Nice guys finish first after all

A new book by Peabody researcher Stephen Elliott finds that basic social skills, such as listening, following directions and just being nice, are just as important to a student’s ability to succeed as their academic instruction.

“If we increase social skills, we see commensurate increases in academic learning. That doesn’t mean that social skills make you smarter; it means that these skills make you more amenable to learning,” Elliott, Vanderbilt Peabody education and psychology researcher and co-author of the newly published The Social Skills Improvement System—Classwide Intervention Program, said. “In our research, we found that elementary kids and teachers value cooperation and self-control. When we teach and increase those behaviors, we reduce problem behaviors and maximize learning time.”

Elliott and co-author Frank Gresham have been studying this issue for over 20 years and interviewed over 8,000 teachers to come up with the Top 10 Social Skills Students Need to Succeed. See that list and the rest of the story on VUCast.

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