Over the weekend whilst I was busy promoting our summer social skills sessions, a few professionals reached out and asked what methods I use to teach social skills so that they too could set up their own social skills groups.
And nothing could make me happier than sharing those methods with you. After all, the more social skills are taught the better things will be for your children.
So if you are considering setting up a social Skills Group, what do you need to do:
Construct Groups Carefully
Putting together groups of children who you think will genuinely get on well together is really important. Try to find common ground between them, whether that is via their special interests, their strengths or their difficulties. Finding things that bind them together will give your group a focus that will appeal to young people, and will mean that could people are more likely to engage outside the group.
Make It Fun
Social Skills doesn’t have to be boring. In fact if it isn’t fun, it’s likely that you won’t keep students engaged in the sessions for very long at all. Be silly, get things wrong, show them it’s ok to make mistakes. But best of all let them correct you and show you how to be socially appropriate. There is nothing quite as funny as seeing your teacher in a muddle.
The thwarted actress in me loves role play and Social Skills is a great chance to utilise that love. Overtly model good social behaviour and unacceptable social behaviour. Show your students what it’s like to be on the receiving end of both…. I guarantee when they see you do something like overturn a chair in a lesson, you will have their attention like never before. After all, sometimes seeing someone else behave differently is a a great way to highlight just what it looks like from the outside.
Let Students Take Charge
Giving students a sense of control is really important in Social Skills sessions. Not only do I ask my groups what they want to work on and to practice. But I give them a chance to be the directors within the sessions. It’s they who tell me what I need to do to make my behaviour more socially appropriate and they who take on the role of the teacher in role plays, giving me the advice I need to help me regulate my emotions. Giving them time to direct a scenario from the outside gives them the confidence to realise that they know the answers and that they can achieve they want to.
Give Them Chance To Practice
Last but definitely not least, I give my students a chance to practice a whole array of different skills right there and then in the session – in an environment they feel safe. We run through scenarios, possible questions they could ask and all the different answers they could give. Ultimately they get to practice being them, but in a place where they know the whole group has their back and will help them if they start to struggle.
Export Those Skills To Real Life
Once my students are feeling confident in the classroom, it’s time to get out and about and practice what we’ve learnt. Sometimes we plan a session to do that, and sometimes it takes the form of homework. But by the time we’re at that point everyone knows that this is a skill they can do and are ready to show the world!
If you’re looking for a Social Skills Group for your child, why not drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details about our online groups which are running throughout the summer holidays. Places are going fast however, so please be aware that we may not be able to accommodate all requests.