Interpersonal Skills

Learners working in groups deploy the social awareness and interpersonal skills needed to successfully collaborate, including the abilities to empathize, listen actively, relate across lines of difference, communicate respectfully and clearly, resolve conflicts, and both seek and offer help when appropriate.

Tier 1: This Look For is one of seven that represent Quality First Instruction for all learners.


Demonstrate trust, acceptance, and comfort in their group setting

Evidence of Learner Behaviors

  • Use language of faith, growth mindset, and agreement with group members about discussions and decisions

  • Actively engage the group discussion and tasks and appear at ease during the course of the group work

Questions to Ask Learners

  • How do you feel about working in this group?

  • Do you feel comfortable in this group work?

Communicate accurately, respectfully, and transparently with their group members

Evidence of Learner Behaviors

  • Use language that implies respect and clarity during group discussions (e.g., "I understand your point, however..."; "I think its important we all share our ideas")

Questions to Ask Learners

  • When you are discussing the topic with your group, how do you make sure everyone is heard?

  • How do you discuss ideas and actions steps when you all don't agree?

  • Why is that important?

Resolve group conflicts constructively if they arise

Evidence of Learner Behaviors

  • Offer a solution to a group disagreements

  • If necessary, seek feedback and support from learning facilitators

Questions to Ask Learners

  • When disagreement occurs in your group, what do you do?

  • How do you manage getting along after a disagreement?

  • Why is that important?

Seek and offer help to and from group members when needed

Evidence of Learner Behaviors

  • Recognize when a group member is struggling and offer support without being prompted

  • Seek support from group members when they recognize they are struggling with an outcome or task

Questions to Ask Learners

  • When you or your group members are struggling with a task, what do you do?

  • Why do you do that?


Collaboration is complex and requires learners to have the social skills to get to know and trust each other, communicate effectively, accept and support each other, and resolve conflicts constructively.


It is important to support the development of social skills by providing direct instruction, regular individual feedback, and group recognition for positive interactions.

Educator Actions

Learning facilitators support learners’ development and application of the interpersonal skills needed for collaboration.

CSTPs: 2.3, 2.5, 6.3

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Lifelong Learning is a natural match to interpersonal skills! Design group tasks that include learners using aspects of the Personal and Learning spheres, such as active listening, the use of academic sentence frames, and evaluating how their groups worked.


  • Teach or reinforce interpersonal skills through explicit direct instruction (F)

  • Model skills for learners in interactions with learners and colleagues (P/F)

  • Provide individual feedback on interpersonal skills (P/F)

  • Affirm learner demonstrations of interpersonal skills (F)

  • Intervene when learners do not demonstrate key interpersonal skills (F)

  • Coach learners to take advantage of resources in their learning environment, school, and community when appropriate (P/F)

  • Support learners in articulating the reasons the norms around interpersonal skills exist and why learners would choose to follow or not follow a norm in a given situation given that learner’s values (P/F)

P = planned F = facilitated spontaneously