Term Paper: Social Skills in Alternative Education

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The aims and objectives of this research proposal are focused toward understanding the requirement of social skills specifically for children who are placed in alternative education courses. Certainly, there must exist most specifically within the attentive education environment a requirement that children in these classrooms be capable of tolerance related to the individual differences of other children in this education environment, which is inclusive in nature. This works seeks to make identification of the specific characteristics or social skills required of children in alternative education environments.


The methodology employed in this study is of a qualitative nature, which is held by experts and scholars to be appropriate in studying social phenomenon such as social skills among children. The methodology of this study is interpretive in nature meaning that the researcher, through reviewing available peer-reviewed literature in this study area will determine that social skill requirements of children in the alternative education classroom.


In understanding what is precisely meant by 'social skills', the work entitled: "The Power or Social Skills in Character Development" written by Jennifer L. Scully geared specifically toward assisting the success of diverse learners. The individual whom has attained acceptable social skills in today's word is the individual who: "...knows how to give and take constructive criticism; interrupts conversations only when it is appropriate to do so; evaluates their personal strengths and weaknesses; sets their own goals for self-improvement; handles conflicts in a mature and responsible way; and shows respect for each other - and for you as their teacher - in all their actions " (Scully, 2000) Scully holds that when the students "learn to respect themselves, the also learn to respect others, providing a solid foundation for improvement in social skills, as well as in the growth of their character." (2000) it is essential that students are able to "demonstrate not only academic ability but also social competence" in their development and in becoming engaged members of society. The work of Sprague and Nishioka entitled: "Skills for Success: A Three-Tiered Approach to Positive Behavior Supports" states the fact that: "Many students who are at-risk leave school without diplomas and ill-prepared to function as productive adults" and cites as supporting evidence the work of Kasen, Cohen, and Brooks (1998) Students who are those identified as "at-risk" are stated by Sprague and Nishioka to come to school "with emotional and behavioral difficulties that interfere with their attempts to focus on academic instruction. Others may experience interpersonal issues with other students or school staff that makes concentrating on learning difficult." (Sprague and Nishioka, nd) Stated as 'best practice' in working with these students starts with "early identification of emotional, behavioral, and interpersonal needs, followed by interventions to reduce obstacles to successful school adjustment." (Sprague and Nishioka, nd) the University of Oregon on Violence and Destructive Behavior developed a pilot program, which they named "Skills for Success" (SFS) which is a combination of 'school-wide positive behavior supports with specialized supports for students who are at risk in the school." (Sprague and Nishioka, nd)

SES additional supports included "specialized school-based services, family support services, and service coordination." (Sprague and Nishioka, nd) Stated as "School-Wide Positive Behavior Supports' are the components of: (1) Best Behavior; and (2) Second Step Violence Prevention. (Sprague and Nishioka, nd) Universal Screening Procedures are stated to include: (1) Multi-gated System; (2) Early Identification; and (3) Systematic School Planning. (Sprague and Nishioka, nd) School-Based Services include: (1) adult mentoring; (2) academic tutoring; (3) Self-management; (4) Check in/Check Out; (5) Inclusion Support; (6) Increased Monitoring in School. (Sprague and Nishioka, nd) Family support includes: (1) parent collaboration; (2) resource linkage; (3) Family Advocacy; and (4) Solution-Focused Planning. (Sprague and Nishioka, nd) Service Coordination is stated to be inclusive of: (1) Multi-Agency Monitoring; (2) Agency Linkage; (3) Individual Service Plan; and (4) Case Management. (Sprague and Nishioka, nd) the work of Stephen W. Smith entitled: "Applying Cognitive-Behavioral Techniques to Social Skills Instruction" relates that management of the behavior of students in the classroom is both: "...difficult and complex" as well as being: "...personally involving and professionally frustrating." (Smith, 2002) Students regardless of age are noted to sometimes "...engage in behavior that includes disrespect for authority, hyperactivity and inattention, lack of self-control, and sometimes aggression..." which results in a detraction from opportunities to learn as well as precluding positive relationships with their peers. Smith states that a viable tool for remediation of behavioral deficits and excesses may be successful through 'Cognitive-behavioral interventions (CBI). Cognitive-behavioral interventions are stated to involve: "...teaching the use of inner speech ("self-talk") to modify underlying cognition's that affect overt behavior" (Mahoney, 1974; Meichenbaum, 1977; as cited by Smith, 2002. According to Smith, the "internalization of self-statements" are considered by theorists to be 'fundamental' in the development of individual self-control, deficient of maladaptive self-statements." (Smith, 2002) in other words, self-statements of a 'maladaptive' nature are believed to contribute to the individual's negative self-beliefs, which further is a significant factor in behavioral problems in children, and this is stated to include the behavioral problem of aggression. (Smith, 2002; paraphrased) Smith also points out the work of Kendall (1993) who states: "...cognitive behavioral techniques for the remediation of social deficits can incorporate cognitive, behavioral, emotive and developmental strategies, using rewards, modeling, role-plays, and self-evaluation." (2002) the focus of Cognitive-behavioral interventions is incorporate of behavior therapy, which includes modeling, feedback and reinforcement and cognitive mediation, or the manner in which the individual thinks aloud in building what Smith refers to as a new "coping template." (2002) Susan Etscheidt (1991) desired knowledge as to whether a Cognitive-behavioral instruction of a specific type would bring about a decrease in student's aggressive behavior in comparison to students who did not receive the instruction. The program of Etscheidt contained adapted components from the work of Lockman, Nelson, and Sims (1981) 'Anger Coping Program', which is a program that provides individuals "with a way to change aggressive responses into appropriate alternatives by modifying their thinking processes regarding the circumstances surrounding certain situations." (Smith, 2002) the following "sequential strategy" (Smith, 2002) was used by Etschedit:

Stop and think before acting: Students are taught restraint in aggressive responses through the use of covert speech;

Identify the problem: The students are required to distinguish the specific aspects of a problematic situation that may elicit an aggressive response;

Develop alternative solutions: Students generate at least two alternative solutions to a problematic situation, either thinking about something else until able to relax and/or moving to another location in the room to avoid further provocation;

Evaluate the consequences of possible solutions: Students are taught the benefits of each solution that is available to them;

Selection and implementation of a solution: The students carry out the alternative solution that they have selected. (Etscheidt, 1991; as cited in Smith, 2002)

The study of Etscheidt involved three comparison groups with the first group receiving the Cognitive-behavioral instruction and the second group receiving the Cognitive-behavioral instruction and the positive consequences. Finally, the third group, which was the control group, did not receive either of the instructions. The results are stated to have indicated that: "...the two groups who received the CBI demonstrated more self-control than the control group students. In fact, the students in the control group exhibited significantly more aggressive behaviors than those who received the training." (Smith, 2002) Findings also state that adding a 'positive consequence' did not bring about a significant increase in the Cognitive -behavioral instruction effectiveness. (Smith, 2002; paraphrased) the effects of Cognitive-behavioral instruction has also been the focus of study by researchers at the University of Florida with findings stated being that curriculum can assist students in reduction of aggression and disruption of the classroom and moreover, that the: "...effects can be maintained." (Smith, 2002) the design of the curriculum is such that assists students in learning to seek out positive solutions in coping with problems of a social nature. Specifically, the design of the curriculum is one that uses a "problem-solving framework focused on understanding and dealing with frustration and anger, since anger is a correlate of disruptive and aggressive behavior and can be preceded by frustration." (Smith, 2002) Included in the lessons are anger management and problem-solving concepts akin to those in Etscheidts' program through use of a sequential strategy in the approach to problem situations that are inclusive as well of "direct instruction, modeling, guided practice, and independent practice for skill development, along with opportunities for skill generalization." (Smith, 2002) These lessons are stated to range from thirty to forty minutes in lessons two to three times a week through "following an overview of the general, step-by-step problem-solving approach" in lessons stated to be devoted to "problem recognition, a necessary first-step in any problem-solving skill sequence." (Smith, 2002) Innovation is needed in the methods employed in teaching students self-control of behavior and this is particularly true in times when student's activities are not being monitored by adults. Children with learning… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Social Skills in Alternative Education.  (2007, August 7).  Retrieved June 16, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/social-skills-alternative-education/932833

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"Social Skills in Alternative Education."  Essaytown.com.  August 7, 2007.  Accessed June 16, 2019.