Teaching social skills in the language classroom
Bullying has become a major problem in schools worldwide. It might escalate to serious forms of anti-social behaviour, therefore the teaching of social skills are important in the school as a whole. The language classroom is the ideal place to teach social and communication skills. In the whole language approach, combined with content-based teaching, the teacher can choose a theme, like ‘bullying’ and include specific language skills in the lesson. The class could for instance discuss the theme, debate the contentious issue, write a dialogue about the theme and dramatise it. By engaging with an issue in this way, learners not only learn social and communication skills, but also various language skills. Learners learn best when they are engaged in their own learning; when the learning material is part of their life world and they are interested in the topic.
Keywords: Bullying, social skills, communication skills, whole language approach, integrated language teaching, theme-based approach