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‘Developing Social Skills’ by Gillian Squirrell


Developing Social Skills
by Gillian Squirrell
Russell House Publishing Ltd
4, St George‚s House, The Business Park, Uplyme Rd. Lyme Regis
Dorset D17 3LS
ISBN 1-898924-28-7

This is a resource specifically designed for use with people in a 'non-traditional' learning environment which for the non-initiated can mean anything which is a community rather than a commercial venture.

No doubt in company with other trainers I suffer sometimes from certain arrogance, thinking that I have the tools and the ability to use them to which no one else has access. Materials such as Ms Squirrell has painstakingly collected and described remind me that this is arrogance indeed.

I do have some criticisms. I found some of the format, for example the use of different terms (modules/sections/activities) and the naming of the activity pages somewhat confusing. I admired the care with which the trainer is reminded to consider literacy and the problems that different levels of ability may cause in a group. Other aspects of diversity were not highlighted in the same way and it was not clear how each learner could access some quite sophisticated parts of the programme. I also wondered whether the exercises on self-management might produce more problems than it solves if there are very
needy or destructive people present.

I found it irritating that references to other books that Ms Squirrell has written in this series were so often repeated. In general the manual has a faintly patronising air about it that betrays its origin as a tool in various social service settings.

Having noted that I would recommend the purchase of this book to any trainer seeking to develop courses on the understanding and use of communication skills in a range of different learning environments

For the price this is an excellent manual and useful in particular for those new to training as each technique is described in generous detail and there is plenty to photocopy.

Judith Usiskin
Integra Training Partnership


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