Teaching the Soft Skills

It seems like many skills have to be taught to my little guy explicitly. Like I have to spell out exactly what he should be doing at each point. I’m not sure why I’m surprised, but I was. Perhaps I felt like no one had taught them to me before and I somehow blundered into them and thus expected that kids learn them the same way. Perhaps my expectation of a 7.5-year-old boy is too high and he would indeed learn it on his own in a couple of years. I can’t even remember how well I was able to concentrate at that age.

Once again, the pedagogy befuddles me and I had to research some new ways to teach these skills besides plain nagging and lecturing, which obviously hasn’t gotten me very far. I came across some interesting strategies on this responsive classroom site. One of them

Things for me to try:

Interactive modeling –  modeling the correct behavior and asking the kid(s) to tell you what they observe.

Positive language – closely observing and give feedback on what is working.

“I see you followed our rule on _____” and “You did _____. That helps us all be better learners.” “You tried several different ways to solve that problem. That kind of persistence really helps you learn!” “You used your quiet voice. That helped me concentrate on my work.”

Some of the things I would like to work with him on improving are:

1. Transitions

  • Review expectations: what is supposed to happen. How it should look/ feel
  • Give advance warning: Teach him to plan what to do when the warning is given. Model thinking about a good stopping place, how to organize cleanup/ wrapping up and estimate how long it would take.  Ask him for his plan and review what worked and what didn’t and what else to try next time.
  • Have a set amount of time for transition

2. Staying focused on listening to speaker

  • Teach what staying focused looks like: Eyes on speaker, hands by the side/ in lap
  • Self-awareness on when he is distracted and how to refocus

3. Staying focused on task

  • Practice what that looks like during meal times and getting ready for bed

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