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SEL Series – Responding to Students’ Behaviors

Tips to Identify Behaviors and Linking them to Social and Emotional Needs

I recently brought my daughter to the hospital and we encountered a doctor with the worst bedside manner. He spoke to us in a condescending tone; his responses were abrupt, coarse, rude, and uncompassionate. I hated everything about his interaction with my daughter.

While this doctor of course had degrees and schooling experience that qualified him to practice medicine, I wondered if he understood that intelligence isn’t the only requirement for being a great doctor; to be successful in any career, the development of social-emotional skills are as necessary, if not more important, than the book smarts and knowledge we gain from educational institutions.

Upon reflecting about my daughter’s experience in the hospital, I began to contemplate the value and importance of social-emotional skills and the potential for incorporating meaningful initiatives into after-school programs.  Luckily, studies have revealed that after-school programs can easily incorporate social-emotional and social skill activities for students. These programs focus on equipping students with the ability to grapple with situations that may trigger negative emotional responses and help reduce the likelihood of incidents where they would have otherwise acted out. 

This week’s blog is dedicated to an awareness of the behavior traits or “red flags” that students exhibit when they need support with social awareness, self-awareness and relationship skills.

1. Social Awareness

Students who may need more social awareness may tend to exhibit some of the following behaviors:

Annoy, poke, hit, tap, or get the attention of others then run away.

Have a poor concept of appropriate times and places to say certain things.

Frequently teases other children.

Emotionally immature.

Class clown.

Lashes out at others that are betraying them or not giving them full attention

2. Self-Awareness

Students who may need more self-awareness may tend to exhibit some of the following behaviors

Display inappropriate behaviors

Exhibit behaviors that push others away and make them look strange or odd

Seek negative attention or do something inappropriate then look around; they tend to watch out to see who is looking

Tell unrealistic stories and make inappropriate comments

Relationship Skills:

Students who may need to develop relationship skills may tend to exhibit some of the following behaviors:

Have trouble sharing friends.

Become jealous over friendships.

Poor interactions with others.

Play alone or parallel play.

Lack of make-believe play.

Play with toys inappropriately.

These blogs are about getting the word out about how valuable emotional intelligence is to a child’s development.  Explore the websites below to find easy to teach activities and resources that help students learn and grow and further develop their social emotional and social skills.  


Tiana Brown is the Assistant Director of the Norwalk Housing Authority Learning Centers


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