Running head: Best Practices in Adaptive Behavior: Teaching Social Behavior Skills Best Practices in Adaptive Behavior: Teaching Social Behavior Skills in the Classroom to Improve Peer Relationships and Academic Achievement Kyna D. Monroe, M. Ed. Capella University Abstract This paper delves into utilizing best practices in adaptive behavior through social skills training. This study shows that teaching social skills in the classrooms plays a very important role in students’ academic performance and peer interactions.
Implications foresee that social skills training will heighten the classroom ecology thereby minimizing negative student interactive behaviors and failure. Best Practices in Adaptive Behavior: Teaching Social Behavior Skills in the Classroom to Improve Peer Relationships and Academic Achievement School psychologists have devoted almost exclusive attention to the assessment of and intervention recommendations for cognitive, perceptual-motor, and academic achievement difficulties of students.
Studies addressing behaviors necessary for success in the classroom environment have focused upon variables such as overall school climate (Wolf, 2001) and individual student characteristics (Gresham, 1990). A student’s characteristics is an important variable in a student’s environment to enhance his chances for success because some students succeed in a given situation while others do not, and many behavior characteristics can be modified by educating students in specific skill areas.
Outcomes in this research study indicate that specific behavioral competencies such as academic achievement and peer interactions are clearly linked to social skills training lessons taught to students. For this reason, it is believed that social skills is an intricate component to the classroom curriculum and is an important focus in school settings. The definition of social skills that seems to make the most sense has been termed by Gresham (1990) as the social validity definition.
According to this definition social skills are situational specific behaviors that predict important social outcomes for children and youth. In school settings, important social outcomes include, but are not limited to: peer acceptance, academic achievement, self acceptance, and school adjustment. There are several strong arguments for developing socially competent behaviors in students. First, social skills and peer acceptance have been related to long term adjustment outcomes for children and youth.
Achenbach, McConaughy, and Howell (2007) comprehensively reviewed the literature that used longitudinal and follow back studies and found that peer relationship difficulties in elementary school predicted long term maladjusted outcomes such as dropping out of school, juvenile delinquency, adult criminal behavior, and psychopathology in adulthood. Based on available evidence, interpersonal relationship problems in childhood predict serious negative outcomes as children develop into adulthood. Second, teachers consider certain social skills to be critical for success in their classrooms.
Hazel and Schumaker (1998) suggested that teachers consider a behavioral repertoire to be indicative of successful adjustment if it facilitates academic performance and is marked by the absence of behaviors that challenge the teacher’s authority and disturb the classroom ecology. Building and maintaining friendships in school is important not only for social reasons, but also because of the interactive process involved in peer relationships and acceptable classroom performance (Achenbach, McConaughy, and Howell, 2007).
Stephens (1987) described the cyclical relationship between peer relationship and classroom performance this way: “The more accepting peer relationships, the more children and adolescents are willing to engage in social interaction, provide positive social rewards for each other, use their abilities in achievement situations, and behave appropriately in the classroom (p. 91). Lastly, social competency underlies effective functioning in many domains of human life and significantly influences life satisfaction, self esteem, and psychological adjustment.
It is within the context of early social relationships that these competencies emerge and mature. As children grow, they venture beyond their families and caregivers to function with greater autonomy amidst their peers. The school is one of the primary contexts for the development of social relationships during childhood. Success in school requires that students master a variety of behaviors that, technically, cannot be classified as basic academic skills.
These social skills behaviors, however, facilitate the acquisition of both peer acceptance and positive academic outcomes (attending to tasks, following directions, etc. ). References Achenbach, T. , McConaughy, S. , and Howell, C. (2007). Child/adolescent behavioral and emotional problems: Implications of cross-informant correlations for situational specificity. Psychological Bulletin, 101, p. 213-232. Gresham, F. M. (1990). Social validity in the assessment of children’s social skills: Establishing standards for social competency.
Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment, 1, p. 297-307 Hazel, S. and Shumaker,k J. (1998). Social skills deficits. In J Kavanagh and T. Truss, Learning disabilities: Proceedings of the National Conference p. 293-366. Parktown, MD: York Press Stephens, T. (1987). Social skills in the classroom. Columbus, OH: Cedars Press Wolf, M. (2001). Social validity: The case for subjective measurement or how applied behavior analysis is finding its heart. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 11, 203-214.