Unacceptable ways to teach math:

1. Describe how to do math problems but do not practice.

2. Describe the importance of math, how and when it can be used but do not teach foundation math skills such as number sense, basic facts or basic algebra properties.

3. Give students math sheets. When they complete them tell them what a great job they did for trying but dont have them correct their errors- it may hurt their feelings.

4. Read students stories about math, write them in the first person and then expect them to balance a check book.

5. Have students do a lot of math worksheets but never practice with real life math.

I doubt few parents or professionals would argue that it is acceptable to teach math skills in any of the above ways. Reading it just sounds ridiculous. So why then is it not only acceptable, but popular to teach social skills using the above techniques. Bonus points if you can identify which popular social skills program each is based on !

Social skills and executive functioning skills are SKILLS just like math skills and as such good social skills & executive functioning instruction requires individualized instruction at the student’s skill level then systematically teaches authentic new skills providing opportunities for practice and feedback and systematically teaches students how to apply those skills in the real world. Ah Gasp…that sounds a lot like ABA.

Those who say that you cant use ABA to teach social skills or executive functioning have no idea what ABA is (most think it is old school discrete trial with a teacher and student sitting at a table).

ABA gives  us the technology to systematically teach ecologically valid social and executive skills to the same standards that we expect of math instruction.