& Bullying Prevention
Modello complessivo integrato
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Action Works for Violence Prevention
The entire approach and philosophy of Positive
Action supports the reduction of school violence, including
handgun violence, gang violence, teen dating violence, bullying,
threats, fights, assault, harassment, and discipline problems.
All the lessons and climate materials strive to create a safe
and productive climate by increasing positive behaviors and
decreasing negative behaviors. While no program can address
every issue that adolescents might face, the Positive Action
K-12 curriculum and climate and family programs cover a broad
range of issues and equip students with a system for handling
any given situation. They learn these methods through the six
focus units; each one has important implications toward reducing
violent behaviors in schools.
- –Unit 1: Self-Concept: What It Is, How
It’s Formed, and Why It’s Important (Philosophy and Circle)
- –Unit 2: Physical and Intellectual Positive
- –Unit 3: Social/Emotional Positive
Actions for Managing Yourself Responsibly
- –Unit 4: Social/Emotional Positive
Actions for Getting Along with Others—Treating Them the
Way You Like to Be Treated (Social Skills & Character)
- –Unit 5: Social/Emotional Positive
Actions—Being Honest with Yourself and Others (Mental
- –Unit 6: Social/Emotional Positive
Actions for Improving Yourself Continually (Setting Goals)
From the first lesson in Unit 1,
Positive Action teaches that actions have consequences.
Instead of taking a negative approach, however, Positive
Action teaches that you feel good about yourself when you
do positive actions, and there is always a positive way to do
everything. This intrinsically motivating approach to cause-and-effect
reasoning inspires preteens and teenagers with a reason for
doing positive actions (pro-social behavior) and avoiding negative
actions (anti-social behavior). Students learn that positive
thoughts lead to positive actions, which lead to positive feelings
about yourself, which then lead back to positive thoughts. They
also learn that negative thoughts, actions, and feelings follow
the same cycle to make them feel bad about themselves. This
Thoughts-Actions-Feelings Circle is the basis upon which students
learn positive behaviors for the physical, intellectual, social,
and emotional domains.
Unit 2 teaches physical and intellectual
positive actions, encouraging students to respect and care for
their own minds and bodies, and also the minds and bodies of
others. Clearly, violence and bullying do not fit into this
approach to a healthy lifestyle. Lessons on body image teach
them that they are all individual and there is not one perfect
body type; lessons on drug use teach them to stay away from
substances that can alter their minds, often causing violent
behaviors; and lessons on nutrition and exercise encourage them
to stay fit and well so they can positively control challenges.
Lessons on decision-making and problem solving encourage positive
solutions to all situations. Lessons about intellectual curiosity
and studying teach the value of learning and education so that
students know multiple options and reasons for handling challenges
in intelligent ways without needing to resort to violence.
Unit 3 teaches students to become
effective self-managers. By learning to manage their time, energy,
talent, money, possessions, and thoughts, actions, and feelings,
they become more in control of their lives and their actions.
Lessons on managing feelings such as anger, loneliness, fear,
jealousy, and worry teach students to manage strong emotions
positively instead of acting out in violent behaviors. Many
students who find themselves unable to escape a bad situation
feel a sense of helplessness and hopelessness. Positive
Action teaches them that, while you can’t always control
the situation, you can always control your reaction to that
situation. Teenagers with bleak lives learn to deal with the
present positively and realistically, while setting goals for
the future and learning to manage themselves in a way that helps
them get there. Giving people hope reduces the number of times
they resort to an outlet of violence.
Unit 4 is one of the most direct
applications for violence prevention. It teaches students the
Golden Rule: treat others the way you want to be treated. The
students learn to get along with others by developing and practicing
a personal Code of Conduct based on this universal principle.
Students also agree on classroom and school-wide Codes of Conduct,
uniting the entire school in practicing positive actions in
their interactions with others. When each student and teacher
has agreed on this standard for behavior, everyone in the school
is held accountable by the same code that they themselves created.
Instances of violence, bullying, threats, and harassment decrease
dramatically under this self-imposed standard.
The Conflict Resolution (CR) Kit
lessons add to and enhance Unit 4. Many, but not all, schools
include the CR lessons. The CR lessons teach students CR skills
and provide them with the Conflict Resolution Plan,
a systematic approach to resolving conflicts. The Conflict
Resolution Plan teaches students (and teachers and parents)
how to take direct steps to resolve conflicts with positive,
rather than negative, solutions. It walks both parties involved
in a conflict through steps that address love, empathy, respect,
cooperation, kindness, fairness, and positive communication.
The last step asks how the conflict was positively resolved.
Several copies of the plan and instructions on how to implement
it are included in every Teacher’s Kit.
Being honest with yourself, taught in Unit
5, is a key prevention strategy for violence, because
when most people are honest with themselves they can admit that
they don’t feel good about themselves when they take the negative
action of violent behavior. This unit also teaches taking responsibility
for your actions and not blaming others. Again, this promotes
a personal accountability for every action, positive or negative.
When students aren’t allowed to make excuses, they often realize
there is no excuse for their bullying, threats, or violence.
Unit 6 encourages continually
striving to be a better version of yourself. Students set short-term
and long-term goals and take specific actions to meet those
goals. They are encouraged to broaden their horizons, have the
courage to try new things, and learn from their mistakes. When
focused on positive goals, hopes, and dreams for the future,
youth are less likely to lapse into negative behaviors in the
present. They are less likely to resort to violent behaviors,
knowing that those behaviors could jeopardize their future and
the future of others.
These six focus units are not only used in the
classroom curriculum, but the concepts also extend to the other
program components, including the climate, conflict resolution,
counselor’s, and family components. Each of these plays a vital
part in reducing violent behaviors throughout the school.
The Elementary Climate Kit
creates a school-wide environment that is peaceful and positive
by uniting all teachers, staff, and students with Positive
Action assemblies, ICU Doing Something Positive boxes,
songs, stickers, balloons, certificates, Words of the Week,
and other activities. The Secondary Climate Kit
promotes positive actions with a variety of activities that
all lead to a more positive and peaceful school-wide environment.
The following activities are some examples that are especially
active in encouraging peace throughout the school. Whenever
the school experiences a day of complete peace and cooperation—no
violence, no arguments, no bullying, and no harassment—the Positive
Action Peace Flag is raised and flies above or within the
school. This becomes something the students strive for. A PA
Buddy System pairs stronger students with at-risk students to
encourage friendship, tutoring, listening, and problem solving
between students. Often, this support system eliminates negative
situations where violence may occur by replacing them with positive
situations built on friendship and trust. Both kits employ the
aforementioned school-wide Code of Conduct to set a standard
for behavior; when that standard is broken, the Resolution Solution
puts the Conflict Resolution Plan into place to mediate the
situation and find a positive solution to the conflict.
The Counselor’s Kit
allows counselors to help individual troubled youths or target
specific violent behaviors school-wide. Counselors often encounter
the most anti-social behaviors and have a large role in reducing
these behaviors; this kit equips them with a manual that uses
the same six focus units as the other components. They can further
reinforce concepts that reduce violent behaviors in their daily
encounters with students or use it in specific cases of violence
prevention or intervention.
The Family Kit brings
positive actions to the home, which is an essential element
in preventing violent behaviors in youth. If the same concepts
are being reinforced at home, in the classroom, and school-wide,
it becomes easier for students to practice the positive behaviors
everywhere they go.
Please see the PDF links at the top of the page
to download examples of lessons that address violence and positive
alternative behaviors in the Teacher’s Kits for Grades
6, 7, and 8, the Climate Kit, the Conflict Resolution
Plan, the Counselor’s Kit, and the Family
These many components combine in the effective
and comprehensive Positive Action approach to developing
pro-social behaviors and eliminating anti-social and violent
behaviors. It’s an approach that really works! President and
Developer of Positive Action, Dr. Carol Allred, shares
an experience she had while visiting a school that had a majority
of high-risk students. She and several teachers and administrators
watched amazed as Marcos, a troubled young boy and one of the
biggest discipline challenges in the school, transformed into
a promoter of positive actions. When a young girl was pushed
and shoved at the drinking fountain, she responded by pushing
and shoving back. Marcos asked her if there was a more positive
way she could have handled the situation and, after some coaxing
and suggestions, he convinced her she could have just walked
away. This all happened as the adults looked on, astounded by
the perceptions of an 11-year-old boy. Marcos told Dr. Allred
that he used to be a leader for bad in the school, but now he
wanted to be a leader for good. This is the power of Positive
Action. Dr. Allred sees this as testament to the pervasiveness
of the program’s concepts. There is not a lesson on what to
do when you get splashed at a drinking fountain, but the intuitive
nature of the concepts allows them to be internalized. Students
can take these lessons with them for the rest of their lives
and they will be prepared to positively approach any situation
they encounter. This is the edge Positive Action has
over programs that narrowly target violent behaviors: the focus
on systematically and systemically moving schools and lives
toward positive behavior is long lasting and effective.
Action Works for Bullying Prevention
In a recent Positive Action role-playing
exercise, the smallest, most timid student, a little girl, was
playing the bully. To her great astonishment, she liked it.
The students were shocked.
And then came the teachable moment: the students
were able to discuss bullying from many points of view: the
bully, the victim, what the payoffs were and what the dangers
were. It was possible because no one was being accused of bullying
at the moment, and everyone could look at it dispassionately.
And further, the students could suggest better ways of behaving
for both the victim and the bully.
That’s Positive Action’s great genius.
The lessons and experiences provide students with real life
scenarios, an opportunity to look at their own behaviors. The
lessons also provide the motivation to act in a different way
and a safe, non-threatening language that takes behavior out
of the unconscious realm and brings it into awareness.
That’s the arena where young people begin to have
real choices about what they do.
Positive Action programs have a
three-pronged approach to teaching young people vital social
and emotional skills. First, there are daily or weekly lessons
that directly talk about positive thoughts, actions, and feelings
and how they create a life worth having.
Second, the school climate program creates a safe
environment for learning based on the practice and reinforcement
of positive actions.
And third, involvement of parents and community
provides students with positive role models, opportunities for
physical, intellectual, social and emotional growth, and safety
and supervision. In every instance, there are opportunities
for those depth conversations, children, parents, and teachers
Positive Action is a systemic,
comprehensive program which directly addresses bullying by using
a multidisciplinary approach:
- Teaching and reinforcing positive social and
emotional behaviors, such as respect, empathy, kindness, fairness,
along with accepting responsibility for actions, recognizing
personal strengths and weaknesses in everyone, and using humor
to diffuse a potentially serious situation.
- Providing language and opportunity for talk
about about redirecting social and emotional behaviors for
victims and bullies both.
- Providing counseling and support strategies
for redirecting negative bullying behaviors.
- Investing in meeting universal physical, intellectual,
social, emotional needs of children such as health and safety,
self- directed learning, self-management, social skills, truth-
telling, decision-making, problem-solving, and conflict- resolution
skills, and setting goals.
- Creating a positive self-identity which can
more effectively resist being bullied or the urge to bully
Bullying is dangerous. Not addressing it, more
dangerous still. Arming children with positive thoughts, actions,
and feelings helps them avoid situations where bullying can
occur and to channel bullying behaviors into positive and productive
Positive Action programs creates
a lively, inclusive environment focusing on healthy social and
emotional behaviors which allow every child to thrive.
From poignant personal experience to solid statistical
results, Positive Action has proven that it is effective
in reducing violent behaviors in schools. PA is recognized
by diverse programs as a model, exemplary, or promising
violence prevention program:
U.S. Department of Education, January 2001.
Promising Program for Safe Disciplined and Drug Free Schools
Program for drug, alcohol, and tobacco use, violence and
disruptive behavior prevention.
Title V Model Programs Guide and Database.
Exemplary Program for delinquency prevention. http://www.dsgonline.com/WebEffects/dhtml_slide_tree/TitleV_MPG_Table_Ind_Rec.asp?ID=158
Brigham Young University Women’s Research
Institute, 2001. Antiviolence Program . Preventing violence
and teaching peace: A review of promising and effective
antiviolence, conflict-resolution, and peace programs for
elementary school children.
Illinois Center for Violence Prevention,September
2001. Listed in “Peacing it Together,” as a Significant
Violence Prevention Program. www.icvp.org/peace.asp
Nassau Community College. Listed in “Hate
Crime Resource Guide," as an anti-bias resource for schools
Channing Bete Company, 2004. Communities
That Care Prevention Strategies: A Research Guide to What
Works. A resource that identifies tested effective policies,
programs, and actions that address risk and protective factors
identified through research.
National Crime Prevention Center, 2004.
Listed in “Topics in Crime Prevention: McGruff Strategies
These listings, among many others,
clearly support the use of the Positive Action program
as an effective school-based violence prevention program.
PDF Download: Bullying Prevention Lessons