Correlation between social skills..

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by GTB4GT, Jan 28, 2013.

  1. GTB4GT

    GTB4GT Cohort

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    and academic success? What does the research say about this? In mulling over my students, it appears that the ones who perform better (assesment wise) also appear to have better "social" and "interpersonal" skills.while not a perfect correlation it appears that the two sets of skills are strongly linked.

    I am a new teacher but entering the profession via a nontraditional approach. What does the research say about this? Or are my observations unduly biased? (i.e. I think the "better" students "behave" better when perhaps they really don't).
    as always, any comments/feedback greatly appreciated.
     
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  3. TeacherGroupie

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    It seems to me that high function in interpersonal skills probably hangs on a combination of give-and-take (which requires the ability to juggle various strategies and to take varying viewpoints into account) and monitoring for subtle clues. These abilities could certainly generalize to academic skills and vice versa. That they don't reliably generalize helps explain that the biggest tantrum about not having gotten the right answer generally belongs to the gifted-and-talented kid.
     
  4. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    I would like some clarification. In the first paragraph you talk about "social" and "interpersonal" skills being strong. The second paragraph you state that you think the "better" students "behave" better.

    I'm not convinced these skills are as strongly linked as you think unless you are really meaning compliance in the classroom or always applying social skills within the expectations of a classroom. Having them and using them are two different things.
     
  5. PolarBear

    PolarBear Rookie

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    I have two Asperger's kiddos in one of my classes that would blow this theory all to heck. :D Straight "A" students (AP placement), but I doubt they've spoken to other students in the class more than twice the entire term. They talk to me, but only because I've made an effort to engage them.

    That being said, the one class that has challenged my classroom management skills to the max is also the class with the highest number of failing grades (I do Study Hall, so I keep track of all their classes). It shouldn't come as a surprise that my classes with a low percentages of failing grades are consistently the easiest to manage and keep on task.
     
  6. EdEd

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    I think this is a really broad topic, and we're probably going to encounter some disagreement if we aren't specific. I think we can all probably agree that there are a variety of social skills (broadly defined) which help children do better in the classroom, from conversation skills to asking for help. This is generally supported by the literature.

    That being said, there may be nuanced discussions such as having social skills vs. demonstrating social skills (as a2z mentioned), children with exceptionally high intelligence but lower than average social skills, etc. There are also probably higher and lower correlations between various social skills and various academic indicators. So, various self-management skills might be more correlated with successful completion of independent seatwork, whereas conflict resolution skills may not be correlated with independent seatwork.

    GTB4GT - to the extent that you are speaking in general terms, I think you're absolutely right - the better the behavior and the higher the social skills, the better a child will perform academically.
     
  7. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    I don't really agree with the general statement. Although as more communications skills coming into play through Common Core are being assessed, students will better such skills will shine in various applications. But again, generally, I don't agree.
     
  8. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    From what I've seen in my own classrooms, I have noticed that students who are more socially adept are also the ones who tend to have a better understanding of the material. I've always chalked it up to maturity: knowing how to interact with others is a sign of maturity, as is understanding the ins and outs of schooling and what happens in the classroom. I'm not sure if it actually is an issue of maturity, but I guess that's what I've always thought.
     
  9. JustMe

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    I think I mixed up information on the posts here. I was thinking the OP meant that "social" students and those considered "interpersonal" did better at school. But now I see that's not really what he said. Having social skills is a bit different.

    I'm still not sure, though. I'm just thinking of my own experience.
     
  10. waterfall

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    I was just watching the Susan Cain speech "The Power of Introverts" and she discussed how our schools are becoming more and more tailored to extroverts with students being expected to constantly do group work or "group think" activities throughout the day, and that introverts need time to think/work just by themselves to come up with their best ideas and best work. I consider myself an introvert but I think she's right- even in my classroom the extroverts have the advanatage. We're constantly doing turn and talks and partner/group projects. Kids who are highly intelligent but quiet don't tend to get noticed as much, and some even have a hard time because they don't work with their "class partner" as well. She also discussed how the workplace is becoming the same way, which I agree with also. Extroverts tend to be regarded as having "better" social skills and will thrive off of the constant collaboration with others. I find that as an introvert I'm highly reflective and come up with my best ideas when I'm quietly planning by myself- but this is not valued in the workplace. I am fortunate enough to work on a team that doesn't insist we plan everything together or split up all the work- we largely have autonomy in our own classrooms.

    As for behavior, the thing that I've always found in any teaching scenario is that girls tend to be "better behaved" in a school setting. I've noticed this all the way up through my own schooling and in anything I've taught. I know there is some research about how school isn't best set up for boys and that classrooms are more suited to the way girls learn. Of course that's not true for every kid- I had a girl who was an absolute terror at the beginning of the year and some of my boys are very well behaved too, but if I were to pick out any "trend" I've noticed in behavior for which students tend to do better, it would be that one over anything else (just my personal observations).
     
  11. EdEd

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    So, I think both the discussions of extroversion/introversion and of compliance-related behavior are related but not exactly encompassing "social skills." An introverted student can still master and display social skills, though an introverted student may encounter different challenges than an extroverted student, need more practice with certain skills over others, and actually put to use more skills than others. Still, "asking for help" is an example of a universally important skill that is important regardless of the child's place on an introversion/extroversion scale.

    With behavior, I see compliance-related behavior as a specific subset of social skills. Compliance is important, even if we shouldn't expect all children to be 100% compliant with all things. However, social skills - and even the subset of social skills relating to adult interactions - deals with much more than just following adult directions.

    So, I certainly think there is a correlation between certain social skills and certain types of academic "production" and achievement. However, I do think it's a valid discussion about which social skills may be preferred or emphasized more in many classrooms, such as what waterfall brings up in terms of schools valuing extroverted behaviors more than introverted ones. I do think this is a concern, and one that should be considered further.
     
  12. GTB4GT

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    Lots of good ideas/thoughts here based on everyone's personal experiences and perceptions. When I speak of social skills correllating (in general - there are always exceptions), I generally don't think of think of introversion as being strongly correlated to academic performance (based on a whopping 1.5 years of observation in the classroom;)). Some of my most introverted kids are my highest achievers grade wise.
     
  13. GTB4GT

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    for what it's worth,

    there is a motive for asking the question. Every week, the admin sends out an email with student's who have served or are serving detention, suspensions (in and out of school),alternative school.

    In my year and a half, I noticed that there is a very strong core group of repeat offenders. And, quite frankly, these students are usually poor students as well. I realize that one school is a very small sample size but the correlation appears quite strong.

    and, by social skills, I am meaning the ability to adjust and conform one's behavior to the expectations of the culture (in this case, the school). Perhaps there is a better choice of words but, for the sake of brevity, this will have to suffice. (Also, I don't distinguish between "can't" or "won't" conform to exectations for this discussion).

    I realize that correlation is not causation but I am sure that strong correlation does exist. And, which comes first, "behavioral" issues or weak academic performance? i have to believe, given the vast amounts of research in the field of education, that this issue has been looked at.My assumption is that his pattern exists outside of just my one location.

    I am intrigued by this issue and all responses are appreciated.
     
  14. EdEd

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    I think you're definitely right, especially when you frame the situation in terms of "behavior" rather than "social skills" more broadly. I don't have any research links for you off the top of my head, but in particular the research area of "academic enabling behaviors" seems particularly relevant, as does research examining the effect of schoolwide discipline systems such as PBIS.

    In terms of correlation vs. causation, I think there are multiple pathways involved. It may be true that some children start by experiencing academic failure, then associating with more deviant peers, that engaging in undesirable behavior. Or, it may be that the child struggles with emotional issues, leading to behavioral issues, reducing access to the curriculum, and causing academic issues.
     
  15. Special-t

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    This is not true in mild/moderate special ed. Often the ones with the more significant learning disabilities develop strong social skills to accommodate. And, as said in a previous reply, the kids with Asperger's syndrome will often score much higher on a test than those with much more adept social skills.

    In general education, I would say that students who have developed higher level communication skills (reading, writing, speaking, listening) might do better on tests, but these students might not always be perceived as having the highest "social" skills.
     
  16. a2z

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    I'm somewhat afraid of where your generalization is going. Most are poor as well...
     
  17. GTB4GT

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    I don't know how big a root cause poverty might be. Most of our student body is considered poor but most students do not fit the pattern I am describing.

    You refer to a "generalization"...can I infer that you do not see any correlation between behavior and performance? As I said, I admit to having a very small sample size (1) on which I base my opinions.
     
  18. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    That's not it at all. Behavior and academic performance does have a correlation because our schools are first and foremost institutions of compliance. I agree with EdEd in that you don't know for sure which came first.

    I was commenting on the poor comment. I was suspecting that you were at a lower income school. I suspect many of your complying students are poor as well. You may not even be privy to who is and who isn't.

    So, how do you know this band of misbehaving students are mostly poor other than most of the kids in your school are poor? Did you do a percentage to determine if there is a greater percentage of poor kids that get in trouble than the percentage of kids that do not get in trouble?
     
  19. TeacherGroupie

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    a2z, over the decades one has certainly encountered the phrase "poor student" used to refer not to SES but to performance, and there's decent evidence that GTB4GT intended that sense.
     
  20. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Thanks TeacherGroupie. Sorry, GTB. I guess that means it is night time for me. When I can't read straight, time to get some sleep. :dizzy:

    I really do apologize for the mistake.

    BTW, TeacherGroupie. I really do know that. :eek:
     
  21. TeacherGroupie

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    Hugs, a2z, and pleasant dreams. I'm guessing that if you'd heard it, it would have been clearer: for decades, teachers in the West have pronounced the SES-level "poor" the way the rest of the population does (it rhymes, more or less, with "yore", and that's a perfectly regular and predictable linguistic development), but the performance-indicator "poor" comes with the same vowel one hears in "Coors".
     
  22. GTB4GT

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    Jan 30, 2013

    no offense. Teacher groupie was correct...I used the term "poor student" in reference to achievement, not socioeconomic status.
     

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