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Social Skills: The Hidden Ingredient to Success. Outcome for this Session is to Understand: What social skills are Benefits of teaching social skills How social skills instruction ties into PBIS and RtI Steps to teaching social skills

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Outcome for this Session is to Understand:

  • What social skills are
  • Benefits of teaching social skills
  • How social skills instruction ties into PBIS and RtI
  • Steps to teaching social skills
  • How to collect data and make decisions based on your campus needs
incorrect assumptions
Incorrect Assumptions

Social skills are observed and learned informally

Pull out groups with the counselor will fix the student so the classroom teacher does not need to be involved.

understanding these beliefs will yield the most benefit
Understanding These Beliefs Will Yield the Most Benefit

Behavior is learned

Behavior is teachable

Behavior is changeable

Behavior occurrences are affected by the environment

Behavior is more likely sustained if it is effective, efficient, relevant, and durable

“Inappropriate” social skills meet a student need and until we teach an “appropriate” replacement skill they will continue to use the inappropriate behavior

characteristics of social skills deficits
Characteristics of social skills deficits:
  • Unable to attend to class/task
  • Has negative interactions with peers
  • Lacks sensitivity toward others
  • Has poor self-image (worthless)
  • High levels of frustration or stress
types of social skills deficits
Types of Social Skills Deficits:
  • Skill Deficits
    • Problem: the student does not have the skill in his/her behavioral repertoire
    • Method: direct instruction, model, and observation (ex. Queen)
  • Performance Deficits
    • Problem: the student has the behavior but does not use it due to lack of enforcement
    • Method: manipulate antecedents through peer initiation
  • Self Control Deficits
    • Problem: the student lacks the control necessary to inhibit inappropriate behaviors
    • Method: behavior modification techniques
effective schools
Effective Schools
  • Move Beyond Punishment
    • Teach, monitor, and reward appropriate behaviors before relying on punishment
  • Effective Leadership
    • Work smarter not harder
    • Actively involved
    • Clear direction
pbis is a
PBIS is a

Social Skills instruction is a key element of the PBIS framework






Social skills are setting specific






Social skills instruction is guided by RtI


Tertiary Prevention:



Systems for Students with High-Risk Behavior








Secondary Prevention:

Specialized Group

Systems for Students with At-Risk Behavior



Primary Prevention:


Wide Systems for

All Students,

Staff, & Settings

Continuum of social skills intensity


~80% of Students



Continuum of Support for ALL students and ALL skills

Anger man.

Prob Sol.

Address social skills strengths & challenges

Ind. play

Adult rel.


Coop play

Peer interact.

Label behavior…not people

Dec 7, 2007

teach social skills like academic skills










(In Settings)

Teach Social Skills like Academic Skills
implementation plan
Implementation Plan
  • Form a team (PBIS or sub-committee)
  • Establish the need, priorities, and commitment
  • Draft a mission/ purpose statement
  • Develop working structures (scheduling, groupings, curriculum, management)
  • Develop maintenance structures (sustainability, fidelity and effectiveness)
steps of teaching skillstreaming
Steps of Teaching Skillstreaming
  • Define the Skill
  • Model the Skill
  • Establish Student Skill Need
  • Select Role-Player
  • Set Up the Role-Play
  • Conduct the Role-Play
  • Provide Performance Feedback
  • Assign Skill Homework
step 1 define the skill
Step 1: Define the Skill
  • Teacher explains the skill that will be taught through questioning and discussion
    • This is brief—no long lectures!
step 2 model the skill
Step 2: Model the Skill
  • Learning by Imitation
    • Observational Learning
      • Learn by observing others—mostly peers
step 3 establish student skill need
Step 3: Establish Student Skill Need
  • Identify each student’s current and future need for the skill
  • An open group discussion is needed to establish relevant and realistic role-plays
steps 4 6 select set up and conduct role play
Steps 4-6: Select, Set-Up, and Conduct Role-Play
  • Norms, roles, and responsibilities must be established
structure role plays for success
Structure Role Plays for Success
  • Explain expectations
  • Review goal
  • Start with lower level skills and work up
  • Stress one skill at a time
  • Do not allow one student to take up all the time
  • Allow for down time- saturation
  • Not everyone feels comfortable
    • Allow for some spectator behavior
    • Don’t force them to speak
teacher roles and responsibilities
Teacher Roles and Responsibilities
  • Model active listening
  • Model effective ways of communicating whenever possible (Use “I” statements)
  • Help group members clarify
    • Reflect- mirror responses
    • Paraphrase- restate responses
    • Question- further clarification
    • Share experiences
  • Point out similarities/differences
  • Praise and reinforce the smallest behavior
  • Have fun
  • Relax!
step 7 provide performance feedback
Step 7: Provide Performance Feedback
  • Provide reinforcement only after role-plays that follow the behavioral steps
  • Reinforce everyone involved in the role-play
  • If role-play deviates from behavioral steps, reinforce “trying,” but re-teach the steps
step 8 assign skill homework
Step 8: Assign Skill Homework
  • Try steps in real life settings
  • Start with school environment
  • Start with relatively simple assignments (lower stress situations)
  • Teacher and student decide when, how, and with whom
keys to generalization
Keys to Generalization

Involve others

Use examples from instructional universe

Teach general case and skill variations

Teach self-management strategies

Teach within and across settings


Step 1: Write the names of your students in the first column. Refer to the skills listed on the right and check off any skill sets that the student displays significant deficits compared to their peers. Count the total number of students for each skill set and write it at the bottom of each column.

Classroom Survival Skills:


-Asking for Help

-Saying Thank You

-Following Instructions

-Completing Assignments

-Asking a Question

-Ignoring Distractions

-Making Corrections

-Setting a Goal

Friendship-Making Skills:

-Introducing Yourself

-Beginning a Conversation

-Ending a Conversation

-Joining In

-Asking a Favor

-Giving a Compliment

-Accepting a Compliment



Skills for Dealing with Feelings:

-Knowing Your Feelings

-Expressing Your Feelings

-Recognizing Another's Feelings

-Expressing Concern for Another

-Dealing with Your Anger

-Dealing with Another's Anger

-Expressing Affection

-Dealing with Fear

Skill Alternatives to Aggression:

-Using Self-Control

-Responding to Teasing

-Avoiding Trouble

-Staying Out of Fights

-Problem Solving

-Accepting Consequences

-Dealing with an Accusation

Skills for Dealing with Stress:

-Being Honest

-Dealing with Losing

-Dealing with Being Left Out

-Being a Good Sport

-Accepting No

-Saying No

-Reacting to Failure

-Dealing with Group Pressure


Step 2: Fill in the left column with the staff names (grouped by grade level) and total the number of students that were recommended for each skill set.


Step 3: Transfer the total number of students who were requested for each group to this page.

Step 4: If more than 20% of your campus or a particular grade level needs a certain skill set, you will want to teach those skills school-wide or per grade-level. What skill set(s) does your data show need to be taught school-wide?

  • Brainstorm as many avenues as possible for teaching social skills at a school-wide level.

Step 5: Identify skill sets that are needed at your campus that will not be addressed school-wide or through an existing social skills program.

  • Brainstorm all of your resources/ staff for small group social skills instruction.

Create small groups based on the skill needing more intensive social skills instruction.


Step 6: Create a calendar for teaching the skills.

How will progress be monitored?

How will the campus reinforce the skills taught?