Education specialists have written volumes on the best ways to help children learn to read and write, but who is helping them navigate the potentially treacherous waters of social interactions? While in school to study, children are also preoccupied with understanding the rules governing social relationships. Issues of trust and loyalty, rivalry and conflict, belonging and exclusion affect all school-aged children, but very few lesson plans include social development skills.
The Promotion of Social Awareness summarizes thirty years of research on the social development of children in elementary and middle school, and shows how this work has led to a series of programs that promote the social competence of children and adolescents. Rich with lessons drawn from real life, the book includes an in-depth account of the author's partnership with an innovative program designed to help educators promote a sound ethic of social relationships among children, a case study of a teacher particularly gifted at promoting such relationships, and the tale of how the author's theoretical framework fared cross-culturally when exported to Iceland.
The Promotion of Social Awareness documents Robert Selman's efforts both as a practitioner trying to help young people develop their interpersonal skills and as a researcher attempting to understand the factors that promote or hinder social development. Selman believes that getting along with others involves concrete and measurable social skills and actions that can be taught. The book underlines how the science of social development has given rise to initiatives and programs that can be used in educational settings to help children get along with each other, and may in the long run help prevent violence, drug abuse, and prejudice.
Unique in its marriage of theory and practice, The Promotion of Social Awareness will appeal to a wide readership, including developmental psychologists, educators, and parents.
ROBERT L. SELMAN is Roy E. Larsen Professor of Human Development and Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education, and professor of psychology, Harvard Medical School.