Social Interaction: A Critical Brain-Based Strategy that Facilitates Learning and the Development of Social Skills

By: Ryan Wlodek, Ph.D.

The human brain is inherently social and is physically altered through social interactions and experiences.  It is necessary to consider the effect social experience has on the brain because students spend much of their time at school and they are influenced a great deal by their experiences at school.

Appropriate amounts of social interaction have positive effects on student learning.  In contrast, social isolation can be detrimental to student learning.  Typically, social interaction in the classroom is facilitated through structured opportunities for students to collaborate.  Those opportunities include cooperative group learning strategies such as think-pair-share, group projects, and reciprocal teaching.  It also includes unstructured social time in classrooms.  Taking into consideration social interaction on a school-wide level, it is important that opportunities exist for students to interact with others through cross-grade-level buddy programs and tutoring, assemblies, and team activities.  

Cooperative group learning provides underlying lessons on cooperation with others and supports 21st Century Learning.  Group as well as individual accountability can help to develop positive interdependence.  Cooperative group learning supports teamwork, responsibility, and provides students with opportunities for face-to-face interactions.  Interactions with others are necessary to learn social skills and provide teachers with opportunities to teach students social skills.

Copyright © 2020 By Ryan M. Wlodek All Rights Reserved.