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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Teacher Interventions When the Disruptive Behavior is Related to the Anti-Social Skills the Student Has Mastered:Teaching 4 Basic Conversation Skills

When mentoring our pre-service and in-service teachers we need to describe and model both research-based and clinically tested best practices. Accordingly, our mentees should know how to teach students to replace the anti-social skills they have mastered with productive, and effective pro-social skills such as the ability to engage is a meaningful conversation with another. Accordingly, in today’s post we will share a lesson on how to teach students four basic pro-social conversation skills (* Solomon and Solomon, 1987).

1. Finding free information

2. Asking open questions

3. Paraphrasing

4. Probing

Enduring Jewish Knowledge: These conversational competencies are excellent pro-social skills to welcome the stranger: Hachnasat Orchim

Materials Needed: The Four Basic Conversational Skills Chart (at the top of this post)


1. The teacher poses this question: “How would you like to learn how to speak easily, and successfully to any person in our class?” The teacher then explains the objective for today’s lesson is to learn the four basic social skills needed to engage another person in a conversation.

2. The teacher poses this question: “What is the best way to start a conversation with another person?” The answer you are looking for is to find something to talk about, something in common, also called, ‘free information’. Free information is the easily accessible conversational data that begins the conversation. See the examples listed in the chart at the top of the post.

3. The teacher poses this question: “Once you have identified the free information, what do you do next?” The answer you are seeking is to ‘ask an open question’. The chart above provides a definition and examples. Note that an effective way to ask an open question is to use a “tell me” statement (i.e. tell me about ...).

4. The teacher then poses this question: “After asking the open question, what do you do next?” The answer you are looking for is to ‘paraphrase the speaker’. See the definition and examples in the chart above.

5. Finally, the last question is: “Once you paraphrase the speaker, what do you do next?” The answer to the question you are seeking is to ‘probe the speaker’. See the chart at the top of the post for a definition and examples.

*Solomon, R. & Solomon, E. (1987). The Handbook for the Fourth R: Relationship Skills. Columbia, MD. National Institute for Relationship Training, Inc.

On the next post we will begin our discussion of some suggested teacher interventions to reduce disruptive student behavior by transforming the classroom into a caring community of cooperative learners.

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