The cognitive skills program fosters the development of skills to help students think, learn, and make decisions more effectively. The course explores strategies in the following cognitive domains:
- Active listening. Students learn deal effectively with intense emotions, especially anger, and they lay the groundwork for developing a needs-based consciousness essential in transforming habits of criticism and blame into self-responsibility and compassionate communication.
- Asking for help. Although asking for help may seem a simple taskAll Pages, it requires a conscious effort to focus on the issue, locate the right person to ask for help, find the appropriate time to ask, and express gratitude for help given.
- Assertive communication. This skill involves taking responsibility for a direct and honest talk, acting assertively rather than aggressively, and being open in expressing wishes, thoughts and feelings to elicit better response and increased respect.
- Goal setting. Students learn to identify their strengths and weaknesses and learn a process for setting specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely goals to help them choose where they want to go in life.
- Students learn to identify problem issues, engage others with respect and understanding, and formulate compromises to increase effective communication with peers, authority figures, family, friends, and employers.
- Problem-solving. Students learn a set of specific behavioral steps that include identifying problems, using positive attitudes, generating alternative solutions, and implementing solutions in real-life situations while incarcerated and upon reentry into the community.
- Self-control. To improve positive response from others and conflict-resolution skills, students learn to become aware of internal thoughts, employ slow-down skills to get emotions under control, and avoid acting negatively and impulsively.