Violence is much too prevalent. Its destructiveness on learning and every aspect of life cannot be overestimated; violence undermines the goal of having a civilized society. As with everything, we know that what students learn is what they are taught. Non-violence can be taught as the better behavior, and that is what Positive Action succeeds at teaching students.
How does Positive Action reduce and prevent violence? There are three main elements: the content, the program tools that deliver the content, and the climate that is created when the content is received by the students.
The content of the program is contained mainly in the philosophy of the program: You feel good about yourself when you do positive actions, and there is a positive way to do everything. Bringing this intuitive concept to a conscious level helps us understand what motivates us intrinsically. The philosophy tells us that we feel good about ourselves when we do positive actions, which assumes that we all want to feel good about ourselves. If we also recognize that we feel bad about ourselves when we do negative actions, we can see what happens to our self-worth if we are violent with another person or persons: We feel bad about ourselves.
Positive Action teaches this concept to students, and then it teaches them what the positive actions are for their whole self: the physical, intellectual, social and emotional areas. When students learn these positive actions, the TAF Circle and the philosophy, they come to understand cognitively that violent actions are negative; they also understand affectively that they shouldn’t do negative actions because they make us feel bad about ourselves. They learn that doing positive actions keeps the TAF Circle moving in a positive direction. When this becomes habitual, their lives will be happier and more successful as a result of doing these actions consistently.
When the lessons that are taught in the curriculum are encouraged and reinforced throughout the day using the Climate Development Kits, the school climate becomes positive for everyone: Teachers, students, support staff, counselors, and the administration. Leaders can lead, Teachers can teach and students can learn much more effectively. As a result, the school is a place where everyone wants to be.
The entire approach and philosophy of Positive Action supports the reduction of violence and violent behaviors, including school violence, bullying, fights, threats, assault, weapon use, gangs, and harassment. All lessons and climate materials strive to create a safe and productive climate by increasing positive actions and decreasing negative actions. Positive Action lessons cover a broad range of issues and equip students with a method for handling any given situation.
At its most basic level, Positive Action teaches students to treat others the way they want to be treated. Once they grasp this concept, they can apply it to situations where they might be tempted to try to make themselves feel better by harming someone else. They learn the TAF Circle, which tells them that a negative action, such as bullying, may make them feel better for a short time, but will only make them feel worse in the long run. Positive Action brings intuitive philosophies to a conscious level and teaches students how to carry out these philosophies with peaceful actions.
Educators can teach with confidence as researchers have found that Positive Action reduces multiple forms of violence, bullying and other disruptive behaviors. The analysis from two randomized trials has been featured in three peer-reviewed journal articles.
Click here to review the violence research outcomes.
Click here for an overview on youth development.