Social Skills Programs for High School Students

Instructor: Della McGuire

Della has been teaching secondary and adult education for over 20 years. She holds a BS in Sociology, MEd in Reading, and is ABD on the MComm in Storytelling.

In this lesson, we will look at some examples and descriptions of evidence-based programs designed to help high school students develop social skills.

The Best Years of Your Life

For many people, high school holds fond memories, but for others it is more difficult. Given the problem of bullying, as well as increased school shootings and suicides as a leading cause of death among young people, teaching social skills in high schools can be a matter of life and death. Because the stakes are so high, any program that might be implemented to improve social skills among teens should be based on valid research backed by sound evidence.

Here is a list of 5 comprehensive high school social skills programs that use research-based, evidence-driven practices:

  • Social Skills Intervention Guide
  • Think First
  • Prepare Curriculum
  • Skillstreaming the Adolescent

Let's take a look at these programs, including the structure and content of each. The citations needed to find the whole program are included below the description of each program.

Social Skills Intervention Guide

The Social Skills Intervention Guide (SSIG) includes 20 units of instruction as well as other strategies for intervention. The program provides support resources, assessment tools, and a resource disc with several activities and documents. The SSIG is organized with a set of Social Skill Domains including: Communication, Cooperation, Assertion, Responsibility, Empathy, Engagement, and Self-Control.

Let's look at the terms that each of these Social Skill Domains emphasizes in the SSIG:

  • Communication terms: conversation, interchange, talk, information transmittal, nonverbal communication
  • Cooperation terms: joint action, collaboration, synergy, partnership, teamwork, coalition, participation, mutual assistance
  • Assertion terms: claim, bold declaration, affirmation, clear and firm statement
  • Responsibility terms: trustworthiness, reliability, doing one's duty, dependability, accountability, liability
  • Empathy terms: sympathy, compassion, commiseration, understanding, kindness, warm-heartedness, benevolence, philanthropy
  • Engagement terms: participation, involvement, connecting, interest
  • Self-control terms: poise, self-restraint, reserve, self-regulation, level-headedness

Citation: Gresham, F.M. & Elliott, S.N. (2008) Social skills intervention guide. Minneapolis, MN: Pearson. Frank M.

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