Violence Prevention Curriculum for Middle School Children Term Paper

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Middle School Violence Prevention

According to study by Lockwood (1997) rates of violence in the adolescent population has increased by 16% over the last few years. Students who engage in violent acts are not necessarily cognizant of the potential harm of their actions. These student perpetrators and their victims will still suffer consequences of the action. Violent acts can range from simple assault, fights on school property, and even homicide. A study of violence in this population is necessary not only because the increasing frequency of the events in middle schools, but the identification of dynamics associated with events; relationships, the intervention of third parties, and anticipation of outcome.

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Most violence prevention programs are targeted at the middle school students. Some studies have focused on populations as young as 1st grade (Aber, Jones & Brown, 2003) because interventions are considered to be most effective when initiated at the youngest stage of development the intervention is felt to be useful. For this study, we will focus on violence prevention curriculum written for and provided to a group on of middle school students, aged 10-14. This population has not received any other violence prevention education. This intervention will be provided in-school during a series of classes with the assistance of the home room teachers. The desired outcome is a measurable change in aggression behaviors and responses toward the same on the part of the students in the program. A significant buy-in for the program on the part of the teachers and administrative staff is also desirable since in similar studies, since teacher perception of the student's aggressive as well as pro-social behaviors are considered to be significant in evaluations of school-based violence prevention programs (Greenberg, Kusche, Cook & Quamma, 1995). The enlistment of parents in the program will also help to validate the education as well as provide continuity of message regarding appropriate conflict behaviors at home and at school.

Term Paper on Violence Prevention Curriculum for Middle School Children Assignment

There are many programs currently available for presenting education on violence prevention, but little data available as to the effectiveness of the programs. A significant amount of money and time is spent on the implementation of programs as well as the provision of training and technical assistance after the programs are completed. As to whether these programs were actually effective in reducing violence or improving coping and anger management skills, there is no data.

Behavioral and Educational Learning Objectives

The purpose of this program is two-fold. We seek to prevent violence and teach adequate violence and anger management skills to assist students in diffusing situations when they occur.

Our primary research questions are:

What factors do the students most identify with violence in the school?

What method do the students most often use to deal with violence, and are these methods effective?

Does violence within the school result in adverse academic achievement, not only victims, but also for perpetrators and bystanders?

For our data to be complete, we will need to collect data on the students such as standardized testing scores, attendance data, suspension and expulsion data as well as student demographic data

The educational objectives associated with our research and outcome measurements follow:

Students will be asked to examine common opinions about violence in the school and compare the opinions with fact. Students will also be asked to identify typical situations for their age group in which conflict may be likely. Students will be asked to discuss how violence affects them locally and globally. Incidents of conflict will be compared to incidents of violence, and the progression stream will be reviewed.

We will also review the impact of media violence on violent behavior and discuss how violent thoughts and emotions may lead to violent behavior. From this, student will be asked to practice "alternative endings" to situations to resolve conflict. This will be evaluated via pre-test and post-test answers to scenario-based questions as well as behavior reports.

Our objectives include development of anger management skills which could prevent conflicts and reduce them when they do occur. We will discuss anger management, the development of an anger management plan and active listening skills. Measurement of this objective will be based on survey of teachers and behavior report comparison for conflict frequency and the observation of anger management skills reported via teacher survey provided every three months.

Students will be asked to demonstrate and critique what they feel to be effective listening skills as well as demonstrate the ability to empathize with others. We will review the best ways to express emotion, positive and negative and via role play we will review the best ways to respond to anger, both in ourselves and others. This behavioral education will rely primarily on acting out scenarios.

This outcome assessment will be based on pre -- and post intervention survey results.

We desire a reduction in the number of violent events, defined as verbal and physical arguments within a given grading period. This outcome will be assessed via teacher report, and demographic data on expulsion, suspension.

We desire a reduction in the amount of stress surrounding violent events, or the anticipation of violent events in the school. This will be evaluated via pre and post testing.

Data Evaluation

The data from this study will be obtained from three different sources. We will obtain demographic data on students from three local middle schools as well as individual student data from parent-teacher report on student assessment.

Schools will be chosen based upon similar levels of classroom violence based on teacher report. We will chose schools of similar socioeconomic status, as demonstrated by the number of children receiving free or reduced price lunches. Schools will also have similar racial mixtures.

The curriculum will be operationalized to three settings. One setting will receive didactic intervention only without significant peer or faculty input. The second setting will provide the data in smaller groups with teachers acting as facilitators and encouraging role play and interaction between peers. The third group will be the control and receive no intervention at all.

Teachers will be coached on presentation of violence prevention training using a currently available tool (Resolving Conflict Creatively Program; Let's Resolve Conflicts Together Program; Working Together to Resolve Conflict Program). It has been shown that many programs are well written and based on sound principles, yet differ significantly and are of unknown efficacy (Aber et al. 2003). Aber also demonstrated that higher levels of teacher training in conflict resolution resulted in lower numbers of negative outcomes of two-year review. After controlled for classroom variance, however, the significance of teacher training tended did not appear to be as significant as previously believed (Samples & Aber, 1998). This is an area for further study.

The design of this kind of study has little in the way of established data to provide guidance. Some programs, such as the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) program continue to be widely used, yet outcome data shows that program to be only marginally effective (Clayton, Cattarello & Johnstone, 1996). It is not the point of this study to report on process evaluation, but rather outcomes. Attitude and knowledge, as evidenced by pre -- and post survey tools are helpful but are only indirect measures of program effectiveness. The addition of violent incident rate reports will add validity to our data.

To evaluate the effectiveness of our violence reduction program, we will use a quasi-experimental design model. Two middle schools (a schools) will be offered violence prevention curriculum. As a control, each school will be paired with another school within the same district with similar rate of participation in a reduced lunch program (a broad estimate of socioeconomic status) and similar numbers of minority students. The second school in each pair will be assigned as a control group school (B Schools).

Violence prevention curriculum will be provided for the two "A" schools in the experimental program. Teachers will be given 8 hours of training in the curriculum, based on our educational and behavioral objectives. Lessons will cover areas addressed under educational objectives such as conflict resolution, mediation, problem solving and behavioral modification.

Outcome data will be obtained from teacher feedback regarding student behaviors in school, both positive and negative. Student behavior reports will be evaluated for the three months prior to the program as well as the year following the program, at three-month intervals. Teachers will be asked to report incidents of conflict/incidence of violence. Students will also be given a pre -- and post intervention survey to assess problem solving and conflict management skills, comfort with mediation, comfort in the school setting and student opinion regarding the safety at school. Data will be collected regarding absenteeism, suspension, expulsion and student performance on standardized testing, both before and for the year following the presentation of the program.

The experiment lacks the luxury of physical control of the experiment situation and therefore will substitute statistical controls to validate our experiment. The research strategy which best fits our design is Regression Point Displacement. Since we are using a community level assessment,… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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