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Cowen presentation

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  • 1. Developing Social Competence in our Students
    Amanda M. Cowen
    Highlands Elementary Faculty Meeting
    February 9, 2011
    2:30-3:30
  • 2. Defining Social Competence
    What is social competence?
    Why is it important for teachers to understand?
  • 3. What are the implications of children not developing social competence?
    Loneliness later in life
    Lack of school readiness
    Behavior issues
    Attachment problems
    “Not having a playmate or a friend and being unable to cultivate one leads to feelings of rejection and can damage emotional and social development” (Lawhon & Lawhon, 2000, p. 108)
    “All children need social and emotional skills so they can be successful in life. Positive early experiences promote optimum brain development, which impacts all areas of development: social, emotional, physical, cognitive, and language.” (Willis & Schiller, 2011, p.42)
  • 4. Table Discussions
    Think of a child you work with that you feel has a high level of social competence. What characteristics do you notice?
    2. Think of a child you work with that you feel has a low level of social competence. What characteristics do you notice?
    3. Put your table thoughts onto the T-chart provided.
  • 5. Share Your Thoughts
    “Teachers will need to observe children over a period of time, document their behavior, and watch their interactions with peers” (Bullock, 1993, p. 54) to determine whether they show signs of loneliness, social isolation, or lack of social skills. (Lawhon & Lawhon, 2000, p. 106)
  • 6. Strategies for Teachers
    Fostering social skills in the classroom:
    Confidence
    Curiosity
    Self-control
    Cooperation
    Communication
    “Acceptable social skills are related to the development of companionships, friendships, intimate relationships, a healthy lifestyle, happiness, and stability” (Lawhon & Lawhon, 2000, p. 108)
    (Adapted from Willis & Schiller, 2011)
  • 7. Model confidence by discussing some of your challenges
    Encourage students to try new things & acknowledge their successes
    Read books with themes related to confidence
    “Self confident children understand that life is full of ups and downs… confident people have a deep, realistic faith in their capabilities that is not deterred by setbacks.” (Willis & Schiller, 2011, p.43)
    Confidence
    Curiosity
    Ask questions such as “I wonder what would happen if we…?” or “How can we…?”
    (Adapted from Willis & Schiller, 2011)
  • 8. Self-control
    Cooperation
    “When children learn self-control they make better choices and they are more likely to respond appropriately during stressful situations” (NAEYC, 2011, p. 44).
    Model self-control by staying calm and describing what you do when you stay under control
    Share your emotions with your students
    Discuss ways to handle strong emotions
    Use photographs to jumpstart a discussion on how people can work together
    With students, brainstorm a list of ways cooperation can help your classroom
    (Adapted from Willis & Schiller, 2011)
  • 9. Communication
    Use complete sentences and expect the child to do the same
    Be fully present in conversations!
    Use vocabulary that expresses compassion and empathy
    Make the environment conducive to communication by giving children lots of opportunities to solve problems together, and experience new things
    “Children who express themselves are likely to feel a sense of self-worth and build social and emotional skills… Effective communication builds relationships” (Willis & Schiller, 2011, p. 46).
    (Adapted from Willis & Schiller, 2011)
  • 10. References
    Lawhon, T., & Lawhon, D.C. (2000). Promoting social skills in young children. Early Childhood Education Journal, 28(2), 105-110.
    Willis, C.A., & Schiller, P. (2011, January). Preschoolers' social skills steer life success. Young Children, 42-49.

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