Teaching Character with Social Skills

When Father Edward Flanagan started Boys Town, his mission was to give boys a safe place to call home while giving them the skills needed to become productive citizens. A major part of accomplishing this goal was teaching and modeling the character traits the boys in his care would need to be accepted by society and become productive members of the work force.

These same character traits supported by social skills, are still a central tenant of the Boys Town Model®. Like any academic knowledge, skills like greeting someone new, having a conversation, or disagreeing in an appropriate manner must be taught. Imagine if you came from a home where it was acceptable to yell and scream or even hit when you didn’t get your way. This manner of communication does not translate well to school or work. At Boys Town we believe in replacing these inappropriate behaviors with more appropriate social skills.

This same focus on social skills that is the center of life for a child at Boys Town, is reinforced when we take the Boys Town Education Model® into schools across the country. Teachers, administrators, and school staff are taught strategies focusing on school improvement through the use of social skills. These skills not only reduce behavior problems in the classroom but lead to increased academic success.

If a teacher has students struggling with staying on-task, he or she can proactively teach skills like following instructions, getting the teache'rs attention or ignoring distractions. Proactively teaching these skills supports classroom expectations. When kids know what is expected of them - and how to meet these expectations - they are prepared for success. Additionally, once these skills are taught and expectations set, teachers can hold kids accountable because students can no longer say, “but I didn’t know that.”

Adding social skills to your current lessons doesn’t need to be daunting. Many times these skills can be intertwined with academics or can be taught using fun activities when students need a break. Check out our special downloads section here for some ideas. In addition, we regularly share FREE resources through our eNewsletter and other blogs here on the website. Check out our downloads page here to add social and emotional skill-building lessons to your classroom today, preparing students for a lifetime of success.

Nov 7th 2019 Erin Green, Director, Boys Town Press

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