Using the Language of the Group

Diss              Don't do an Eddie
Phat Livin' Large
Boss I blew my mind

The above words show a very small subset of the "technical" vocabulary children and adolescents use in social situations (some of which are likely already "out of date"). Memorizing the list of "in" vocabulary words is just the first step in being able to use them when interacting with peers. Students must also determine which words they can use with a particular audience, use them in a fluent and semantically correct manner, and voice them with credibility. For example, an adult probably couldn't credibly use any of the above words with their peers, or with their child's peer group.

It can be very helpful for students to develop an understanding of the language of their peers, even though they may never use that language.

Here are some strategies to help student develop their ability to use the language of their peer group.

Helpful Hints

  • Provide students with opportunities to interact casually with other students (e.g., before and after school, between activities) in order to practice their use of peer-appropriate language.  
  • Setting up social skills training groups in your classroom may give students a chance to learn and field-test new skills and behaviors that contribute to social competence. But, the positive effects of such groups may be negated by "the real world" social scenes of the school bus, the hallway, etc. In order to maximize the likelihood that newly acquired knowledge and skills will transfer to other settings:
    • Students must develop resiliency to social failures and resistance by others.
    • Students must develop adaptive coping strategies when attempts at social interaction are unsuccessful.
    • All students, not only those in special training groups, may need to be educated about the need to accept others.