Dramatic Expressions - Teaching personal, social and emotional skills through drama

Social Settee or Conversation Couch?

Posted on | February 17, 2012 | No Comments

Over this half term I’ve had time to delve around a bit behind those headlines of a few weeks back which suggested that employers are concerned about potential young workers’ lack of interpersonal skills, amongst other things. Here’s one for example: http://tgr.ph/AspjCA

Interpersonal skills are, apparently, one of a set of ‘soft skills’ which  includes elements such as punctuality and organization. Emphasis is now being placed on the teaching of such skills in schools as a preparation for life in the workplace, so it is said http://bit.ly/w8rOxO

It seems to me that  the work I’ve started with the youngsters sits well with this. Of course we are always trying to ensure good results in English and Maths for deaf pupils, but to stand the best chance it seems that interpersonal skills are also key. The difficulties for deaf young people to develop these skills at a high level are obvious. However, I don’t think success in this area is altogether related to degree of deafness. It seems to me that it has something to do with personality, and something to do with a willingness to empathesize and enter into the needs of others.

One area around which I have been working recently is that of  ‘social responses’ . We get as far as teaching children to say ‘hello’ and ‘goodbye’ and ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ in the right places, but it seems to me that we sometimes don’t get much further than this. For instance we say, ‘How are you?’ to a child and they answer ‘OK’ or ‘Fine’ but do we teach them that this is, in fact, a two-way enquiry? If someone says, ‘It’s my birthday’ or ‘I won the race’ or ‘My cat’s just died’  what are appropriate replies? At what age should we be expecting to see the development of these responses?

And so these are the resources I am working on just now to use with my conversation couch…or is it a social sofa?    

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