Information Bulletin Number 6
The STOP THINK DO Social Skills Program
"Stop, Think, Do" is a program developed by Lindy Petersen and Anne Gannoni for training social skills while managing student behaviour. The program aims to improve the social functioning of children and prevent personal and social distress through development of social skills and pro-social attitudes.
Children with poor social skills tend to keep on making the same mistakes in social situations which generally make problems worse and put other children off. The Stop Think Do program teaches children to stop themselves behaving in their usual socially unacceptable ways and think of alternative things to do or say that are more acceptable.
The Stop Think Do program focuses on teaching children good communication, problem solving and behavioural skills. The problem solving component of the program, which uses a traffic light symbol to remind children of the process, follows the format set out below:
Stop (red) - look and listen to clarify the problems and what each party wants to happen next rather than reacting impulsively. Express feelings honestly.
Think (yellow) - think of all possible solutions and consider the consequences of each.
Do (green) - choose the best solution(s) and put it into action. If it doesn't work go back to stop and then think again about what else you can do.
This process teaches children how to think about, evaluate and choose solutions to social problems before initiating behaviour. Although the process as described seems lengthy, children, after the learning stage, are able to make quick judgments about the likely consequences and relative acceptability of their behaviour, which speeds up the process.
The Stop Think Do classroom program focuses on teaching children particular skills in 4 major areas:
* Conversation/Communication skills - e.g. listening, asking questions, paying attention.
* Friendship skills - e.g. making friends, joining in.
* Skills for Difficult Situations - e.g. saying NO, following instructions, responding to teasing.
* Problem Solving skills - e.g. negotiating, getting help.
This program teaches children to resolve conflicts and deal with problem social situations in a democratic, "no-lose" way. Development of appropriate social skills in children leads to more successful peer relations and social acceptance, which is important to both the personal well-being and academic success of children.
Classroom teachers and parents can assist children to develop acceptable social skills and behaviour. This can be done by modelling the Stop Think Do process in their own interactions with students and by facilitating students using the problem - solving process themselves.
Further information regarding this program and staff professional development is available from the Peel School Psychology Service.