Building Social Competencies
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Focus on skill development. Programs that are only informational or that rely
exclusively on textbooks and lectures may provide students with information about skills,
but they do not promote the actual learning and use of those skills.
Use effective instructional strategies. Skill development is the result of learning
information about the skill, being exposed to modeling of the skill, practicing the skill,
receiving feedback on use of the skill, and being reinforced for using the skill. This
requires an interactive classroom format in which students participate in learning and
trying out new skills and in which the use of those skills in encouraged and reinforced.
The classroom is a laboratory for development of skills that can then be used outside the
Emotional skills include:
- Identifying and labeling feelings * Delaying gratification
- Expressing feelings * Controlling impulses
- Assessing the intensity of feelings *Reducing stress
- Managing feelings
Cognitive skills include:
- Self-talkconducting an "inner dialog" as a way to cope with a topic, a
challenge, or to reinforce ones own behavior.
- Reading and interpreting social cues-recognizing social influences on behavior and
seeing oneself in the perspective of the larger community.
- Using steps for problem solving and decision makingsetting goals, identifying
alternative actions, anticipating consequences, acting, and evaluating consequences.
- Understanding the perspective of others
- Understanding behavioral norms (what is and is not acceptable behavior)
- Developing a positive attitude toward life
- Self-awarenessdeveloping realistic expectations in order to predict ones own
Behavioral skills include:
- Nonverbalcommunicating through eye contact, facial expressiveness, tone of voice,
gestures, style of dress, etc.
- Verbalmaking clear requests, responding effectively to criticism, resisting
negative influences, expressing feelings clearly and directly, giving and receiving
- Taking actionwalking away from situations involving negative influences, helping
Al Davis, firstname.lastname@example.org
County Extension Agent, 4-H
Johnson County, Kansas
Kansas State University Research and Extension