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Posts Tagged ‘#socialconnectedness’

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A colleague came into the staff room, barely containing laughter, bursting from within, along with the the story she was eager to share.

Just moments before she had walked into a classroom, where three high school-aged students (all of whom have diagnosis which included struggles affecting social skills) were giggling hysterically. In between their joyful giggles, they were telling each other knock-knock jokes.

As the story was relayed to myself, and my colleagues, I found myself reflecting on what a beautiful scene that must have been. I also found myself pondering how beautiful it was to have heard of what these students can do, when left to their own natural devices.

So often, we in school think that we are the only instruments that can be used to teach social skills. We also often seem to forget that our definition of social skills might not be appropriate for our students to learn to understand.

How many times have I asked a student to “say the who thing” in response to a question? Yet, if someone were to ask me “what is your name?” I would not respond with “my name is Carole” but, simply, “Carole.”

Although, I do believe that social skills often do need to be taught, the best practice of them is done, not in the classroom, but in real life … out in the community, over lunch with friends (just friends, no educational sidekicks), doing social activities like swimming, shopping, playing games, having a drink at the local coffee shop … you know, the stuff that is social for the rest of us.

The nature of most (if not all) humans is to desire human connectedness. We do not all desire it in the same ways, nor in the same frequency (some need very little, many need much), but we do desire to connect with other humans. Within us all, that innate desire can push us to achieve what we want so greatly. Even for those who have a diagnosis that includes struggles with social skills.

What a delight to be reminded that my job is more to encourage real situations, where the real practice of social skills can be exercised, and less to teach a lesson plan about it.

These teens want human connectedness, and, as with any other teen, they are determined to achieve it.

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