Curriculum for Teaching Social Skills
Teaching social skills to young children is a difficult task under any circumstance however when the children are suffering from emotional or behavioral problems it seems to interfere with this process and make it much more difficult. There are several known answers through curriculum that can help educators to be able to work on social skills with students who are facing either emotional or behavioral problems or both. Through the use of these curriculums there can be great benefits to both the students and the teachers.
The teachers will benefit in being able to work on social situations with the students in their classrooms and in being able to communicate the strong need for social interaction in life. The students will benefit by being able to work on building friendships, trusting others and really finding a way to communicate how they are able to do these things. Curriculum Options for Teachers One of the problems that have often faced teachers who are working with children who have emotional or behavioral problems is that they are unable to communicate their social needs to the teacher.
These students have a hard time being able to express their need for friendship, the need to describe feelings or the ability to be able to communicate any of this to others. Through information that has been gathered by researchers it has been concluded that these students need direct intervention into their ability to socialize with others. There have been multiple suggestions as to how this can happen and what would be a good way of introducing social skills to these students. There are many different methods and ways that this can be done.
One way that has been shown to be successful is one on one interaction with the students and role play into specific situations. Obviously the situations have to be mild and can not be too involved or too intense but rather something that is on the same thinking level as the students involved (Vaughn, Sinagub, and Kim 2004). Success for the students who were experiencing these emotional and behavioral problems has drastically depended on the type of curriculum that was used to introduce and teach social skills.
One study looked at story problems as a way to teach these skills to students who were suffering from emotional problems and this study showed a drastic improvement in these students having the ability to communicate with each other. The students were better able to understand through the story the idea of how one might feel or how reactions of theirs can be harmful to others. However, the students were unable to comprehend these same ideas and beliefs when they were just discussing them and not hearing them in a story (Rahill and Teglasi 2003).
There could be many conclusions drawn from these examples and this type of curriculum. The idea is that the students have the ability to understand and comprehend what is being said about things and how they are interacting with others. When the student is not forced to look at the whole picture and is used to just getting glimpses they are unable to realize the overall impact of issues, however when they are exposed to the entire story or belief then they are able to understand the entire story and can reason as to why the others are feeling the way that they are.
Without this ability to reason the student would be unable to successfully communicate with others and could not be thought of in the same social light and category as if they were able to understand these issues. Another great option for teachers to use in the classroom to teach social skills is to be trained in how to incorporate Cognitive Behavioral Therapy into the curriculum. By using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or CBT the student is learning how to control their own behaviors and emotions.
This is probably one of the best options for students who have behavioral or emotional problems as it is a way for them to learn how to be able to control things themselves without warnings or discipline. There are a number of ways that this treatment can be integrated into the classroom. One thing is for sure though that teachers need to be aware of the therapy and how to properly integrate it into the classroom prior to using it in the classroom setting.
If they are not competent and they try to use it there are many things that could go wrong and the children could be emotionally damaged in some way as with all therapeutic processes. This subject has been widely researched. “During the past two decades, researchers have found that cognitive strategies can decrease disruption/aggression and strength pro-social skills” (Daunic, Smith, Brank and Penfield 2006, 123). To better understand the benefits of CBT being integrated into the classroom it would be important to understand some basic facts about CBT.
CBT is basically a way of self control where the student is taught how to control their negative behaviors or emotions in order to prevent behavioral issues. Through CBT the student would learn how to understand when they are reaching a point where they are going to react in an inappropriate way and they would be able to monitor themselves and talk themselves down. For younger students this would prove to be more difficult to learn but by learning the process young the students would be able to carry it over into their current lives and how they react in most situations.
With this process being taught in the classroom there might even be further benefits in the student’s home and other extracurricular activities as the student would apply some of the same lessons and principles to the situations that they were involved in at these locations. All of these advantages could be gained and getting needed training is not difficult for educators and something that they can discuss with their superiors and school boards. There are other forms of intervention that could be used in the classroom curriculum.
With students who are suffering from autism there are special skills and curriculums that could be offered to help with their behavioral difficulties. There is a call for a new curriculum that would be an advantage to all students with emotional and behavioral difficulties and not just those who were suffering from autism. For the most part articles that are written on this subject point out that no current curriculum is available for this issue and that there are some key components that would need to be featured if there were to be a curriculum.
Of the many key components that would need to be considered one is to “make the abstract concrete. ” Students who are suffering from emotional and behavioral problems often have a hard time being able to understand the abstract thoughts that are often a part of teaching social skills. By making concrete examples that these students can understand there is a higher likelihood that they will apply these principles to their own interactions on a social level. Another area that is needed is “structure and predictability.
” Having a classroom with a set routine is something that is important as when students are taken out of a routine situation they often have anxiety and with behavioral issues anxiety often ends in the student not being able to communicate his or her needs and having a breakdown in the classroom. By having “engaged transactions” the students would be able to learn what their overall needs were and would be able to practice communication and social skills with one another.
Through “scaffolded language support” the students would be able to work on better using language and communication in a way that all people would understand. “Multiple and varied learning opportunities” might seem as though it would be repetitive or boring for the students however for students who are suffering from emotional or behavioral problems this might just be exactly what is needed for them to understand. By planning “’other’ focused activities” in the classroom it would allow the students a break from learning social skills and could promote a better understanding of the skills during future lessons.
Looking at “fostering self awareness and self esteem” is also important as it would show each child that he or she is special and would encourage them to believe in their own self worth. Another area that needs improvement is that the teachers need to focus on having “select relevant goals. ” When teachers try to teach students with emotional or behavioral difficulties too many things it threatens to worsen their condition and can cause them to have multiple additional problems with what they are already having.
Some other teaching methods like “sequential and progressive programming” are also a huge advantage as are “programmed general and ongoing information. ” All of these practices and initiatives can be easily added to most curriculums in the classroom and could really have great advantages to the students who have emotional and behavioral issues (Krasny, Williams, Provencal, and Ozonoff 2003). Benefits to Teachers for Using a Curriculum to Teach Social Skills There are many benefits that can be seen by teachers who are choosing to teach social skills and social skill improvement to students who suffer from emotional and behavioral problems.
Some of these are that there is an increased focus on the student being able to perform and being able to interact with others in a positive manner. Through this the student would be able to interact with the teacher in a more positive manner as well. These skills would also help there to be fewer disturbances and disruptions in the classroom which is a great benefit for the teaching in her ability to control her classroom. Benefits to Students for Using a Curriculum to Teach Social Skills There are also many advantages for the students who are working on learning social skills.
The students are able to take advantage of these skills and these areas because they are learning how to communicate better with others. Communication is such an important part of our world and the world around us and without communication one would suffer in many areas of life. Also there are valid reasons why friendships can really aid in a student’s overall behavioral and emotional issues and students who have more friends are less likely to have these types of problems. If a student learns these new social skills they are likely to have more friends, do better at home and in school and overall be in trouble less often.
Conclusion In conclusion, it is important that teachers be taught the necessary skills needed to integrate certain behaviors into the classroom. The teachers need to be able to integrate programs into their curriculum that will teach students with emotional and behavioral difficulties the much needed social skills. These much needed social skills will improve the student’s lives in so many ways and will help the students to be able to be better behaved and more successful in a number of areas of their lives. References Daunic, A. P. , Smith, S. W. , Brank, E. M. , and Penfield, R. D. (2006).
Classroom-Based Cognitive-Behavioral Intervention to Prevent Aggression: Efficiency and Social Validity, Journal of Social Psychology, 44(2), 123-139. Krasny, L. , Williams, B. J. , Provencal, S. , and Ozonoff, S. (2003). Social Skills Intervention for the Autism Spectrum Essential Ingredients and a Model Curriculum, Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America, 12(1), 107-122. Vaughn, S. , Sinagub, J. and Kim, A. (2004). Chapter 10 Social Competence/Social Skills of Students with Learning Disabilities: Interventions and Issues, Learning about Learning Disabilities, (3rd ed. ), 341-373.