Evidence-based strategies for social skills

Evidence-based strategies are those that have been evaluated by researchers within school settings, and found to be effective.

Teach and model social skills

Some students may pick up social skills when instructions are directed to a group (for example, “If anyone needs a whiteboard marker, they should ask other students if they can borrow one”), while others may need individualised and explicit prompts (for example, “Look at Ruan, and ask him ‘Can I please borrow the whiteboard marker?’”). Where possible, look for opportunities to provide these prompts discreetly (without drawing the attention of other students).

Consider demonstrating social skills that are important at school, or have another student demonstrate. It may be helpful to use video modelling of a social skill and then give opportunities to practise. This strategy may be particularly important for students who are having difficulties interpreting or understanding social situations, or who learn best with additional support.

Teach self-monitoring

Some students can learn to practise and self-monitor a social skill. Help them set goals and decide on how they will reward themselves for reaching their goal. For some social skills, a reminder like a small watch beep can help a student check if they are using that skill. 

Access our self-monitoring form.