Does Your School’s SEL Program Teach Social Skill Behaviors, or Just Talk About What Students “Should Do”? If We Taught Reading the Way We Teach SEL, None of Our Students Would Learn How to Read

Does Your School’s SEL Program Teach Social Skill Behaviors, or Just Talk About What Students “Should Do”?

If We Taught Reading the Way We Teach SEL, None of Our Students Would Learn How to Read

Dear Colleagues,


   A recent survey of 1,500 pre-kindergarten through Grade 3 teachers found that these teachers rate their students as less skilled in the areas “Listening, Sharing, and Using Scissors” than students five years ago (Education Week, June 3, 2024).

   While the article goes on to cite the pandemic as “a primary reason,” I would suggest a much more compelling cause:

Most of our schools are not teaching the behaviors of Listening and Sharing as part of their SEL (or just general classroom) programs.

   Yes. . . they may be talking to students about the importance of these skills, but they are not behaviorally teaching, practicing, and transferring these skills into students’ independent “behavioral repertoires.”

Indeed, if we simply read to students at these grade levels, described what we were doing, and encouraged them to do the same thing. . . would any of our students ever learn how to read themselves?

   The point here is that we must teach students specific social skill behaviors the same way that we teach them the five component parts of literacy—that is, phonemic awareness, phonetic decoding, vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension.

   And the "same way” includes hundreds of positive practice repetitions at different times, under different conditions, and at different levels of intensity.

   That’s just how children learn. . . to read. . . and the behaviors that represent social skills.

_ _ _ _ _

   In today’s Blog, we are going to break it all down and discuss how to teach students social skills.

   As the developer of the Stop & Think Social Skills Program, I have been teaching in this area since the early 1990s. . . in thousands of schools across the country.

   Today, we share some of the underlying science-to-practice of why the Stop & Think Social Skills Program is successful, evidence-based, and needed—especially—by preschool through Grade 3 students in order to learn how to Listen, Share, and so much more.

How are Social Skills Taught to PreK to Grade 3 (and Other) Students?

   Clearly, and especially from a cognitive-behavioral (Piagetian) perspective, the developmental differences between preschool to Grade 1, Grades 2 and 3, Grades 4 and 5, and Middle through High School students, respectively, need to be factored into any teaching situation. This is one of the reasons why the Stop & Think Social Skills Program has separately-written manuals for each of these grade bands.

   One of my first professional jobs was as a preschool school psychologist working with special needs Head Start students. Here, we not only needed to teach social skills at a sequential, behavioral, and very concrete/explicit level, but we needed to factor in each child’s strengths, weaknesses, and area(s) of disability.

   Summarizing psychological and behavioral science, sprinkled with forty-plus years of working with students in their classrooms and common school areas (e.g., hallways, cafeterias, buses), we have learned the following principles and practices toward successful social skills training:

  • Take-Away 1. Schools need to identify the specific, observable, teachable, and measurable behavioral skills—including thoughts—that students need to demonstrate to be socially and interpersonally successful.

The skills need to be practical and school-related. . . and they should also include the individual, small group, and large group skills that students need to be successful with adults and peers in the classroom and across the school.

As above, we need to teach students the thoughts related to their attributions. . . the attitudes, beliefs, expectations, and interpretations. . . that positively support their effort and success, as well as the self-statement that help them respond to and rebound from challenging situations, disappointments, or even “failures.”

_ _ _ _ _

  • Take-Away 2. Schools need to teach students how to demonstrate their skills under conditions of emotionality.

At times, academically, students have mastered the content and skills needed to “pass the (proficiency) test,” but (a) they are not confident (they don’t “believe they can succeed”—a self-limiting attribution); and/or (b) they are unable to handle the emotional pressure. And thus, their beliefs and/or emotions undercut their academic skills, and they “don’t try,” underperform, or even “fail.”

One of our scientific principles is that “Mastery is attained when students demonstrate their skills under conditions of emotionality.”

Hence—just like an athlete, a doctor in an Emergency room, a performer on stage—students need to learn how to demonstrate their social and interpersonal skills under adverse or stressful circumstances. . . so they can perform these skills when needed “in real life.”

This is a (taught and) learned skill that needs to be practiced by preschool through high school students.

Indeed, just like the basketball coach who has the team run different plays for the “last seconds of a game” during practice, students need to roleplay their social skills under simulated levels of stress.

_ _ _ _ _

  • Take-Away 3. The skills, attributions, and ability to perform “under pressure” need to be taught in consistently positive and supportive settings by staff who are consistently teaching with fidelity.

Here, the instruction should include strategies to “transfer the training” so that students can demonstrate their skills more and more independently in real-life situations.

Motivational (especially, self-motivational) approaches are also embedded in the instruction. These approaches may include periodic incentives that reinforce progressively appropriate or fully appropriate behavior, but these incentives are paired with self-reinforcement and are faded out over time—leaving students to reinforce themselves for “Good Choices.”

The “Motivational System” also includes consequences when students make “Bad Choices.” These consequences are paired with re-teaching, restitutional, and/or restorative practices in order to increase the probability of a “Good Choice” the next time.

Incentives and consequences need to be delivered consistently by teachers, other staff, and administrators. Critically, teachers need to address most of the inappropriate behavior that occurs in a classroom—so students will be responsive and maintain accountability toward them. Administrators should be involved only when inappropriate behavior is persistently disruptive, physically or emotionally harmful, dangerous, or required by law.

_ _ _ _ _

  • Take-Away 4. Finally, supported by related services/mental health professionals (in the district or out in the community), schools need to have an accessible multi-tiered continuum of services, supports, and interventions for students with moderate to significant social, emotional, behavioral, and/or mental health challenges.

_ _ _ _ _

   I know that this seems to be a lot.

   But this is the science-to-practice that works. . . And this is why a one to three-year period of time may be needed.

   But it does work.

   For forty-plus years, we have demonstrated that the principles and practices within each of the Take-Aways above can be successfully implemented and sustained—as part of a focused one to three-year process—in schools with staff-wide commitment, planning, effective training, coaching, and resource support.

   For more information about how this school-wide implementation works, CLICK on the following FREE links below.

Evaluating School-wide Discipline/Positive Behavioral Support Systems: Three Years of Sequenced Implementation Activities

The Stop & Think Social Skills Program: Exploring its Research Base and Rationale

A Multi-Tiered Service & Support Implementation Blueprint for Schools & Districts: Revisiting the Science to Improve the Practice

_ _ _ _ _

   Relative to today’s emphasis on preschool to Grade 3 students, social skills instruction usually focuses mostly on the behavioral side of things. While positive attributions and emotional control are embedded into the instruction, we. . . first and foremost. . . want our young students to learn the “basic steps and skills.”

   Metaphorically, this is similar to how we teach young children to read. That is, we start with the phonemic awareness, decoding, and eventually fluency skills. While vocabulary and comprehension is embedded in this instruction, we want children to understand—once again—the “steps and skills.” And we certainly are not initially worried about teaching young children the “bells and whistles”. . . like reading with inflection and attending to punctuation.

Drilling Down with a Few More Specifics: Teaching Specific Behavioral Skills

   So let’s take two of the Take-Aways above, providing more specifics about (a) what Skills/Behaviors need to be taught to preschool to Grade 3 (and beyond) students, and (b) how to teach them.

   As alluded to above, the teaching part will use the Stop & Think Social Skills Program.

   I wrote this Program back in the early 1990s, field-tested it across the country in hundreds of schools in the mid to late 1990s, published it—first with Sopris Press, and now (since 2016) by Project ACHIEVE Press—in the early 2000s, and helped it to become designated as an evidence-based program (through the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration—SAMHSA) and CASEL in the mid-2000s.

Examples of Practical Individual and Group Social Skills

   Below are some of the practical and school-based social skills taught in our evidence-based Stop & Think Social Skills Program.

   Think about how important it is to teach the first 10 to 15 of these skills to preschool to Grade 3 students, and the remaining skills to later elementary through high school students.

  • Listening
  • Following Directions
  • Using Nice Talk
  • Contributing to Discussions
  • Asking and Answering Teacher Questions
  • How to Interrupt
  • Asking for Help
  • Asking for Permission
  • Waiting for an Adult’s Attention
  • Waiting for Your Turn
  • Joining an Activity
  • Beginning and Ending a Conversation
  • Ignoring Distractions
  • Apologizing/Excusing Yourself
  • Accepting Consequences
  • Asking and Answering Questions
  • Setting and Evaluating Goals
  • Avoiding Trouble/Conflict Situations
  • Deciding Whether to Follow the Group
  • Dealing with Peer Pressure
  • Being Honest/Acknowledging your Mistakes
  • Dealing with Teasing
  • Dealing with Being Rejected or Left Out
  • Dealing with Losing or Not Attaining Desired Goals
  • Showing Understanding of Another’s Feelings/Empathy
  • Dealing with and Responding to Another Person’s Anger or Emotionality
  • Walking Away from a Fight/Conflict
  • Negotiating to Resolve Conflicts Peacefully and Productively

_ _ _ _ _

   The additional skills—that elementary, middle, and high school students need—relate to teaching them how to interact in small cooperative or project-based groups:

  • Listening to Peers with an Open Mind
  • Remaining On-Task
  • Doing Your Share
  • Taking Turns
  • Interacting Positively with Each Other
  • Ensuring that All Group Members Contribute
  • Problem-Solving and Compromising when needed
  • Setting goals
  • Asking Clear Questions
  • Identifying Roles for Group Members
  • Being a Good Leader/Follower
  • Checking with Others for Consensus
  • Communicating Clearly/Asking for Clarification when needed
  • Awareness of Other Group Members’ Emotions
  • Verbalizing One’s own Challenges/Emotions
  • Knowing When and How to “Check Out” Others’ Emotions
  • Managing Time Effectively
  • Giving/Accepting Compliments
  • Standing Up for Your Position/Rights
  • Knowing When/How to Agree, Disagree, and Agree to Disagree
  • Dealing with Disappointment or Failure

_ _ _ _ _

What is the Science-to-Practice for Teaching Social Skills?

   As validated in research beginning with Bandura’s Social Learning Theory in 1977 and continuing through analyses by Harvard University’s Ecological Approaches to Social Emotional Learning (EASEL) Laboratory, there are five essential steps when successfully teaching students social skills.

   They are:

  • Teaching the steps and related behaviors/interactions of a desired social skill.
  • Modeling the steps and the social skills language (or script).
  • Roleplaying the steps and the script with students in a classroom- or school-related scene or scenario.
  • Providing Performance Feedback to the students relative to how accurately they are verbalizing the skill script and how successfully they are behaviorally demonstrating the new skill.
  • Transferring and Applying the skill and its steps as much as possible during the day to reinforce the teaching over time, in different settings, with different people, and in different situations.

_ _ _ _ _

   When Teaching and Modeling, teachers need to make sure that students:

  • Have the prerequisite skills to be successful
  • Are taught using language that they can understand
  • Are taught in simple steps that ensure success
  • Hear the social skills script as the social skills behavior is demonstrated

_ _ _ _ _

   When Practicing or Roleplaying, teachers need to make sure that students:

  • Verbalize (or repeat or hear) the steps to a particular social skill as they demonstrate its appropriate behavior
  • Practice only the positive or appropriate social skill behavior
  • Receive ongoing and consistent practice opportunities
  • Use relevant practice situations that simulate the “emotional” intensity of the real situations so that they can fully master the social skill and be able to demonstrate them under conditions of emotionality
  • Practice the skills at a developmental level that they can handle

_ _ _ _ _

   When Giving Performance Feedback, teachers need to make sure that the feedback is:

  • Specific and descriptive
  • Focused on reinforcing students’ successful use of the social skill, or on correcting an inaccurate or incomplete social skills demonstration
  • Positive—emphasizing what was done well and what can be done well (or better) next time

_ _ _ _ _

   When Transferring or Applying Social Skills after Instruction, teachers need to make sure that they reinforce students’ prosocial skills steps and behavior when they:

  • Have successfully demonstrated an appropriate social skill
  • Have made a “bad” choice, demonstrating an inappropriate social skill
  • Are faced with a problem or situation but have not committed to, nor demonstrated, a prosocial skill
  • Must use the skill in situations that are somewhat different from those used when the skill was originally taught and practiced

_ _ _ _ _

What Conditions Help Schools to Effectively Implement a Social Skills Program?

   Harvard University’s EASEL Laboratory, among a select group of other researchers and practitioners have identified some critical school conditions that facilitate the implementation of a school-wide social skills initiative.

   They include:

  • Facilitate ownership and buy-in
  • Ensure sufficient staff support, training, and coaching
  • Allocate the time needed to implement the program effectively and with fidelity
  • Extend social skills learning and application beyond the classroom into the common areas of the school
  • Provide opportunities for students and staff to apply and transfer social skills and strategies to real-life situations

_ _ _ _ _

   Some additional “common characteristics” noted are that the school-wide initiative:

  • Establishes and maintains safe and positive settings and interactions for children and adults
  • Supports the development of high-quality relationships between children and adults
  • Is developmentally, demographically, and culturally sensitive, relevant, and engaging for children
  • Provides opportunities for direct skill building, feedback, mastery, and application

The SEL Secret to Success

   Initially, at the preschool to Grade 3 levels, we need to teach students to accurately recognize, label, and connect their emotions to specific feelings.

   Concurrently, as emphasized above, we need to teach them the behaviors related to their social skills.

   The foundation to teaching these behaviors—and producing real, observable outcomes—begins with the Stop & Think Program’s universal language. . . the language that we use to teach all of the skills in our Stop & Think Social Skills Program.

   Once internalized, this science-to-practice language is used by students to guide them through a social problem-solving process that helps them to (a) maintain their emotional control, (b) think clearly, (c) plan strategically, and (d) implement needed social or conflict resolution skills confidently.

   This is the SEL Secret to Success!

   The core Stop & Think language involves five steps that can be modified as they are mastered by students, or are adapted—especially in Step 2—when students “push back” and exhibit resistance or persistent challenges.

   The Steps are:

  • I need to Stop and Think!
  • Am I going to make a Good Choice or Bad Choice? I need to make a Good Choice.
  • What are my (good) Choices or Steps?
  • Now, I’m going to just Do It!
  • Great! Now I can tell myself that I did a Good Job!

Image title

   Here is a brief description of the scientific foundation, use, and contributions of these steps:

Step 1

   The Stop and Think! step is a self-control, impulse-control, and/or self-management step designed to classically condition students (a la Pavlov) to stop and take the time necessary to remain calm (or calm down) and control their emotions, so that they can think about how they want to handle a situation.

   For emotional situations, we condition this language and momentary stopping behavior to students’ emotional triggers. This results in an almost involuntary physical and emotional pause before students (a) react in an overly-emotional way and/or (b) respond inappropriately without thinking.

   The Stop and Think! step is neurologically focused on the brain’s amygdala and limbic system. . . helping students to control their fight, flight, or freeze responses to emotional situations. This emotional control then allows students to move to Step 2—which requires them to use the executive functioning and social problem-solving strategies housed in the brains’ cortex.

_ _ _ _ _

Step 2

   The Good Choice or Bad Choice? step is an operant conditioning step (a la Skinner) that motivates students to reject the Bad Choices that could be chosen to (inappropriately) handle specific social or interpersonal situations and, instead, to choose, plan, and demonstrate one or more Good Choices.

   Here, students are taught—after stopping and now thinking—to consider the consequences of making a Bad Choice, and/or the incentives of making a Good Choice.

   Parenthetically, incentives and consequences are both used to motivate appropriate student (or anyone’s) behavior. Critically, consequences are different than punishment which (the latter) typically is used to stop inappropriate behavior. At times, punishment is successful, but it often (a) models poor social problem-solving and emotional control; (b) is inconsistent with developing or maintaining good rapport and positive relationships with students; and (c) may result in students next exhibiting yet another different but inappropriate behavior that is not also being punished at the same time.

   In a classroom or common school area, teachers and other staff need to make sure that (a) incentives and consequences are explicit to students; that (b) they are motivationally meaningful and powerful to students; that (c) there are enough different incentives and consequences available so that they can be individualized to different students; and (d) that they are delivered consistently by all staff.

   In this regard, when specific social skills are taught to students the first time, the teachers leading the lessons need to guide students through a discussion that includes these questions:

  • “What negative outcomes or consequences will occur if you make a Bad Choice and either do not demonstrate this skill or demonstrate it in an incorrect way?”
  • “What positive outcomes or incentives will occur if you make a Good Choice and use this skill, implementing it in a correct way?”

   Ultimately, once internalized, students will routinely complete Step 2 in their heads, concluding that, “I’m going to make a Good Choice.”

   This decision not only motivates students to actually make a Good Choice in Step 4, but also to think only about “good choices and/or steps” as they proceed through Step 3.

_ _ _ _ _

Step 3

   The What are your Choices or Steps? step uses cognitive-behavioral psychology and mediational learning (a la Meichenbaum and Bandura) to help organize, prepare, and script students to think about the appropriate steps and related behaviors of a specific skill or interaction that is needed in an emotionally-challenging situation.

   This is where teachers teach the specific “skills scripts” for each Stop & Think skill so that students learn and are able to demonstrate (in Step 4) their Good Choices—that is, their prosocial, conflict resolution, and/or coping skills—even under conditions of emotionality.

   Thus, this is also the Step that teachers especially focus on as they guide student roleplays—during their social skill lessons—with increasing levels of (simulated) emotional conditions.

   One ultimate goal here is to teach students how to maintain the initial emotional control accomplished in the Stop & Think step (Step 1), such that they can perform the behavioral actions needed (in Steps 3 and 4) while still in or experiencing significantly tense emotional situations.

   A second ultimate goal is to neurobehaviorally condition students to “Think (Step 3) before they Act (Step 4),” countering what students often do in emotional situations when they “Act (Step 4) before they Think (Step 3).”

_ _ _ _ _

   As students process through Step 3 of the Stop & Think language, they can use two types of skill scripts—scripts that are organized in a step-by-step sequential fashion (“Step” skills), or scripts where students need to consider and select one of a number of possible good choices (“Choice” skills).

   Because of their developmental status, younger students (through Grade 3) typically use scripts that involve Step skills, while older students (Grade 4 and above) can learn and use the higher-ordered thinking scripts that employ Choice skills.

  For example, the Grade 1 “Dealing with Teasing” Step 3 skill script below is organized as a Step skill because, developmentally, students are most successful here when they go from step to step in the script sequence—stopping only when a specific step leads to a successful resolution of the situation.

   What are your Choices or Steps? You should:

Take deep breaths and count to five.

Ignore the person who is teasing you.

Ask the person to stop in a nice way.

Walk away.

Find an adult for help.

   The Grade 5 “Dealing with Teasing” Step 3 skill script below is organized as a Choice skill because students at this level have the cognitive-developmental ability to evaluate a specific teasing situation, eventually selecting the best choice from a number of possible “Good Choice” options.

   What are your Choices or Steps? You should:

Take deep breaths and count to five.

Think about your good choices. You can:

           a. Ignore the person who is teasing you.

           b. Ask the person to stop in a nice way.

           c. Walk away.

           d. Find an adult for help.

Choose and Act Out your best choice.

_ _ _ _ _

   When students are applying the Stop & Think language for emotional control, communication, and coping situations, they always begin Step 3 with a “Take deep breaths and count to five (or ten, or more)” step.

   Because this emotional control or de-escalation step neurologically targets the brain’s amygdala, and because—in emotional situations—the  amygdala activates before the cortex or thinking/executive functioning part of the brain, the Stop & Think language is modified so that students say:

   “I need to Stop & Think (Step 1), Make a Good Choice (Step 3), and Take my Deep Breaths (the beginning part of Step 3).”

   When conditioned, internalized, and automatically used by students in emotionally-triggering situations, this modified, internal language Stop & Think script offers the highest probability that they will successfully control their emotions, communicate or interact effectively, and cope with the situation at-hand.

_ _ _ _ _

Step 4

   Once students have thought about the good social skill steps or choices needed for a particular skill or emotionally-triggering situation (Step 3), they are ready to behaviorally demonstrate them.

   Thus, in the (just) Do It! step (Step 4), students behaviorally carry out their plan, implement the social skill steps chosen, and evaluate whether or not it has worked.

   When teaching younger elementary school-aged students, teachers may need to repeat the skill steps as their students follow them in Step 4, and they might need to physically guide some students through specific skill-related behaviors.

   Older students, with prompting, practice, and self-monitoring over time, will eventually echo the Stop & Think steps and scripts silently to themselves, performing their prosocial behaviors more independently and automatically over time.

   If the Do It! step (Step 4) works, then students can proceed to Step 5.

   If the situation is not resolved or the behavior doesn’t work in Step 4, then students simply return to the Step 3 skill script, review and prepare it more carefully, or choose another (or the next) Good Choice option in the script.

   If the skill still doesn’t work, students are prompted to identify another possible social skill or approach to deal with the situation, and/or to find a peer or adult who can provide feedback and assistance.

_ _ _ _ _

Step 5

   The Good Job! step (Step 5) uses the cognitive-behavioral skill of self-reinforcement as students reinforce themselves for successfully using a social skill to respond appropriately and successfully to an emotional situation or dilemma.

   This step is important because students should not become dependent or have to wait on others (especially adults) to tell them that they have done a good job. Self-reinforcement also helps students to deal with negative peer pressure or reinforcement—the times when peer groups do not value and/or will not reinforce the Good Choices that should occur in a social or emotionally-involved situation.

   Over time and practice, Step 5 helps students to independently recognize when they are successful, and how to effectively reinforce themselves for a job well done. This is an essential step in the emotional coping and self-management process.

_ _ _ _ _ 

   Preschool to Grade 3 students obviously do not understand all of the complexities described above.

   They simply learn the language and the skills scripts. . . when taught with the Stop & Think language, and using the Teach-Model-Roleplay-Performance Feedback-and-Transfer of Training process above. . . and begin to embed the skills into their behavioral interactions.

   This involves a lot of modeling and a lot of practice. . . . but good teachers (and parents) make the learning fun. . . just as they do when teaching, for example, the alphabet and early reading skills.

   Think about how many times you read your young child the same book. . . and how quickly they “memorized” the story line and even the words.

   Teaching students social skills in no different than teaching early reading skills to preschoolers, kindergarteners, and First Grade students!

A Video Example

   One of the ways that I “teach” school staff how to teach the Stop & Think Social Skills Program is through an On-Line/On-Demand course, “Teaching Social, Emotional, and Behavioral Skills to Improve Student Engagement, Self-Control, and Achievement” that has sixteen different modules—from how to implement a school-wide SEL system to how do you teach social skills and emotional self-regulation skills:

  • Session 1: Defining Social, Emotional, and Behavioral Self-Management: Describing the Science-to-Practice Components of a Social-Emotional Learning/Positive Behavioral Support System (SEL/PBSS
  • Session 2: The Brain-Behavior Connection: How Emotional, Attributional, and Behavioral Competencies Combine to Facilitate Self-Management
  • Session 3: Using Social Skills as the Anchor to an SEL/PBSS and Student Self-Management System: An Introduction to Social Skills Instruction
  • Session 4: The Science-to-Practice Characteristics of Effective Social Skills Programs, and How to Choose Them
  • Session 5: An Overview of the Stop & Think Social Skills Program and Its Primary Components
  • Session 6: The Stop & Think Social Skills Program’s Skills, Scripts, Use “on the Fly,” and Use in the Common Areas of the School
  • Session 7: How to Teach a New Social Skills Lesson: Step by Step
  • Session 8: A Stop & Think Demonstration Lesson: Kindergarten—Listening, Raising Your Hand, Sitting for Circle Time, Walking in a Line
  • Session 9: A Stop & Think Demonstration Lesson: Grade 1—The Positions for Listening, Raising Your Hand, and Ignoring Distractions
  • Session 10: A Stop & Think Demonstration Lesson: Grade 2—Asking for Help
  • Session 11: A Stop & Think Demonstration Lesson: Grade 3—Following Directions
  • Session 12: A Stop & Think Demonstration Lesson: Grade 4—Dealing with Teasing
  • Session 13: A Stop & Think Demonstration Lesson: Grade 5—Ignoring Distractions
  • Session 14: A Stop & Think Demonstration Lesson: Grade 6—Apologizing
  • Session 15: Teaching Students Emotional Self-Control and Self-Regulation through Social Skills Instruction
  • Bonus Session: An Overview of the Stop & Think Social Skills Home/Parent Program

   For more information on this Course—including its Syllabus and a Free 45-minute Introductory Webinar:


_ _ _ _ _

   So you can see an example of how to teach. . . in this case, kindergarten students. . . the Stop & Think language and skills/behaviors, we are making the video from:

  • Session 8: A Stop & Think Demonstration Lesson: Kindergarten—Listening, Raising Your Hand, Sitting for Circle Time, Walking in a Line

available below.


   The Blog provided the “building blocks” needed when teaching students—from preschool through high school—the interpersonal, social problem-solving, conflict prevention and resolution, and emotional awareness, control, communication, and coping skills that they need to be successful.

   We emphasized that—if teachers (especially preschool through Grade 3 teachers)—want their students to learn and independently demonstrate “Listening and Sharing skills” over time, we need to behaviorally teach them these skills using science-to-practice strategies.

   As such, in order to teach students—for example—how to Listen, Follow Directions, Ask for Help, Ignore Distractions, Deal with Teasing, Accept Consequences, etc., etc. . . .—the instruction must (a) use an evidence-based social skills program that (b) uses a Teach-Model-Roleplay-Performance Feedback-and-Transfer of Training instructional pedagogy, (c) supported by scripts that help students to learn, master, and easily apply their social skills to real-life situations.

   Through the evidence-based Stop & Think Social Skills Program, we demonstrated exactly how this is done, and we provide the back-up information needed, as well as a videotape to show how quickly students pick all of this up.

_ _ _ _ _

   We hope that this Blog has been both relevant and helpful to you, and we encourage you to review, use, and share the resources above with your colleagues.

   While most of us are on “summer vacation,” think about the students who will be returning to your districts and schools in just a few months.

   Can they benefit from more explicitly and behaviorally learning the social skill behaviors discussed?

   If you want to explore this area further with me, I am available to you and your team all summer as needed. Our first conversation is free.