Importance of Social Skills for School Students
Social skills are those skills that facilitate interactions and communication with other
people. The process of learning social skills is referred to as socialization. For socialization,
interpersonal skills are vital for one to relate to others (DeMatteo & Arter, 2012). There are a
number of benefits for teaching social skills in schools. For instance, these skills help students to
develop the ability to solve problems, have positive self-esteem and delay the onset of drug
abuse (Durlak, 2017).
According to Nebel & Richthofen (2016), the key priorities of secondary teaching
include giving students a real say in their learning, preparing children for higher learning and
connecting schools to the community. In line with giving students a real say in their learning, this
means that the voice of students should be celebrated in schools. Students should be given a
chance to participate in decision-making on matters related to their learning. This influence
should extend to pedagogy since the kind of a citizen a student will become is determined by
his/her life at school, and the manner a student communicates and interacts are very powerful
tools for learning. Education is a ladder which students climb to higher academic levels.
Secondary schools have a role to play to prepare students to advance their education (Nebel &
Richthofen, 2016). This essay presents why it is important to teach school students social skills
and how these skills may affect the future generations
Social Skills for School Students
The area about the importance of social skills for school students is not a new research
area since various studies related to the topic have been conducted. Goldstein, Lackey, and
Schneider (2014) researched on the relationship between lack of social skills and autism.
According to these researchers, issues related to the development of social skills are a hallmark
for students who suffer from Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). One of the social skills that
ASD students lack is peer interactions as these students spend less time to interact and when they
engage with peers, they have low-quality interactions.
In a research by DeMatteo et al. (2012), this researcher covered how lack of social cues
affect young children suffering from autism. According to this researcher, young adults who
suffer from ASD may not be effective to perform certain social skills. This is because the
environment they live in does not provide natural cues which play a role in evoking specific
prosocial behaviors. Thus, in spite of young adults possessing the skill, they may not know the
time to exhibit it appropriately. This deficit, may in most cases make young adults with ASD to
appear out of context since they are incapable of reading social cues of various situations.
Merrell ( 2013), Wentzel (2016) and Schwab (2014) cover the role and challenges
teachers face in promoting life skills education while Durlak (2017) cover the effectiveness of
teaching life skills through sport-based activities. As much as most studies have covered social
skills in school students, the content about the importance of social skills for school students has
not been dealt with, and this is the gap this essay seeks to address.
From the benefits it brings to a person to the positive impact it has on employability and
wider society, it is imperative to appreciate the importance of having social skills. Having social
inability is a long-term problem that can affect an individual’s whole life. That is why it is
important to identify social deficits in an early life of an individual such that they can be
addressed. This is because being social incompetence can cause more debilitations and
consequences to a student’s success in life than learning problems (DeMatteo & Arter, 2012).
From economic perspective, development of social skills leads to cost saving. Costs
incurred to treat a drug abuser, government aid combined with increased revenue (increased
revenue that is caused by high employment rates) makes it cost effective to teach social skills in
a student’s early years while at schools (Durlak, 2017).
Social skills are many, and if school students are to be socially adept, then there is need
to master social skills. A simple practice such as starting, maintaining and ending a conversation
is a social skill that facilitates interaction. The examples below represent some of the
fundamental principles that an individual can use to relate well with other people. Teaching
social skills to school students is not only the responsibility of teachers, but parents also have a
role to play (Gillies, 2016).
Greeting. Students develop relationships with adults through interactions. To interact
with a person, this involves at first greeting the person. It is not so much of the words that are
spoken while greeting someone (such as “Hi” and “How are you?”), but the way these words are
spoken show that one is glad seeing the other person. The practice of greeting adults with two
hands is a sign of respect. Children may be taught about this skill by their parents or teachers at
school (Goldstein, Lackey, & Schneider, 2014).
Initiating a conversation. After a person has greeted someone, what follows is a
conversation with the person. Such that a child carries on a conversation, he/she must be taught
how to initiate, maintain and end a conversation in an appropriate way (Merrell & Gimpel,
Empathizing. Empathy is feeling what the other person is feeling. It is one way of
connecting with the other person. For instance, if a student gets an A on chemistry and his friend
gets a D, he should not brag about his A to his friend because he knows it will make him feel bad
for performing badly in chemistry. Students who lack empathy are considered to be mean,
unkind and self-centered. Teaching students on showing empathy enable them to be empathizing
to their peers in the society (Schwab, 2014).
Self-awareness. The importance of this skill is that it enables an individual to recognize
when he/she is stressed or feels pressurized. According to Wentzel (2016), self-awareness is a
prerequisite for good communication skills and interpersonal skills.
Apologizing. There is no person who does not make a social mistake at one time or
another. An individual having good social skills is confident to apologize for his/her mistake
sincerely. Students with weak social skills may have trouble to apologize for their mistakes
because they can't lose face. They are afraid that their fellow students will think they are a week.
They may also be full of pride or have a feeling of stupidity or foolishness if they try to
apologize. Practically, people have different views when a person apologizes for his/her mistake
In everyday life, the development of social skills helps school students recognize the impacts
of their actions and learn to be responsible for what they do instead of blaming others. The skills
also help them to build confidence in spoken skills and for team collaboration and cooperation.
By having social skills, students make decisions and understand why they make certain decisions
outside the school. Having self-awareness and appreciating others is one of the important virtues
of good citizens. Social skills for school students helps them to develop a greater sense of self-
awareness and appreciate others in the society and in higher learning institutions which they may
join later in their life (Goldstein, Lackey, & Schneider, 2014).
The more a person develops social skills individually, the more these skills affect and benefit
the world. In terms of benefits of social skills for school students to the society, these skills help
students to recognize cultural awareness and citizenship making it easy for them to interact with
other international students. Students also learn to respect diversity, and this makes them be
creative and imaginative to flourish developing more tolerant society (Wentzel, 2016).
Having discussed advantages of social skills for school students, this leads us to ask how
these skills affect the future generations. According to a study conducted by Durlak (2017),
findings indicated that the probability for school students who had strong social skills to display
good citizenship in the future was higher than for those who lacked social competence skills.
Durlak (2017) also found out that there was a high probability for students who shared or were
helpful in schools to advance their education in colleges and universities and secure full-time
jobs approximately twenty years later. For students who lacked social competence skills, they
were likely to experience negative outcomes when they attained 25 years of age. Such negative
outcomes include drug abuse problems, challenges to find jobs and to violate the law.
The future generation is based on the current generation. How a person behaves in the future
depends on his/her early characteristics. Fortunately, social skills can be improved. There is no
guarantee that having strong social skills leads to better outcome later on in life but increases the
chances of success after school. Though people change, this is not easy due to addiction and
being used to a certain lifestyle. Helping school students develop social skills is one of the
essential things that can be done to prepare them to be good people in the future. From an early
age, social skills can determine whether the student joins a higher learning institution or prison
and whether the student will end up employed or addicted (Wentzel, 2016).
Every person is born with innate social competencies and lacking social skills may have a
negative impact on the child’s life. For instance, students who have attentional problems may
find it difficult to listen and attend in conversations or be unable to inhibit the impulse talking
things at inappropriate periods. Students with memory problems may find it hard to follow a
conversation due to their inability to remember what a person says. For those with language and
communication problems, they have a high vulnerability to social problems. They may find it
difficult to keep pace in conversations, especially when their peers are talking. Students with
autism are not capable of effectively dealing with social situations. These are a few of problems
related to social skills that a single study may not all cover (Schwab, 2014). More studies should
be conducted to cover the importance of social skills among students with disabilities to
highlight the need to develop such skills in the disabled students.
With social skills for school students being beneficial both to the society and to their lives,
there is a need for more studies to be conducted on this topic. Benefits of social skill for school
students are many to be covered in a single study. Highlighting benefits of this topic in different
pieces of literature may help to fix certain flaws and behavioral aspects among students. For
instance, there are cases of use of illegal drugs and other acts of the felony among the minors, the
problems that could have been fixed early in the child's life. In general, social skills are vital and
students should be taught these skills early enough especially at the secondary level.
DeMatteo, & Arter. (2012). Social skills training for young adults with Autism Spectrum
Disorder: Overview and implications for practice. National Teacher Education Journal,
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Durlak, J. A. (2017). Handbook of Social and Emotional Learning: Research and Practice. New
York: Guilford Press.
Gillies, R. M. (2016). Enhancing Classroom Talk: Blending Practice, Research and Theory.
Goldstein, Lackey, & Schneider. (2014). A new framework for systematic reviews: Application
to social skills interventions for preschoolers with autism. Exceptional Children, 262-
Merrell, K., & Gimpel, G. (2014). Social Skills of Children and Adolescents: Conceptualization,
Assessment, Treatment. New York: Psychology Press.
Nebel, S., & Richthofen, A. v. (2016). Urban Oman: trends and perspectives of urbanisation in
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Schwab, C. (2014). Social Skills Matter!, Grades PK – 2: Social Narrative Mini-Books.
Washington, D.C: Key Education Publishing.
Wentzel, K. R. (2016). Handbook of Social Influences in School Contexts: Social-Emotional,
Motivation, and Cognitive Outcomes. London: Routledge.
Wilkerson, K. L. (2013). Promoting Social Skills in the Inclusive Classroom. London: Guilford