Academic journal article Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri

The Outcomes of a Social Skills Teaching Program for Inclusive Classroom Teachers*

Academic journal article Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri

The Outcomes of a Social Skills Teaching Program for Inclusive Classroom Teachers*

Article excerpt

Abstract

In this study, the effectiveness of a Social Skills Teaching Program (SSTP) prepared for inclusive classroom teachers was investigated. The SSTP gauged (1) teachers' expectations related to social skills of students with special needs, (2) their knowledge levels related to teaching social skills, and (3) their use of social skills teaching techniques. Twenty-nine (29) teachers participated in this study, 12 of whom were assigned to an experimental group and the other 17 were assigned to a control group. This SSTP was prepared for teachers and comprised four sessions which lasted a total of six hours. A pretest-posttest control group design was used in order to assess the effectiveness of the SSTP as well as to collect data. To accomplish these goals, a Social Skills Rating System -Teacher Form, a Social Skills Teaching Knowledge Test, and a Teacher Behaviors Observation Form were used. The results showed that this SSTP was effective on the teachers' outcomes, and that these effects were maintained after having completed the training.

Key Words

Inclusion, Teacher Training, Social Skills Teaching, Social Skills Training Program, Students with Special Needs.

Increasing the social skills of students with special needs in general education classrooms is a desired result of mainstreaming (Gresham, 1983; Vaughn, Elbaum, & Schumn, 1996), and while academic skills are important in making the decision to place a student into general education classrooms, social skills are equally important in affecting the success of mainstreaming (Gresham, 1983). Because general classroom teachers are the ones who know the social behaviors of their students best and who know which social skills their students need to develop, they play a key role in supporting social behaviors and teaching necessary social skills (Pavri & Monda-Amaya, 2001; Schepis, Ownbey, Parsons, & Reid, 2000). Teachers can use various strategies and can organize activities which encourage social interaction and, by taking the responsibility to teach social skills directly, can also foster social skills which enable friendship and peer interaction in the classroom (Salisbury, Gallucci, Palombaro, & Peck, 1995). There is evidence in literature indicating that when social skills are taught in the classroom, students' problem-solving skills, (Lewis, Sugai, & Colvin, 1998; Shure & Spivack, 1980), interaction skills (Lewis et al., 1998), and cooperation skills increase, and problem behaviors displayed by these students decrease (Brigman, Lane, Switzer, Lane, & Lawrence, 1999). Previous studies examining teachers' opinions and knowledge regarding social skills have revealed that teachers generally assume that teaching social skills is not their duty. Instead, they believe that these are skills that should be taught by parents and many teachers perceive themselves as facilitators of social relationships (Pavri & Monda-Amaya, 2001). Moreover, they report that they have limited information on and experience in how to teach social skills because of the emphasis placed on teaching academic skills during their pre-service education (Bradley & West, 1994). In fact, they emphasize that their first responsibility is to teach academic skills (Bain & Farris, 1991), stating that they do not have sufficient time to teach these skills in their classrooms (Maag & Webber, 1995). With this being said however, teachers certainly do accept that social skills are very important for all students so they may interact with their peers, and if sufficient support were provided regarding how to teach social skills in mainstream settings, students could be aided in enhancing and using these skills in their classrooms (Buchanan, Gueldner, Tran, & Merrell, 2009). Considering teachers' opinions, developing programs which teach social skills by focusing on their importance and also facilitating improved teaching skills may be deemed worthwhile. …

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