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Learning social skills - Procedures

Pro social skills:
(Goldstein, Spafkin, Gershaw and Klein 1983)

Beginning - group 1

  1. Listening
  2. Starting a converstation
  3. Having a conversation
  4. Asking a question
  5. Saying thanks
  6. Introducing yourself
  7. Introducing other people
  8. Giving a compliment [Accepting a compliment]

Advanced - group 2

  1. Asking for help
  2. Joining in
  3. Giving instructions
  4. Following instruction
  5. Apologizing
  6. Convincing others

Managing feelings - group 3

  1. Knowing your feelings
  2. Expressing your feelings
  3. Understanding the feelings of others
  4. Dealing with someone else's anger
  5. Expressing affection
  6. Dealing with fear
  7. Rewarding yourself

Alternatives to aggression - group 4

  1. Asking permission
  2. Sharing something
  3. Helping others
  4. Negotiation: Conflict Resolution, problem solving, and mediation
  5. Using self-control
  6. Standing up for your rights
  7. Responding to teasing
  8. Avoiding trouble with others
  9. Keeping out of fights

Dealing with stress - group 5

  1. Making a complaint
  2. Answering a complaint
  3. Sportsmanship after a game
  4. Dealing with embarrassment
  5. Dealing with being left out
  6. Standing up for a friend
  7. Responding to persuasion
  8. Responding to failure
  9. Dealing with contradictory messages
  10. Dealing with an accusation
  11. Getting ready for a difficult conversation
  12. Dealing with group pressure

Planning - group 6

  1. Deciding on something to do
  2. Deciding what caused a problem
  3. Setting a goal
  4. Deciding on your abilities
  5. Gathering information
  6. Arranging problems by importance
  7. Making a decision
  8. Concentrating on a task

Overview:

This document includes suggestions and procedures to learn and teach social skills for people to be able to work well in pairs and larger groups.

Teaching and learning social skills

Group cooperation is necessary anywhere people gather. Outstanding leaders organize introductory activities to explain, review, or teach procedures they expect everyone to use to cooperate and get along in a group or classroom environment. People who are able to work together and achieve everyone's expectations are able to use a variety of social and problem solving skills

People refine or learn social skills when they are together with others and reflect on the kinds of interactions they and others have and how those interactions affect the group and each participant. Leaders and teachers can accelerate this learning by faciliatating it with team building activities or processing social interactions before and after any activity and discussing what works and how to improve the groups ability to achieve their goals. Discussion to polish skills or focus on directly teaching a specific skill. Such instruction might follow an instructional procedure like the following:

Social skill Instructional Procedure

  1. Select a social skill
  2. Ask. What do you know about the skill?
  3. Write all suggested ideas.
  4. Ask, as necessary, questions to clarify suggestions. Be careful not to give too much too soon as some detail is best added after initial practice.
  5. Role play in small groups with an observer.
  6. For variety could role play the opposite of the social skill. This can show what it is not appropriate and what to avoid. It can also create empathy for students to cooperate with others and care about how they act.
  7. After role play have participants list what was good, what could be improved, and if they have any questions.
  8. Discuss and write a procedure for the skill.
  9. Have participants use the skill during another role play or activity.
  10. Have the groups report their findings to the class and refine the procedure. Then make a chart with three sections: what it looks like, sounds like, and feels like.
  11. Continue to process the skill after group activities.

Depending on the background experience of participants any instructional procedure can be adjusted on the fly. If student's initial suggestions, in step 2, are comprehensive enough to write a procedure or make a looks, sounds, feels like chart, then do it. Then, decide if practice with a role play would be beneficial or role play can be skipped and everyone is ready to try the ideas in a regular activity.

When I assign groups and encourage everyone to work together I tend to start with a big picture and focus top down. Start with a big idea such as collaboration or cooperation, define it, proceduralize it, and chart it. Then unpack subskills identified in the process and beging to proceduralize and chart them. Record ideas, give them a try, see how it goes, adjust, and begin the process again. Over time this could result with a chart for collaboration and other charts for subskills: getting back to work, watching the time, check for understanding, check for agreement, and summarize. Depending on the groups and the activities in which they are involved the subskills for collaboration or cooperation will vary and other Pro social skills, subskills, or other skills may be required.

As everyone cooperates to complete activities the use of social skills and subskills can be recorded and refined as groups work. Group members can share their observations and discuss them along with observations made by you as the leader of the group.

For example: if group members got off task for a short period of time and then get back to work, in a timely manner, then you would process the incident after the activity when processing social skills. After students discuss their ideas and suggestions, point out you noticed they got off track when ... and how ... took the lead to steer them back on track? The discussion could lead to creating a chart for what it looks, sound, and feels like to get back to work. As you become better at observing how group members use pro social skills you will find many excellent opportunity to use those ideas to better define skills. This will not only help improve the groups abilities by being more skilled socially, but will encourage them and empower them to believe in their self-efficacy to be successful in group settings.

Related resources

Pro Social Skills Procedures

Group 1

Listening (1)

  1. Look at the person.
  2. Smile.
  3. Lean forward
  4. Do not interrupt
  5. Nod in agreement as appropriate
  6. Respond to their answers with a comment without changing the subject.
  7. Wait. If no response think about changing the subject.

Start a conversation (2)

  1. Think of something to start out the conversation (weather, sports, hobby, …).
  2. Look at the person.
  3. Smile.
  4. Use a pleasant tone.
  5. Ask a question. (Enjoying the weather? How about those …?)
  6. Listen. (See listening.) Do not interrupt.
  7. Respond to their answers with a comment without changing the subject.
  8. Wait. If no response think about changing the subject.

Having a conversation (3)

Invite Others to Talk

Looks Like Sounds Like Feels like
Lean toward the person. What do you think? Nervous that others may disagree.
Sitting Close together. How do you feel about this? Glad to be asked for your ideas.
Encouraging hand movements. Do you want to share? Relieved someone spoke up.
Smile Your turn. Encouraged
Eyes on person. Tell us about it. Irritated
  How would you do it?  
  What do you feel?  
  Please give us your ideas.  
  Let's each tell what we think.  
  Anyone want to add to that?  
  You haven't said anything yet.  

Respond to Ideas

Looks Like Sounds Like Feels like
Sit up Good idea. Disappointed that an idea won't work or others have different ideas.
Learn forward Good point. Feels good when everyone agrees.
Make eye contact I like that idea. Thanks. Feels good to have your suggestions considered.
Thumbs up I disagree. Feels better when your ideas are used.
OK sign I don't understand. Feels good to see ideas are successful.
Smile or frown Explain that to me.  
Puzzled look What about...  
Fist bump That part we can use.  
Clapping That sounds great, but I don't think we have the time or resources to be able to do it.  
  What do we all think about that?  
  Way to think.  

 

Asking a question (4)

Ask for Information and Opinions

Looks Like

Sounds Like Feels like
Outstretched hand What do you think? Wonder if others are understanding. in agreement.
Leaning in How do you feel about ... Nervous that others may disagree.
Eye contact Is there something more? Wonder if others are in agreement.
Squinting Explain what you mean. Relieved
  Tell me more. Encouraged
  I'm curious about... Irritated
  What about...  
  Does anyone else have an opinion?  
  What else applies?  

 

Say thanks (5)

  1. Look at the person
  2. Smile.
  3. Use a pleasant voice tone.
  4. Say. Thanks.
  5. Follow it with a statement of what you are thankful for and if appropriate why.
  6. I appreciate the ride home it is a lot better than walking in the rain.
  7. Repeat. Thanks again.

- Greet a person

  1. Look at the person
  2. Smile.
  3. Use a pleasant voice tone.
  4. Give a verbal greeting. (Hello, nice day. Wasuup!)

Introduce yourself (6)

  1. Look at the person.
  2. Smile.
  3. Walk to the person
  4. Use a pleasant tone.
  5. Say something like, "Good morning I am (your name)."
  6. Extend your hand.
  7. Shake their hand and smile.
  8. Decide if you want to start a conversation. (see having a conversation)
  9. Say, "It was nice to meet you," when you leave.

Introduce other people (7)

  1. Look at the person you are going to introduce the person to.
  2. Smile.
  3. Use a pleasant tone.
  4. Say, their name .... "Chris this is Kris." Can use an open hand motion with a slow motion from one person to the other as you say their name.
  5. Add an explanation of how you know the person. She is ...
  6. Pause to let them say. Hi, ... and make a comment.
  7. Be ready to transition to a conversation or other activity.

Give and Accept a compliment (8)

  1. Look at the person
  2. Smile.
  3. Use a pleasant tone
  4. Say "Thank you."
  5. Do not disagree with the compliment.

Group 2

Asking for help (9)

  1. Decide who might be the best person available in a timely manner to ask for help.
  2. Decide an appropriate way to approach the person to ask for help. Raise hand in class, walk up to the person, go to their office, ...
  3. Rehearse what you will say.
  4. Approach the person or get their attention. Raise hand.
  5. Look at the person.
  6. Ask the person if he or she has time to help you.
  7. Clearly explain what you need help with.
  8. Thank the person for helping.
  9. Decide if the information was helpful and to use the help or not.

Joining in (10)

Following instructions - What to do when given directions (12)

  1. Try to understand what the directions are.
  2. If you do not understand what you are asked to do ask questions.
  3. Think about what the consequences are for following or not following the directions.
  4. If you do not think you should follow the directions ask to speak to the person privately and calmly ask for a reason to follow the directions.
  5. If you still disagree you can decide to follow directions or not to follow directions. If you decide not to tell the person you can not follow the directions and give a reason. Be ready to standby your convictions.
  6. If you decide to follow directions, then no arguing, whining, or pouting.
  7. Say "OK." and follow the directions.

Apologize (13)

  1. Look at the person
  2. Use a pleasant tone.
  3. Say "I am sorry …
  4. State specifically what you feel was wrong.
  5. State a plan for not letting it happen again.
  6. Ask the person to accept the apology.

Convincing others (14)

See a process of change in Decision Making Process

Criticize the Idea Not the Person

Looks Like

Sounds Like Feels like
Body moving forward I'm unsure about what you said. Nervous someone might be upset.
Smiles Could we add more to that idea? Relieved someone spoke up.
Non-angry expression. I disagree with the part about... Disappointed an idea was rejected and needs to be replaced or modified.
Touch on shoulder. Maybe if we changed this... Glad to find an idea that might insure success.
  I like this part. If we would change this...  
  I think the ideas needs a little work.  
  Let's look at that a little closer.  

 

Manage feelings - group 3

Know and Recognize your feelings as emotionally related (15)

Express feelings - Share Feelings (16)

Looks Like

Sounds Like Feels like
Smiles or frowns I feel because Wonder if others are in agreement.
Arms folded I wish... Nervous that others may disagree.
Excited face Let me tell you how I feel about this. Glad
Tears How do you feel about .... Relieved
High fives Do we all feel that way? Encouraged
    Irritated

 

Show Appreciation

Looks Like

Sounds Like Feels like
Smile Thank you. Good to be acknowledged.
Wink That was nice. Good to appreciate another person.
Pat You helped when... Good to be recognized as a contributing member of the group.
Touch I appreciated it when... Feel accomplished.
Nod I couldn't have done it without you.  
Thumbs up I liked the way you...  
High five It really helped when...  
  Way to think.  
  You are making me feel accomplished.  

 

Expressing affection (19)

Dealing with Fear - Manage Fear (20)

  1. Recognize the emotion as fear.
  2. Figure out what is causing the fear.
  3. Decide if the situation is legitimate and what if any cautions need to be taken.
  4. Remember fear can be healthy... Fear causes us to run out of a burning building.
  5. Identify what might be done to deal with situations that cause the fear. Most often more familiarity with the situation is helpful, but this requires having to face the fear by studying its attributes or stepping into situations, simulating them and practicing how to deal with them. For example fear of tests can be overcome by working on practice tests to gain skill and confidence. Fear of animals can be overcome by working with someone that is skilled with animals and having them introduce people to a particular animal in a safe and nonthreatening way.
  6. Create a plan to face and over come your fear.
  7. Share it with someone you trust.
  8. Implement the plan
  9. Evaluate

Alternatives to aggression - group 4

Ask permission or asking for something (22)

  1. Look at the person
  2. Use a pleasant voice tone.
  3. Specifically say what you want.
  4. Might want to use please.
  5. Say thank you if the request is granted.
  6. If the request is not granted keep cool and thank the person for their time.

Sharing something - Contributing Ideas (23)

Looks Like Sounds Like Feels like
Taking turns I have an idea. Feels good to have your suggestions considered.
Raising hands. What about... Feels good when everyone shares their ideas.
Showing materials. try this... Feels better when your ideas are used.
  I think we should... Feels good to see ideas are successful.
  How about this?  
  What if we...  
  We could...  
  My idea is...  
  Good thinking.  

 

Help others - volunteering help (24)

  1. Look at the person
  2. Use a pleasant tone.
  3. Ask if you could help the person.
  4. State what you would like to do to help or ask if there is something they would like you to help with.
  5. Might want to give a rationale or benefit.

Help (Without Giving the Answer or doing the work)

Looks Like Sounds Like Feels like
Leaning together. Where did you start to have trouble? Solving a problem.
Pointing to problems. What do you think comes next? Frustrating when not know how to help without telling.
Handing materials. What do you understand? Good when the other person gets it.
Pointing to materials. Explain it to me.  
Writing How did you do that?  
Drawing Remember when...  
Manipulating objects. What if you did this...  
  Do you want a hint?  
  Asking questions.  
  Where are you?  

 

Give negative feedback or constructive criticism

Constructive criticism is non-hostile comments that suggest a problem, assist in resolving it, and encourage positive change.

  1. Look at the person
  2. Use a calm voice tone.
  3. You might want to give a positive statement or praise.
  4. Specifically describe the problem.
  5. Tell a rationale or reason why it's a problem.
  6. Offer a solution. If you don't have a solution offer a plan on how to find one.
  7. Thank the person for listening.

Negotiations (25)

See Conflict Resolution, problem solving, and mediation

Using self control (26)

Accept criticism

  1. Look at the person
  2. Say "OK.".
  3. No arguing.
  4. Do not verbally disagree with the person at this time.
  5. If you do not understand ask for clarification in a calm voice.
  6. Consider waiting until later to decide to disagree.
  7. If you decide to disagree see How to disagree.
  8. If you agree with the criticism thank the person for being honest.

Accept "No" for an answer

  1. If you do not understand why, take a deep breath and let it out slowly.
  2. Use a low, soft, pleasant voice and ask calmly for a reason.
  3. Decide that you do not want to confront the person.
  4. Look at the person.
  5. Without arguing, whining, or pouting.
  6. Say "OK."
  7. If you disagree or have a complaint, bring it up later.

Standing up for your rights (27)

Everyone has a right to communicate: to express their thoughts, feelings, and values openly and directly with consideration of the rights of others to do the same.

This relates historically to our:

For a person to claim these rights it sometimes requires them to be assertive, sometimes in a conflict situation. Remember there are four ways to handle a conflict situation: smoothing, win-lose, compromise, or withdraw. All may require an assertive response.

Situations when assertive responses can be appropriate:

Source: page 38.

Situation in which you should yield to an assertive response:

Source: page 38.

Procedure for saying no:

  1. Look at the person
  2. Use a calm tone.
  3. Thank them for wanting to include you.
  4. Say:
    • No, I’d rather not.
    • No, thanks.
    • Thanks, but no thanks.
    • Not me.
    • No way.
    • Not now (today, tonight).
    • Nah.
    • Forget it.
  5. May want to offer an explanation why you do not want to participate. (Drug related examples:
    • I don't do drugs.
    • I don't take chances.
    • It's illegal.
    • I don't want to feel like crap tomorrow.
    • Don't like the taste.
    • Don't want to hurt my lungs.
    • Don't want to disappoint my parents.
    • I want to be in control.
  6. Offer an alternative activity if you desire.
    • Food, appropriate drink.
    • Go for a walk or another public place: gym, bowling, dance, music, ...)
  7. If necessary continue to refuse to participate.
    • I said, no.
    • I don’t feel like it.
    • I really mean no. or
  8. Leave ... Walk away (I’ve got to go now. My friends are expecting me in ten minutes). Resistance can make you empowered and feel good. People who do not honor other's right to make an assertive response are not friends, they want to control others.

Disagree appropriately (politely)

  1. Take a deep breath, let it out and relax.
  2. Look at the person.
  3. Use a low soft pleasant voice tone.
  4. Use an empathy or a concern statement.
  5. Say specifically what you disagree with.
  6. Give a rationale or reason why you disagree.
  7. Thank the person for listening.
Looks Like Sounds Like Feels like
Lean toward the person Let me suggest another idea. Tense
Eye contact I see what you're saying. Want to avoid the situation.
Wrinkle nose Consider this. Want to ask for help.
Open body language That's one way to look at this... We worked it out before, we can again.
  Ask for clarification.  
  I don't agree.  
  I have a different idea.  
  I would agree with that if...  
  I can not go along with that.  

Report peer behavior

  1. Look at the person
  2. Use a calm tone.
  3. Ask to speak to the person privately.
  4. Describe specifically what the person has done.
  5. Give a rationale, benefit, or reason for reporting.
  6. Suggest how the person might be helped if you have an idea.
  7. Thank the adult for listening.

Resist peer pressure

  1. Look at the person
  2. Use a calm tone.
  3. Thank them for wanting to include you.
  4. Explain that you do not want to participate.
  5. Offer an alternative activity if you desire.
  6. If necessary continue to refuse to participate.

Get a teacher's attention

  1. Look at the person
  2. Raise a hand.
  3. Wait for the teacher to call on you.
  4. Use a calm voice.
  5. Ask your question or say what you want to say.

Avoiding trouble with others (29)

Reduce Tension

Looks Like

Sounds Like Feels like
Make the "time-out" signal. Can we start from where we agreed? Tense
Smile Can we compromise on this? Want to avoid the situation.
Sitting down, relaxing ... Maybe we all need to take a deep breath. Want to ask for help.
Shaking head Time out! We worked it out before, we can again.
Calm down gesture Let's not get carried away.  
Wink Can we work together to resolve this?  
  It's OK to disagree. Can we move on?  
  Let's keep calm.  
  What are you upset about? Can I help?  
  Is it possible to do both?  
  Remember what we do when we have a conflict.  
  How can we make this a win-win?  

 

Dealing with stress - group 5

Procedure to Manage and Deal with Stressful Situations

  1. Recognize feelings and emotions which are stress related. See below: Bodily responses to alarm, stress, and chronic stress
  2. Figure out what is causing the stress.
  3. Remember stress can have both positive and negative results and can be reduced by taking charge, changing or accept perceptions, communication, laughter, exercise is also important to reduce the harmful effects of stress and blow off steam, relaxation techniques .... For more information see Ways to Manage and Reduce stress
  4. Devise a plan to deal with stress. See ideas below on Ways to Manage and Reduce stress for ideas.
  5. Share it with someone you trust.
  6. Implement the plan
  7. Evaluate

Planning - group 6

 

Setting and achieving goals (45)

Four Step process

  1. Focus on getting started
  2. Select a goal
  3. Select a plan or process to achieve it and implement it.
  4. Monitor and adjust

Explanation and suggestions for setting and achieving goals

  1. Focus on the situation and recognize a need for change. Think of how it will help you, how it may help others, how you will feel after you accomplish it, and then the hardest part is just getting started. So go...
  2. Select a goal
    • State the goal clearly. What will be done when it is achieved.
      • I walk / jog 20 laps or twenty minutes each day.
      • I will read a book of my choice at least 30 minutes each day.
      • I will do 15 push-ups after each TV program I watch.
    • Check to see if the goal is realistic and attainable.
      • Have I done this before?
      • Are you trying to do too much for two weeks. For example: If you can only do 15 push-ups now, then start with 16, instead of 30. Then increase by 1 each day so you can do 3o at the end.
  3. Select effective strategies. Write a procedure for your plan to implement and achieve your goal.
    • Write your procedure for achieving the goal. Include suggested time to start and how to record your progress.
      • I will go to the rec center at __:___and walk and jog on the track 20 laps or for twenty minutes each day after school and on week ends in the early afternoon.
      • I will choose a book and read for at least 30 minutes each evening. I will sit on a chair in a quiet place (living room, den, kitchen ...) from 8:00 - 8:30 each night.
  4. Monitor, evaluate, and reflect how to monitor the progress of the procedure to achieve the goal and how to adjust if necessary.
    • I will record what I do each day, think about my achievement, and get psyched for tomorrow.

Making a decision

See Decision making process

Group working together - collaboration & cooperation Compound skill:

Looks Like Sounds Like Feels Like
Heads together Let's get started.
We can do this.
Wow! we are accomplishing something.
Sitting Close together with everyone able to make eye contact by only moving their heads. Could you help us with this? Other students are listening to my suggestions.
Eyes on activity We need to... I can really learn when I listen.
Pointing to material Look at this. Do we all agree on that? It's good to learn from other students.
Looks at clock Can we talk about that later? I understand better when I talk about my ideas.
Passing materials to someone else. How much time is left? I feel more confident when we agree to an idea.
On edge of chair Does that make sense to everone? When we work together we accomplish more.
A lot of leaning forward Let's move on.
Next, lets...
When we share our different ways of understanding it helps us all to understand more.
Eye contact Any other suggestions.  
Smiles You do that and I'll do this.  
Open body language We're halfway there.  
Goal setting We're almost done.  
Staying on task Thank you  
Getting back on task when necessary What if ...  
  So really we could ...  
  Clapping, high fives, good idea, good job, good question, good thinking, way to think,  
  Does that make sense?  
  What do you have?
What do you think?
What are we going to report?
 

 

Getting Back to Work

Looks Like Sounds Like Feels Like
Point to materials We need to get back to work. Oh. Yes. Thanks for the reminder.
Tap on desk What can we do next? Dang. We have a lot to do and not much time.
Look the people in the eye Let's go on. Pressure...
Point to the directions Let's skip this and go on for now. Relief there is ____ time left.
Hand motions Where are we now?  
Pass materials Let's keep going.  
Pointing to the clock I think we are off track.  
  We should talk about that later.  
  We only have ____ minutes left.  
  We need to all concentrate.  
  Do wee need to start over?  
  Lets' do that later.  

 

Manage, Watch, Time

Looks Like Sounds Like Feels like
Looking at the clock We have five minutes Being pressured to get done.
Point to watch How much more time? Feeling relieved that we seem to be on schedule or ahead of schedule.
Motion to hurry We're running out of time.  
Looking at directions We're wasting time.  
  Let's move on and come back to that later.  
  We're ahead of schedule.  
  We need to move along.  
  Look at the clock.  
  Let's make a plan.  
  Hurry up.  
  Go on.  
  How much time can we spend on each part?  

 

Check for Understanding

Looks Like

Sounds Like Feels like
Eye contact Explain that. Wondering if everyone has the same understanding.
lean forward How did you get that? Wondering if I understand what the others understand.
Group involvement Can you show me? Wonder if others in the group are thinking the same as me.
  Give me an example.  
  Tell us how to do it?  
  How would you explain it?  
  What do you have?  
  What do you think?  
  Does that make sense?  

 

Check for Agreement

Looks Like

Sounds Like

Feels like
Thumbs up. Do you agree? Nervous everyone might not agree.
OK sign. Did you get that? Happy everyone is in agreement.
Head nods. Is that OK with you?  
  Did we all get the same answer?  
  How many agree?  
  Shall I write it now?  

 

Summarize

Looks Like

Sounds Like

Feels like
One person will be talking at a time. Short conclusions. We are almost done.
Writing thoughts. Let's review what we have. We are getting done.
Listening The main purpose is... Needing to make sure one last time.
  So what we've said so far is... Confident everyone is on the same page.
  At this point we are...  
  Would you all agree on this conclusion...  
  Our key idea seems to be...  
  This is what we agree to so far.  

 

 

Dr. Robert Sweetland's notes
homeofbob.com & schoolofbob.com