Animated cartoons are popular with children and are shown to have pro-social benefits (Mares & Woodard, 2001). Video modeling is one of the most popular and effective approaches for teaching social skills to children with special needs (Bellini & Akullian, 2007). The combination of animation and video modeling is an innovative and compelling approach for teaching social skills, and will heighten student motivation. Enhanced student motivation is likely to result in improved skill acquisition and reduced behavior problems (Koegel, Tran, Mossman, & Koegel, 2006). A group teaching approach offers opportunities for students to learn from each other, interact socially, and work on skills in a natural environment.
Empirical research supports the efficacy of video modeling in teaching social skills to children (e.g., Corbett & Abdullah, 2005; Hitchcock, Dowrick, & Prater, 2003). Research also supports pro-social television for fostering social skill development. Animation can have the same positive effects as watching live model pro-social programming (Forge & Phemister, 1987; Mares & Woodard, 2005). TeachTown®: Social Skills incorporates research from video modeling and pro-social animation studies.
TeachTown®: Social Skills is targeted to students who have a language age of 4 to 8 years. Capturing the attention of these younger students is essential before the age of 8 years, as research on social development demonstrates that treatment may be less effective later in life (Eron, 1990; Snyder, 2001).
Animation is a familiar media format for children, one that is immediately relatable. Studies show that when children are interested and engaged, they learn and retain more.
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