One of the biggest concerns that parents have when sending their children off to school is how they will get along with their peers. Throughout this last year, many have wondered what effect the pandemic has played on their children’s social development. However, pre-COVID issues like cliques and bullying continue to be social problems for children at schools. Still, there are some hidden pressures that students have that can create conflict with their peers.

The not-so-obvious problems that children face are those within the classrooms. Group projects, for example, can create pressure for some, while others thrive in team challenges. There are significant benefits to those group projects, though. In elementary school, group projects help develop communication skills, time management, and valuable lessons on trust and support. However, how students respond to those group settings will determine whether they will achieve those skills.

There is no doubt that some are more outgoing than others, while the rest tend to keep more to themselves. Some might think that this may automatically translate to how well they may get along at school. This comes from the common misconception that a person is limited to being classified as an introvert or an extravert, like most popular personality tests. The fact is, there is a whole spectrum of personalities and the ways they interact with each other. Some characteristics tend to work more harmoniously with others, while some tend to clash more often than not. Understanding how students think is the key to unlocking why they respond and react to people in different social situations.

The COSEC (Cognitive Orientation & Social-Emotional Competency) for kids is a unique personal aptitude tool developed specifically for kids under 13 years of age that follows the PCB (Perception Conception Behavior) model. The PCB model uses the individual’s view of the world (perception), how they process that information (conception), and how the relationship between the two influences an individual’s characteristics, traits, and preferences (behavior). Let’s look at the previously mentioned introvert-extravert example: We can all identify at least a little as an introvert or an extravert, but there are situations where we find we are quite the opposite of what we thought. The advantage of the COSEC is that it takes those environmental and situational factors into account and identifies how someone will behave in some situations, and identifies preferences for others.

Not everyone shines during group work, but there could be a way of bringing their potential to light. Students tend to gravitate toward their preferred roles in groups, whether a leader, a collaborator, a soloist, or something else altogether. The COSEC can identify where a student lands on this scale, where there may be room for improvement, or how they should approach group projects to reach their fullest potential.

This type of assessment is an extremely beneficial tool for helping to identify the strengths and challenges students have in specific environments. We hope to start a discussion to find ways of assisting students in taking full advantage of their strengths and find tools and methods to help them in more challenging areas.


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