Learning how to give--and receive

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A recent Ed Week story about new interventions for special education students caught our eye. 

All teachers help students develop their social skills, but special education teachers may have to teach these skills with little innate foundation to build on. Teachers in Rockville, Maryland use gift-giving exercises to help students with Asperger's. Students have to choose presents for classmates based on their classmates' likes and dislikes, instead of giving what they themselves would like to receive.  When their classmates open the present the gift-giver has to read their facial expressions to see if they liked it or not.  

And it's a learning opportunity for the gift recipients as well: when students get a gift they don't like—teachers sometimes purposefully give a single sock or broken clock—they have to respond politely rather than expressing their disappointment.

That's a powerful lesson wrapped in those packages. 

Ginger Moored