Tuesday, 6 August 2013

The Ripple Effect Initiative: Whole-School Approach to Social Skills

We see the teaching of social skills to be integral to achieving our school vision. At Sacred Heart, we recognise that social skills learning is most effective when it is fun, engaging and students apply what they have learnt to authentic situations. We also recognise the important role of parents, primary care givers and the wider community in helping our students to become proficient at using social skills. For this reason, we have adopted a whole-school approach to teaching and reinforcing social skills with our students. 

In 2013, The Ripple Effect Initiative was introduced and has been “making waves” through our school community. With each new social skills focus, students have the opportunity to practice skills and see the ripple effect it brings to people and situations around them. We began by focusing on the social skill: Giving compliments (as seen below). This particular skill links closely with the Belonging and Generosity elements of our school vision. We wanted our students to feel secure in giving and receiving compliments, as this is a powerful skill in counteracting criticism.  We set our students the challenge of giving one person a real compliment each day over a two week period. We also asked all the adults in the school community to play a part by modelling the skill to the students, with the intention of improving our own social skills as well as the students.

In the short time that we have implemented The Ripple Effect Initiative, we have been very pleased with the effect that it has already had on our students’ social skill development. We are looking forward to the implementation of our next whole-school social skill - Encouraging Others.

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