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Ignoring Others' Behavior

Social competence requires sound social judgement based on someone’s past behavior and our past experience with them. Ignoring others’ negative behavior fuses two important skills, making accurate social and behavioral judgements as well as exerting self-control. This is a great goal for a child who’s consistently attracted to children with negative behavior.

Preview an SEL skills lesson: Ignoring Others' Behavior

1 Show the video to your students

Narrator: Sometimes it’s best to ignore people. This means you keep focusing on you instead of other people. If certain people make us feel upset or annoyed, we need to stop and think. Is this situation something I should try to fix or just ignore? Let’s see what happens when Liz doesn’t ignore Serena.


<SCENE 1 – students working on worksheets individually>

Serena: (talking to herself) Mass-a-chu-… Massachusetts. 

Liz: (looks at Serena)

Serena: (talking to herself) Con — Conn-ect-i-cut. Connecticut. New…

Liz: (annoyed) Will you be quiet? I’m trying to do my work here!


Narrator: What happened there? Liz got very upset with Serena. Let’s see what she’s thinking.

Liz: (thought bubble) I was trying to do my work and Serena was being too loud. It was so annoying.

Narrator: Liz was annoyed by Serena’s actions. How did Liz make Serena feel?

Serena: (thought bubble) When Liz yelled at me, it made me feel really sad. I was just trying to do my worksheet. Saying the words out loud really helps me.

Narrator: Liz made Serena feel sad when she yelled at her. She wasn’t able to control her feelings and got very upset. Instead of yelling at Serena, Liz should try to ignore her. Serena wasn’t trying to make Liz upset, she was just doing her work. Let’s watch Liz try again.


<SCENE 2  – students working on worksheets individually>

Serena: Ma-ssa-chu…

Liz: (internal thought, taking deep breaths) Serena is being loud, but I know she is just trying to do her work. I’m going to ignore her and focus on my work. (pauses, takes deep breath) Oh, I know this one! Pennsylvania! (continue working on worksheet)


Narrator: That time, Liz was able to ignore Serena. Liz didn’t get upset, and she didn’t make Serena upset by yelling at her. She was able to block out the noise and focus on her work. Remember to stop and think about what’s happening. Is this something I should try to fix or should I just ignore it?

2 Review with the Companion Worksheet
3 Apply new skills with activities & games!

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Other SEL materials on Ignoring Others' Behavior
Ignoring Others’ Behavior Video
Ignoring Others’ Behavior

Pre-k and K

Ignoring Others' Behaviors Role-Play Activity
Ignoring Others' Behaviors Role-Play

Pre-k and K