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What is a Social Skills Curriculum?

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 of the various topics and components of a comprehensive social skills curriculum, as well as lesson ideas to teach these skills.

Social Skills Curriculum

It can be said that schooling has as much to do with the socialization of children as it does with teaching academic content. At school, students learn to interact and communicate effectively with their peers and with authority figures. It is important that schools recognize this role with an explicit social skills curriculum to help students of all ages and developmental levels. These topics fall into a few basic categories, each with several possible lesson ideas to instruct children and adolescents. These categories include:

  • Communication
  • Being part of a group
  • Expressing feelings
  • Caring for oneself and others
  • Social problem solving
  • Managing conflict
  • Listening

Let's see what some lessons could be for each category.

Communication

Communication can be verbal or nonverbal. There are several ways to teach effective verbal and nonverbal communication. Students can share something special about themselves, including values and special interests. They should learn how to introduce themselves and remember others' names, get to know others, or make a new friend. Students benefit from learning to give and receive a compliment and find common ground. Nonverbal communication skills to teach include using tone and volume of voice, eye contact, facial expressions, and gestures in communicating. Students should also learn about managing appearances, personal space, using touch and posture, and interpreting these body language signals and emotional cues in others.

Being Part of a Group

Effectively managing interaction within a group is a necessary skill for students, and it doesn't always come naturally to everyone. Several lessons can help children learn to navigate being part of a group. Specific skills to learn may include: how to join a group and meet new people, cooperating and sharing, asking questions and following rules, making group decisions and following rules, being a good sport and a role model, accepting differences and fostering group identity, identifying true friends, and understanding cliques.

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