Teaching the Curriculum Skills - Boys Town Education Method. 1995

Basic Skills

Following Instructions
Look at the person,
Say "Okay."
Do what you've been asked right away.
Check back.

Accepting Criticism or a Consequence
Look at the person.
Say "Okay."
Don't argue.

Accepting "No" for an answer
Look at the person.
Say, "Okay,"
Stay calm.
If you disagree, ask later.

Greeting Others
Look at the person.
Use a pleasant voice.
Say "Hi" or "Hello."

Getting the Teacher's Attention
Look at the teacher.
Raise your hand. Stay calm.
Wait until the teacher says your name.
Ask your question.

Making a Request
Look at the person.
Use a clear, pleasant voice.
Explain exactly what you are asking for. Say "Please."
If the answer is "Yes," say "Thank you."
If not, remember to accept "No" for an answer.

Disagreeing Appropriately
Look at the person.
Use a pleasant voice.
Say "I understand how you feel."
Tell why you feel differently.
Give a reason.
Listen to the other person.

Advanced Skills

Giving Criticism
Look at the person.
Stay calm. Use a pleasant voice.
Say something positive or "I understand."
Describe exactly what you are criticizing.
Tell why this is a problem.
Listen to the person. Be polite.

Resisting Peer Pressure
Look at the person.
Use a calm voice.
Say dearly that you do not want to participate.
Suggest something else to do.
If necessary, continue to say "No."
Leave the situation.

Making an Apology
Look at the person.
Use a serious, sincere voice.
Say "I'm sorry for ... " or "I want to apologize for.
Don't make excuses.
Explain how you plan to do better in the future.
Say "Thanks for listening."

Talking with Others
Look at the person.
Use a pleasant voice.
Ask questions.
Don't interrupt.

Giving Compliments
Look at the person.
Speak clearly and enthusiastically.
Tell the person exactly what you like.

Accepting Compliments
Look at the person.
Use a pleasant voice.
Say "Thank you."
Don't look away, mumble, or deny the compliment.
Do not disagree with the compliment.

Look at the person.
Use a pleasant, enthusiastic voice.
Ask if you can help. Describe the activity or task you are offering to do.
Thank the person.
Check back when you have finished.

Reporting other Youths' Behavior
Look at the teacher or adult.
Use a calm voice. Ask to talk to him/her privately.
Describe the inappropriate behavior you are reporting.
Explain why you are making the report.
Answer any questions the adult has.
Thank the adult for listening.

Introducing Yourself
Look at the person. Smile.
Use a pleasant voice.
Offer a greeting. Say "Hi, my name is ...
Shake the person's hand.
When you leave, say, “It was nice to meet you.

Preventive Teaching Sequences

PIanned Teaching Sequence- State One

Introduce Skill
Label the skill to be taught
Describe the situations in which the skill may be used. Use a wide variety.
Ask students to “think about a time when you introduced yourself to somebody. Be ready to share about that time.”

Describe Appropriate Behavior
Specifically describe each step of the skill.
Clearly state your expectations or criterion levels to achieve the best results.
Define terms and discuss expectations.
Teach specific behaviors.

Give Rationale
List a variety of benefits or payoffs that may be derived from using the new skill.
Students should be involved in generating rationales to enhance meaning and ownership.

Request Acknowledgement
Determine whether students understand why or how using a skill can be beneficial to them.
Checking for Understanding by having students repeat the skill steps to you.
Use Overt and Convert Active Participation.

Actively engage students in role plays or scenarios where this skill may be practiced.
Ask students to self- and peer-evaluate using student pairs.
Student to teacher practices are beneficial as well.

Give students specific, descriptive feedback following each practice of the skill
The feedback may be corrective as well.

Include a positive consequence for positive behaviors exhibited by your students.
Consequences must be carefully selected to make sure the reinforcement is contingent upon everyone’s performance.
Recognize individual efforts by privately discussing appropriate behaviors with the particular student.

Establish Future/Follow-up Practice
Inform the students of the next opportunity for practicing the skill with you.
Follow-Up sessions will reinforce your initial teaching efforts by allowing additional exposure fo the skill during neutral times.

Preteaching Sequence- Stage Two

Reintroduce Skills
Repeat the process as above involving the students in the Preteaching Sequence.

Describe Appropriate Behavior
Have students involved in providing description of appropriate behavior,

Have students involved in provide descriptions of appropriate rationales.

Request Acknowledgement
Determine students’ understanding by Checking for Understanding having students repeat the skill steps to you.
Use Overt and Covert Active Participation.

Practice (optional)
Amount of practice is based on individual student needs.

Feedback should be positive, specific and corrective when necessary.

Positive Consequence
Students will earn a positive consequence for participating in a Preteaching Sequence.

Inform Student of Upcoming Situation
Inform the students of a specific, upcoming situation in which they’ll need to use the skill they’ve been practicing.

SODAS Problem Solving Method - Boys Town Education Method. 1995

S - Defining the Problem Situation

Before the student can be expected to engage in the skill of problem recognition, he or she must first be able to recognize that a problem situation exists. Situation# 1: You get home from school on Tuesday and realize that you left your science book at school and you have a unit test on
Wednesday. Is this a problem? Why or why not?
Situation# 2: You get home from school on Tuesday and realize that you left your science book at school and you have a unit test on Friday. Is this a problem? Why or why not?

O - Examining Options Available to D - Deal with the Problem

The single most important problem-solving skill is being able to generate a list of alternatives or options. The ability to k now what to do in case of failure helps one to avoid becoming withdrawn or resorting to impulsive behaviors. Experts (Spivack & Schure 1977) consider the skill: 1) The most powerful predictor of maladaptive behavior; 2) The skill that is best enhanced through training; 3) the one that, when fostered, seems to result in the greatest improvement in student classroom behavior.

The teacher should:
1) Help the student generate options in the form of potential solutions by asking questions like, "Can you think of a way to handle that?" or 'What do you think you can do about this?" "Can you think of other ideas?"
2) It is important to remain nonjudgmental when students give options.
3) Once students can generate three or four options for every situation, they should be considered competent at this phase.

A - Determining the Disadvantages of Each Option

Determining the Advantages of each Option
Once students are capable of generating three or four options to a problem, they need to learn how to evaluate or analyze the advantages and disadvantages of each option. Two basic criteria should be addressed:
1) Efficacy: “Will this solution help me achieve my goal without causing me additional problems?”
2) Feasibility: “Will I be able to take the action outlined in my options?”

1) In a sense, teachers are helping students understand that there is a cause and effect relationship between his or her decisions and what happens to him or her.
2) It is important to remain nonjudgmental and not argue with a student about her/his perceptions of the advantages or disadvantages.
3) If the student clearly does not see or cannot verbalize an important advantage or disadvantage, you should offer your viewpoint and allow the student to react.

S Deciding on the Solution/Simulation

Have the student select a solution and prepare to successfully implement it by conduction any necessary Role Plays or Simulations. The student is more likely to commit to make the option work is she/he is truly comfortable with it and feels ownership for the choice.
1) Once the option 1s selected by the student, the teacher should encourage and reassure the student that the solution can be successfully
2) The teacher should set up the role play or practice session for the student.
3) The teacher should participate in the role play by playing the opposing role to the student. The teacher can present the student with several possible responses so that he/she is more likely to succeed.
4) Express confident, be encouraging, supportive and empathetic.

Factors to Keep in Mind:

  1. Model problem solving for your students
  2. Take the time to provide specific teaching in the SODAS process.
  3. Look for every opportunity to praise/encourage your students when they use the SODAS process.
  4. Promote generalization by encouraging your students to use the SODAS skills outside the classroom and school setting.



Dr. Robert Sweetland's Notes ©