& 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
- –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 Health)
- –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
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 Kit.
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 live
Positive Action is a systemic, comprehensive
program which directly addresses bullying by using a multidisciplinary
- 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 another.
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 activities.
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
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
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
National Crime Prevention Center, 2004. Listed
in “Topics in Crime Prevention: McGruff Strategies Program”.
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