Can We Teach Social Literacy?

A young girl kisses a baby on the cheek.
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Here at Radical Parenting, we say YES–we can teach social literacy.

What is Social Literacy?

Social literacy is a person’s ability to interact, maintain and build relationships with others. This has also been called social intelligence or emotional literacy in that social literacy involves knowing and being able to express one’s own emotions successfully.

Teaching social literacy involves teaching young people communication and social skills, as well as showing them how to effectively and purposefully mediate their interactions with family members, friends and colleagues in the school or business environment. Some of examples of social literacy issues might include lack of eye contact, understanding angry feelings versus fear or being able to deal successfully with confrontation.

Why is it Important?

Social literacy is important on a number of different levels. First, as we become more and more technologically savvy, we interact with each other less and less. Social literacy helps prevent against bullying as young people learn to express themselves correctly, handle friendship miscommunications and interact in person, not just through their devices. Second, social literacy can help with family communication in the home. Teaching family members how to read their each other and ask for what they need can bring harmony into the home. Lastly, as young people enter adulthood, social literacy becomes essential in job interviews, in adult relationships and in almost every career.

What Radical Parenting Is Working On:

We are working on teaching social literacy and researching further implications in two ways:

1) Speaking to Parents and Teenagers

We give presentations to parents and teenagers about social literacy where we teach basic concepts, social skills and stress the importance of reading each other in school, at home and in the future.

2) Future Research

We are currently working on an extensive research project to test the success of an in school curriculum teaching social literacy to young people. We, as always, will be posting about progress and findings of this research report, but feel free to email in with ideas, questions or if you want to get involved in the process.

This is part of EmoSocial Intelligence series. If you would like to read more articles on how to read and build nonverbal communication skills in your family or with your child, please visit our EmoSocial Intelligence page for tips and updated research.

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