Social Skills in Alternative Education  Term Paper

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.." As well as having problem with self-expression both of which affect the individual's interpersonal communication. For example, the child with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD) may be "inattentive, impulsive, hyperactive - or any combination of these." (Stanberry, 2002) the work of Stanberry (2002) states that there are three elements of social interaction which include the following three:

Social Intake - noticing and understanding other people's speech, vocal inflection, body language, eye contact, and even cultural behaviors;

Internal Process - interpreting what others communicate as well as recognition and self-management of emotions; and Social Output - how an individual communicates with and reacts to others, through speech, gestures and body language. (Stanberry, 2002)

Stanberry relates that the work of Janet Giler, Ph.D has outlined three potential problem-areas for students with learning disabilities including:

Kinesis: The inability to read facial expressions of body language;

Vocalics: Misinterpretation of pitch; and Proxemics: A misunderstanding of the use of personal space. (Stanberry, 2002)

The sequential strategy is again noted by Stanberry who states that after the individuals reads another individual's social cues, next the information is processed, meaning extracted, and then a decision is made as how the individual will respond effectively. Stanberry states that Thomas Brown, Ph.D. has termed this ability "emotional intelligence" explaining that this is a "...form of social intelligence that involves the ability to monitor feelings and emotions in self and others; discriminate among feelings; and use this information to guide thinking and action." (2002)

There are several different instruments used in social skills development, which are identified as the following:

Teenage Inventory of Social Skills: A forty item self-report questionnaire in which items are rated on a six-point scale. This instrument has two subscales. Twenty items measure prosocial behavior and twenty items measure asocial behavior. This instrument was developed for assessing social competence and for identification of behaviors that are needed in social skills training intervention. (Indertitzen and Garbin, 1992)

Social Skills Questionnaire: This instrument was established for evaluation of the Second-Step program, which is a violence prevention curriculum for pre-school through middle school. This instrument assessing the student in terms of concept understanding, vocabulary and strategies related to social problem-solving and management of emotions. This instrument's format is multiple choice and fill-in-the-blank short answers. (Second Step: Committee for Children, nd)

Social Skills Rating System (SSRS): This instrument was developed in a two-phase evaluation study of the "...social behavior and academic functioning of students participating in classrooms where part or all of the Responsive Classroom approach was being utilized." (Elliot, 1995) the 'Responsive Classroom' is inclusive of classroom organization, a morning meeting, rules and logical consequences, choice time, guided discovery, and assessment and reporting to parents." (Elliot, 2005) This project was focused toward answering six questions:

Do students exposed to the Responsive Classroom approach exhibit higher levels of social skills and academic functioning than peers with limited exposure?

If the Responsive Classroom approach is effective, how can the school system get others to buy into the approach?

What is the acceptance level of the Responsive Classroom approach by parents, and does the level of acceptance vary depending on socioeconomic or ethnic/racial group status?

What is the level of implementation of the Responsive Classroom approach across the system?

What is the level of parent involvement in schools implementing the social curriculum?

What are critical structural and environmental elements that need to be in place for successful implementation of the Responsive Classroom? (Elliott, 1995)

Conflict Resolution Skill Scale: This instrument measures the ability of students to make suggestion of solutions relating to interpersonal conflict that considers both individual's positions in the solution of the conflict. (Child Development Project: Developmental Studies Center, 1993g)

Social Problem Solving Inventory: This instrument contains five scales used to evaluate community service programs. The six scales of this instrument are:

Social and Personal Responsibility Scale - 21 item Likert type scale that measures sense of responsible attitude towards other; sense of competence to act on feelings of concern; and sense of efficacy-believing that taking action can make a difference.

Semantic Differential: measures attitudes towards adults, others, and being active in the community;

Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale: Ten-item scale that measures the self-acceptance aspect of self-esteem;

Janis-Fields Feeling of Inadequacy Scale: Measures self-esteem tied to social settings;

Problem-Solving Inventory: measure the ability to perform four tasks in the resolution of problematic social situations: (1) generate alternative solutions to the problem; (2) actively seek to resolve the problem and accept responsibility for its resolution; (3) Consider the merits of alterative solutions in terms of their consequences; and (4) developmental orientation/considerations used in the resolution of the problem. Conrad and Hedin, 1981)

Student's Social Problem-Solving Strengths Checklist: This instrument was developed based on the principles represented by the acronym FIG TESPN as follows:

F: Feelings cue me to problem-solve;

I: I have a problem;

G: Goals give me a guide;

T: Think of things to do;

E: Envision outcomes;

S: Select my best solution;

P: Plan the procedure, anticipate pitfalls; practice and pursue it;

N: Notice what happened and now what? (Elias & Tobias, 1996; p.53)

Peer Nomination Inventory: This instrument is comprised of 48 statements along four dimensions: (1) Aggression; (2) Dependency; (3) Withdrawal; and (4) Depression. (Wiggins and Winder, 1961) Students are instructed to identify all male classmates that the statement applies to in description of personal characteristics.(Hodges, Malone, and Perry, 1997)

Interpersonal Problems Scale: Four factors are identified:

Integrative;

Avoidance;

Distributive; and Indirect (Witteman, 1988)

The following table labeled Figure 1 lists each of these instruments for measuring social skills in students along with the age level applicable for appropriate use among student age and school grades, the administration and scoring, and the reliability and validity according to the Character Education Partnership (2007)

Social Skills Instrument Index

Instrument

Age Level

Type

Administration and Scoring

Reliability

Validity

Teenage Inventory of Social Skills, Inderbitzen

M.S. & H.S.

Social Skills Questionnaire, Second Step

Preschool, Elem. & M.S.

Social Skills Scale, Elliott

Elem.

Conflict Resolution Skill Scale, CDP (g)

Elem.

Social Problem Solving Inventory, Conrad

H.S.

Problem Inventory, Elias

Elem.

Students' Social Problem-solving Strengths Checklist, Elias

Elem.

Teacher / Rater

Peer Nomination Inventory, Hodges

Elem.

Peer Nomination Inventory, Wiggins

Elem.

Interpersonal Problems Scale, Witteman

Character Education Partnership (2007)

The Character Education Partnership has identified "Eleven Principles of Effective Character Education" which are stated as follows:

Principle 1: Promote core ethical values as the basis of good character;

Principle 2: defines character comprehensively to include thinking, feeling, and behavior;

Principle 3: Uses a comprehensive intentional, proactive, and effective approach to character development;

Principle 4: Creates a caring school community;

Principle 5: Provides students with opportunities for moral action;

Principle 6: Includes a meaningful and challenging academic curriculum that respects all learners, develops their character and helps them to succeed.

Principle 7: Strives to foster student's self-motivation;

Principle 8: Engages the school staff as a learning and moral community that shares responsibility for character education and attempts to adhere to the same core values that guide the education of students.

Principle 9: Fosters shared moral leadership and long-range support of the character education initiative;

Principle 10: Engages families and community members as partners in the character building effort;

Principle 11: Evaluates the character of the school, the school staff in their functioning as character educators and the extent to which students manifest good character.

METHODOLOGY

Variables affecting the sample in this proposed study are identified as the various individual problems that resulted in individual students being placed in alternative education. These variables are inclusive of AD/HD; Autism, Tourette's Syndrome as well as a variety of other disabilities of students who will be participants in this study. The sample in this proposed research will be relatively small or approximately thirty to forty students and who are students exposed to home environments that may be detrimental to their development. Other variables will therefore include variation in background in social skills development within the home and community as students will be at varying levels of social skills development.

SUMMARY and CONCLUSION

The literature reviewed in this research proposal has clearly indicated a need for social skills development education in the alternative classroom environment. Each of the sources reviewed has indicated a sequential strategy that must be considered in the social skills development initiative. Cognitive-behavioral instruction has been found to be highly effective in this area of development for students with learning disabilities. This study has identified several instruments used in previous studies for measure of social skill levels among students and indicated the appropriate measure according to the age and grade level of students. Recommendations arising from this research include a recommendation for more study to be applied in this area in disseminating what strategies within the sequence are more effective for individuals with specific disabilities in learning.

Bibliography

Child Development Project (1993g) Conflict Resolution Skill Scale - Conflict Resolution Skill Scale -Oakland, CA, Developmental Studies Center Web Address: http://www.devstu.org

Conrad, Dan; and Hedin, Diane…

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