Social skills lesson plans combine information, activities and evaluation to help people practice and understand the use of various social skills. Used in numerous settings with different groups of people, these plans assist people of all ages and backgrounds.
A lesson plan can be used in homes, schools or places of employment, so long as its contents match the needs and understanding of the audience.
Basic social skill instruction can be used with children or as part of a rehabilitation plan for people with some types of developmental disability. Lessons for complex skill sets, such as conflict resolution, may be incorporated into professional training. Needs and skill levels vary by person, so it’s essential that a lesson plan caters to the individual circumstances.
Social skills include a wide range of scenarios and behaviors, and are influenced by many different internal and external factors, so choose one or two skills or concepts as they apply to the audience. For example, information on self-esteem may not be relevant to a seminar on crisis intervention, but information on non-verbal behaviors can help this audience during conflict resolution.
Consider the audience, again, when choosing your means for delivering the information. A lecture and printed materials can help those in training, while a group discussion may be better for younger audiences.
Give the students an opportunity to put the information into practice, as this helps them retain the information and teaches the behavioral aspect of the skill. The use of role-playing activities can help the students who play the roles, as well as the other members of the group. Assign a role, such as “Aggressive Communicator,” to one student and assign the “Interventionist” role to another; ask them to perform in front of the class.
The “Interventionist” is then able to practice calm body posture and assertive communication in the face of anger, which will help him or her in a real-life situation.
The students and teacher can provide feedback, and then repeat the process with two new roles by another pair of students. Crisis intervention is obviously more critical than many other social scenarios, but the benefit of role play is that it allows you to learn from your mistakes in a “safe” setting.
Role play works with younger audiences, too, though you may want to incorporate games that encourage cooperation between group members. For example, separate the kids into pairs and have them play “Pin the Tail on the Donkey” with one blindfolded and the other giving “hot / cold” verbal instructions. Reward manners and positive communication during the activity.
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The ultimate benefit of the lesson and activity comes from the student’s ability to apply the concepts to other situations. Ask the students to identify everyday life scenarios in which they can use this skill.
For example, children in the classroom may note that they can use cooperation and positive communication at home with their siblings. Use a series of social skills lesson plans to build on the initial topic, or try new activities to reinforce the same skill lesson.
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