The Importance of Social Learning
Our world is a social place, and we spend most of our time as members of social groups. We all use our social skills everywhere we go. Social skills are about sharing space with others and being able to get along with people in a variety of settings. An individual’s social success is based upon the quality of his or her social interactions. In order to have positive social interactions, an individual needs to be socially competent and have strong social learning skills.
Whether we are talking or not, and whether we are alone or in a group, we are thinking about what other people think, both about ourselves and about others. In order to figure out what we will say or do, we constantly consider our perspective and other individuals’ perspective. We are expected to think about our situation along with the other people involved in the social situation as we determine what to say or do.
Strengthening Social Skills
Social situations can be very complicated. Individuals with social learning challenges often get lost in a maze of social understanding. He or she may have learned specific “social skills” and still be unsuccessful in social groups. We need to give people with social language deficits the tools they need to figure out how people think in different situations and which social behaviors (hidden rules) are appropriate in different situations.
Creating Stronger Social Relationships
Non-verbal and verbal language skills are the building blocks of meaningful social relationships. Some of these skills include: awareness of one’s body in relation to others in close proximity; the ability to figure out a situation using your eyes; taking others’ perspectives; taking turns; comprehension of the rules of initiating, maintaining, and ending conversations; understanding the difference between thinking about something and doing something; self-advocacy skills; appropriate use of humor; and awareness of how one’s behavior affects relationships.
Social Competence Makes Everything Better
Social competence in the classroom has been linked with positive intellectual outcomes. Social emotional learning competencies include self awareness, social awareness, self management, relationship skills, and responsible decision making. These characteristics need to be developed for children and young adults to be successful, not only in school but also in life.