There are about ten social skills or personal capabilities that contribute to positive social development in not only children but even adults. It is reported that for easy learning, students must learn social-emotional skills which are sometimes referred to as emotional intelligence skills in order to serve essential roles in their communities, families and even work place. The good thing about these capabilities is that besides being naturally acquired, they can also be taught to students to enhance their academic learning. It is a concern of every parent that when their children grow up, they become better citizens socially and intellectually (Elias, 2003)
Communication is one of these capabilities that need to be enhanced in students by learning. Communication is relaying one’s opinions and feelings appropriately from one party to another. The second social skill is teamwork which is defined as the ability to work well with teams and groups in order to achieve a common goal. The third skill is creativity which is considered to be the sharing, playing and thinking with new or unusual ideas and be able to apply them in learning or solving problems. These and many more personal capabilities contribute to positive development of a person (Personal Capabilities, 2011).
Parents are encouraged to create an environment at home which is friendly to the development of these skills in children. For example, children should be encouraged to work together in helping to carry out dairy household chores to enhance teamwork. The adult in a family set up should create a friendly environment to the young for free expression of ideas, opinions and feelings as opposed to commanding, suppressive and intimidating approaches to enrich effective and easy communication. They can as well encourage children to solve problems encouraging them to think outside the box and even applying and implementing new ideas where applicable (Elias, 2003).
The family environment where a child or student is not allowed or expected to freely express their opinions and feelings concerning various issues in life and classwork is likely to inhibit the development of these skills. It is an environment where a child is filled with fear probably by being physically abused or molested in the name of instilling discipline (Elias, 2003).
Appropriate classroom environment is where one uses varied teaching strategies such as asking open-ended questions, crosschecking with students and giving personal attention to students. A teacher can also vary instructions such as allowing them to work in small groups, large groups and even by themselves (Elias, 2003).
A classroom environment where a teacher does not allow students to work together as a group or interact is likely to discourage positive social traits among students. This will inhibit development of teamwork and appropriate or effective communication among students and even in the community at large. It may also be an environment where a teacher does not involve students to participate in learning by asking questions or answering them while teaching session is in progress. This is in line with Erickson’s theory of psychosocial development which states that personality develops in a series of phases. Ego identity being one of the elements of this theory is described as a self-sense of consciousness that is developed through social interaction. Therefore, social emotional intelligence and learning is paramount to development of a person as a whole (Saracho & Spodek, 2007, p. 5).
Elias, M. J. (2003). Academic and social learning. Brussels, Belgium: International Academy of Education. Retrieved September 20, 2012 from http://www.ibe.unesco.org/fileadmin/user_upload/archive/publications/EducationalPracticesSeriesPdf/prac11e.pdf
Personal Capabilities. (2011). About Personal Capabilities. Retrieved September 20, 2012 from http://www.personalcapabilities.co.uk/about_personal_capabilities
Saracho, O., N. & Spodek, B. (2007). Contemporary perspectives on socialization and social development in early childhood education. Charlotte, NC: IAP.