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Adult Learner > Factors > Social Awareness & Relationship Skills

Social Awareness & Relationship Skills

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How Social Awareness & Relationship Skills connects to...

Learning is powerful when we learn with and from each other. Social Awareness & Relationship Skills are essential for forming and maintaining positive relationships so that peers, co-workers, and instructors can become learning partners and collaborators. When each individual sees how they can use their strengths to contribute to the success of a group, they can better engage in their learning environment.

Main Ideas

  • Social Awareness is the understanding of social norms for behavior and the ability to recognize and understand the perspectives and feelings of others. Social Awareness allows learners to empathize with people from diverse backgrounds that are different from their own, supporting compassion and cultural awareness. Adults' awareness of their own identities (e.g., race, gender, SES) and how society views those identities can also impact their Sense of Belonging in learning environments.
  • Relationship Skills are specific interpersonal skills based on Social Awareness that allow learners to communicate and get along with others, cooperate, and prevent and resolve interpersonal conflicts. These skills can also support a collaborative and inclusive culture. Collaboration is a highly sought after workforce skill for adults.

Building social networks with access to new resources, termed social capital, is an important outcome of adult education, as learners gain the confidence and knowledge to interact with those beyond their social circles. Adults need to use complex social norms such as politeness and formality across social contexts. Peer relationships can be particularly important during transitions, for example the transition to college, especially for adults who have difficulty with relationships, including those with ADHD. Social Awareness & Relationship Skills are also critical in online environments for both successful networking and learning.

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