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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

TEACHING SOCIAL COMPETENCE

The first step in addressing social compencies for students at risk is to identify their current positive social competencies versus their social incompetencies. Knapczyk & Rodes (1996) state that it is important to ask the question, “What must these students learn to improve their behaviour?” This focuses the student and the teacher on improving the skills the student requires to be successful in achieving their social and academic goals. The requirement then is to define the traits that competent students utilize in order to be successful and lay the foundation for teaching the student the skills they may be lacking (Knapczyk & Rodes, 1996). Initial assessments and observations are required to determine the areas that the intervention needs to target. A well-planned approach and discussions regarding the expectations of the student in a particular environment or setting is essential to developing an appropriate intervention for the individual student (Knapczyk & Rodes, 1996).

There are guidelines that are helpful in developing or listing a student’s expectations in particular settings or environments. Knapczyk & Rodes (1996) have found the following guidelines to be beneficial when initiating a program that is focused on developing social competence.

1. Describe the student’s expectations in positive terms. What should students do - Not what they should not do.
2. Describe expectations in terms of observable behaviour. Be specific when describing behaviour – Puts up his hand to answer the question.
3. When possible list expectations in chronological order. What is the general sequence of the activity or intended expectation? Define using a starting point and an end point. Example: He entered the classroom quietly. Returned to his desk quickly.
4. Delete items that are not true expectations. Is the expectation truly required for social competence?
5. Be sure the list reflects the full array of expectations for the situation. How the student participates in a verbal discussion as well as the ability to follow classroom rules.

By employing these guidelines, a curriculum can be developed for the student that matches their particular needs and skills. Evaluation can then take place to determine the quality or effectiveness of the intervention according to specific criterion and an assessment completed following the teaching period (Knapczyk & Rodes, 1996).

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