chance to practice what they have learned. The same holds true for teaching social skills. We need to give opportunities to students to practice what they have learnt. An effective method of practice is through role-playing. Teachers can provide structured scenarios in which the students can act out and offer immediate feedback.
My Big Buddy
Interacting with peers is a very important social skill, but it is just as important to learn how to interact with others who may be older or younger than us. The Big Buddy system is a great way for students to learn how to communicate with and respect different age groups. An older class can pair up with a younger class for a project. This type of activity needs to be pre-planned and carefully designed with student's strengths and interests in mind.
Class Meetings are a wonderful way to teach students how to be diplomatic, show leadership, solve problems and take responsibility. Hold weekly class meetings to discuss current classroom events and issues. Successful and productive meetings involve discussions centered around classroom concerns and not individual problems. In addition, it reinforces the value that each person brings to the class.
Be my Pen-Pal
You can arrange for students to become pen-pals with a students of same age from another school. It teaches students how to demonstrate social skills through written communication. Particularly valuable for introverted personalities, writing letters gives students time to collect their thoughts. It levelled the playing field for students who had special needs or were non-verbal.
This article is inspired and contains excerpts from The Inclusive Class website. Read the original here.