Work hard; play hard!

Work hard; play hard!
Consulting in Maui!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Social Skills and Goal Setting

We had the students assess themselves using the Skillstreaming Checklists (you can just google it and find the checklists for students, parents and teachers). During our first month we have the students go through their own checklist. We do it question by question in class so that the students take their time filling it out and the data more accurately reflects where they are functioning in terms of social skills. Then we have them bring the parent checklist home to have one or both of their parents fill it out on them. After that we graph both results, talk about the differences, others' perspectives and the importance of know what others think about in terms of your social skills. From there we highlight any item that there is a difference of at least two points (meaning....there is a number between one rater's scores versus the other rater's scores).
Next, we develop our personalized goal areas. We take a few things into consideration; scores in the 1-2 ratings are always areas of need, scores that have a discrepancy between raters need to also be carefully considered because there is possibly a lack of awareness in this area, and finally what we as social skills teachers think are blocking them the most in the school setting.
After we have these areas talked about, we ask the students to pick their top three areas that they need to work on based on the previously listed criteria in the above paragraph. We make them go over every one of these steps out loud in class because all of them need to begin to get better at "owning" their difficulties.
Now that they have (with our guidance) picked their top three, my co-teacher and I tell them we get to pick the one that they will start working on. It is here that we explain the difference between a democratic process versus a dictatorship ;-). We find that the majority of our social skills class has a difficult time taking feedback and directives without questioning or challenging it. It is good practice for them to experience a little bit of dictatorship within the classroom.
Now we are ready to get into the "get down and grungy" work of goal setting. This is the sheet we use to understand what their objective looks like and doesn't look like. We always start with what it DOESN'T look like. The students usually have no problems with that side. Then we move to what it does look like. We go through each student's form one-by-one so that they learn through other people.
Last, we have them email their teachers, dean and parents with this sheet to tell them that this is their current social skills goal that they are working on. They then ask them to hold them accountable. This gives people permission to call them on their choices or praise them for their choices. As you can imagine, some of our students don't like this "public" accountability. We, as social skills teachers, though LOVE it! You will see much better carryover and awareness of their skills by doing this.

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