Social Skills Activities for Teens

Instructor: Alicia Taylor

Alicia has taught students of all ages and has a master's degree in Education

Students grow into better friends when they are given solid lessons in how to communicate. This lesson offers three activities to help students develop three verbal and nonverbal social skills.

Active Listening

Objective: Students will learn to listen actively to others.

Goal: Students will learn the definition of active listening and will take turns practicing it with partners.


  1. Write the definition of active listening on the board: 'Active listening means setting yourself aside while you seek to thoroughly understand what someone else means to tell you.'
  2. Ask the students why they would be happy to have someone actively listen to them. You might start them with an example like, 'I could tell they were not jumping to conclusions about my meaning.' Allow several minutes for discussion.
  3. Then, ask the students how they would feel about the person doing the listening. They should all agree that they would like that person and think they were a good friend. Explain that if the students themselves use active listening, people will like them and appreciate their friendship.
  4. Underneath the definition on the board, write four numbered instructions: (1) do not interrupt, (2) pay close attention, (3) ask clarifying questions about confusing points, and (4) repeat the speaker's meaning through paraphrase. Explain that these four actions are essential to active listening. Ask the students why the first instruction is important, then the second, and so forth.
  5. Practice: Number the students with even and odd numbers. Tell the even numbered students they will be the listeners during Round 1, and the odd numbers will be listeners during round 2. The topic for round 1 is 'My most fun day with my family.' Let them know they will discuss something different with a different partner in round 2 (the change of topic and partner will discourage the listeners from the distraction of thinking about their own turn). Allow ten minutes for each round.
  6. For round 2, have the odd numbered students all stand and move one group to the left, but the even numbers will stay in place. During round 2, the talker will speak about, 'My greatest achievement.'
  7. After both rounds are complete, tell the talkers to evaluate their listeners, writing down notes about how well their partners followed the instructions on the board. Collect these papers.
  8. Finish the class with a discussion about active listening. How did it feel to be the active listener? How did it feel to be the person who was listened to? When could you use active listening in real life? What would people think of you if you did?


Objective: Students will know how to compliment others effectively.

Goal: Students will determine what makes a good compliment and will practice complimenting their classmates.


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