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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Teaching Social Problem Solving

Teaching Social Problem Solving

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These guidelines are an excerpt from my free eBook "A Psycho-Education Skill Building Guide for Teachers: Social Problem Solving." To download this eBook, click on the link at the bottom of this post. 1.Model the steps. Talk out loud using the problem solving steps. Have children practice with easier problems first, and make sure that the problem solving plan is manageable in terms of what children are expected to do. 2.Make sure the plan is specific and something children can visualize doing. 3.Make sure the plan is positive, stating what the child or children are going to start doing (e.g., “William will walk in front of the line”), not what the child is going to stop doing (e.g., “William will stop pushing in line”). 4.Help children word the problem in a way that leads to a solution. 5.Make sure the solution selected will be helpful in the long-term as well as in the short-term. 6.Teach children to evaluate their thinking, for example, ask, “Was that a good idea?” 7.Teach children to evaluate their approach to solving problems, e.g., “What other options or choices you have here?” 8.Help children express “likes” (e.g., “I like…” “I want…”), not “dislikes,” or the opposite of what they want. 9.Turn children’s concerns into a specific goal. For example, if the child feels rejected by his peers and has no friends, a specific goal would be for the child to talk to a classmate (selecting a peer that is cooperative), and inviting the classmate to play during recess. 10.Use a trial period to evaluate the results, for example, two weeks. If the child does not reach the goal, modify the original plan and/or select an easier goal. To download "A Psycho-Education Skill Building Guide for Teachers: Social Problem Solving," go to: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/20187

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Brittany Hansberry's picture

Another tip!

Social skills can be especially difficult for students with special needs. These steps are perfect to assist the students. Another great resource is using social stories. Social stories are books or ebooks that explain and model how to act in specific situations. There is a free app called Social Stories that allows you to take pictures and make a realistic social story to assist the student.

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