Behavior / Social Thinking

Expected & Unexpected Behaviors – Social Thinking Introduction Lesson

This Expected and Unexpected Behavior Unit is based off of the Social Thinking framework.  I believe it is important to not just teach my students HOW to behave socially but to have them fully understand WHY they are expected to behave certain ways. 

To help my students develop confidence by becoming more aware of social situations and the expectations people have within those situations,  which helps them become more aware of their own behavior within and across different situations. This is directly connected to how people feel and affects how they treat them.

This REQUIRES us to practice our FLEXIBLE THINKING! We need to be flexible adjusting our thinking & behaviors.
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Within each social situation, they will figure out the “hidden social rules” by being a Social Detective (observing the environment) and determining  what is happening in that situation and what is the expected/unexpected behavior of people in that situation and how it affects others.

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What Are “Hidden Rules”?
Hidden Rules” is a term used to describe the unwritten rules and expectations of behavior that everyone seems to know, but were never taught.  They are social or subtle cues that we acquire through observation over time.

When your teacher gives you a warning about behavior and you continue the behavior, you are probably going to get in trouble.

        Hidden Rules enable us to understand what others are thinking, saying, or their motives; which helps us  determine how to engage appropriately  in that social  situation.
        In every social situation, there are things that people do and say that are expected (appropriate) and unexpected (inappropriate)  for that exact time and in that particular place/situation.
       Every time any of us walks into a new social situation, one of the first things we do is try to figure out the rules of the situation.  

4d2006430a5464eab98db8574bd2bfbf.pngSometimes the rules are super easy and clear (don’t blurt out answers), and sometimes they are “hidden” (step aside when someone gets on the elevator). Knowing the expected behaviors of each situation helps you make better behavior choices which impacts how others act and feel about you. These behaviors lead to positive or negative consequences.6


         EXPECTED BEHAVIORS – Understanding that a range of hidden rules exist in every situation and people are responsible for figuring out what those rules are and then following them. By doing so, we keep other people thinking good thoughts about us. Doing what is expected is different based on where we are and who we are with.
           What makes a behavior expected is that it encourages others to feel calm , happy, and pleased in response to the social behavior. When others feel positively, they tend to treat the person who produced the behavior more positively. When the person who did the behavior feels people are responding well, that person tends to feel better about himself/herself and others in the situation.
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This is the visual Graphic Organizer I created to help my students think through the social situation.


           UNEXPECTED BEHAVIORS– Failing to follow the set of rules, hidden or stated, in the environment.  People who don’t follow the rules are doing what is ‘unexpected’ and people may have “uncomfortable” or ‘weird’ thoughts about them.
            What makes a behavior unexpected is that in response to the behavior people who witness the behavior feel stressed, upset, or uncomfortable by it.  Unexpected behaviors tend to make people who observe the behavior feel more negatively towards that person.  How people feel affects how they treat someone, so if the observers feel annoyed, they will likely treat the person producing the behaviors more harshly (annoyed tone of voice, ignore them, make fun of them, or even  fail to include him/her in other activities).  The person who produced the  unexpected behaviors, receive  negative reactions and tend to feel upset with others and more discouraged about the situation.
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This is the visual Graphic Organizer  I created to help my students think through the social situation.
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