Friday, April 4, 2008


Social Skill Repair: Creative Methods To Build Students' Peer Skills

Peer interaction problems can make any school or agency site chaotic, loud, unpleasant or unsafe. There are no quick fixes to instantly turnaround all your peer problems, but here are some fun ways to begin the process.

The more you can use creative, unexpected and humorous methods, the more success you may achieve repairing poor peer skills. Rely on methods that catch your resistant, oppositional, depressed, withdrawn and defiant youth off-guard and powerfully engage them in learning despite themselves. The interventions below offer those benefits.

** Who You Gonna Call? Gropes Busters! Here's a fun multiple choice quiz that teaches while your students are laughing. Permission is granted to you to print out the quiz for use with students.

The Gropes-Busters Quiz

1. When standing near other kids, it is very important to stand: a) Nose to nose b) On their toes c) About one arm length away

2. When other students say "No," it really means: a) "Yes" with an attitude b) The "n" and "o" are silent c) Stop!

3. When touching others, a guideline to follow is: a) Grope first, ask second b) Ask first, grope second c) Ask first and comply with the answer

4. When watching pro sports like football and hockey, it is important to remember that a) Slapping people's backsides is a universal greeting b) Violent contact is welcomed everywhere c) No one should ever behave as badly as misbehaved pro athletes

5. When touching others, it is always best to a) Never touch anything labeled "radioactive" b) Never touch anything you can't reach c) Never touch until receiving permission first

To generate a dialogue about interacting with peers who are ethnically, culturally, or otherwise different, use this group experience exercise: Divide students into two groups. Each group will be given the task of either buying or selling items. Privately provide separate instructions to each group on how they may behave, and have these instructions conflict. For example, one group may talk only to blondes; the other group may not permit blondes to talk to others from outside the group. The resulting conflict will mirror real-life clashes and can be followed by a discussion on identifying, understanding and managing cultural, ethnic and interpersonal differences.

"Problem hands" can be a big problem. It is important to teach youngsters who are being victimized, how to avoid additional problems. But, in addition, remember to teach the victimized kids that they are not to blame. Victims sometimes don't report problem touching by peers for reasons that relate to self-blame. Teach these youngsters that they were not to blame regardless of their dress, demeanor, reputation or personal history. Self-blame issues can be especially important for girls and young women.


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