My Job & the Hobby Incorporated…

If there is one constant in a young student’s life, it is their love for movies, music videos and YouTube.  With such a constant consumption of multimedia, both good and bad, it is a natural consequence that students will mirror the behavior they observe. Unfortunately, the behavior that students tend to imitate is not the behavior that is appropriate inside or outside the classroom.  Bearing this mind, I thought it would be of therapeutic benefit for students to watch the very videos that they enjoy but through the point of view of the Boys Town Social Skills Model.  Here at Project Grow, we teach students basic social skills that will increase their opportunity of success in their future endeavors.  I noticed that movies are saturated with basic, intermediate and advanced social skills!  I took it upon myself to show the clips from some the more appropriate movies to students so that they could see practical examples of appropriate and inappropriate social skills and see some of their own negative behaviors acted out by their favorite actors and actresses.

Each video clip focuses on a specific social skill or a plethora of minor social skills and is anywhere from 25 to 40 minutes long.  When the clip begins, students are introduced to a portion of the movie in its uninterrupted form.  During this portion of the clip, the students are instructed to pay close attention to the movie but also to sit back and enjoy the movie just as if they were sitting quietly in a movie theater.  After the clip is finished, the video asks the students what they have just witnessed and if there were any social skills that were or were not followed.  Then the video reviews the clip that they just watched but within this portion of the video are purposefully edited questions that the students are to answer aloud.

One clip that is shown is from Tyler Perry’s, Madea Goes to Jail.  In the clip, Madea is on house arrest but really needs to go to the grocery store.  Her ride to the store is not available and Madea’s brother is giving her a hard time about her predicament.  Hot and flustered, she eventually decides to break the law and go to the store herself.  While in the parking lot of the store, a woman steals Madea’s parking spot just as she is about to pull into it.  Madea tries to calm down but instead destroys the woman’s car in retaliation.  While the students witness Madea’s downfall into discontent, the video asks the students questions like, “What social skill is Madea not following?”  The students answer the question aloud and the video then shows them the steps to the social skill that Madea is breaking.  Next the video asks them how Madea could have handled the situation better.

Another social skill that was highlighted was Following Instruction.  We viewed a clip from the Karate Kid where Daniel, the student, was being taught Karate by Mr. Miyagi, the teacher.  Daniel had in mind that he would be breaking boards with his hands and kicking practice dummies.  Instead, Mr. Miyagi had Daniel do menial chores around Mr. Miyagi’s house for days on end.  Daniel finally became tired of these tedious instructions but little did Daniel know that Mr. Miyagi was teaching Daniel basic Karate defense moves as Daniel sanded the floors and painted the house and fence.  As the clip was playing, the students were becoming just as frustrated as Daniel but by the end of the clip, the students were just as shocked and amazed as Daniel was.  While the clip played, the video constantly prompted students on the steps to Following Instructions, Staying on Task, Accepting Decisions of Authority, Accepting Criticism, Using an Appropriate Voice Tone and many others.

The students’ reactions to these videos have been way beyond what I could have expected.  They really enjoy watching the movies that they love and learning from them.  Throughout the days, these students are taught, without ceasing, the value and the importance of social skills.  But when these social skills are given life and practicality on the sliver screen, they become engrossed in the subject matter and are more open to learning these social skills.


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