Preventing School Violence Needs to Start at Young Age

Mar 17, 2008

By the time a child enters third grade, it may be too late to change behavioral issues that could lead to more serious problems later in life, including violent and aggressive behavior. A University of Missouri professor discusses the importance of proactive prevention of behavioral problems at an early age in her new book Implementing Positive Behavior Support Systems in Early Childhood and Elementary Settings.

“It is clear that there is a link between significant problem behaviors seen in young children and more serious patterns of problem behaviors later in children’s lives,” said Melissa Stormont, associate professor in the College of Education at MU. “Families, schools and communities have a window of opportunity to make a significant impact on children’s social behaviors.”

In her book, she reports that the number of children coming to school without necessary social skills is increasing. As many as one in five students displays disruptive behaviors in the classroom to the point that intervention is necessary. According to Stormont, the typical response to problem behavior is reactionary and punishment-oriented. However, this approach only works to reinforce the negative behavior.

Often children enter school environments without the social skills that teachers expect. What a child learns at home as appropriate behavior varies from family to family. By implementing proactive, positive behavior support systems early in a child’s education, 80 to 85 percent of the students will respond positively. If the remaining students are identified early, they can get the special attention they need, according to Stormont.

“The urgency to develop appropriate patterns of social behavior among young children simply cannot be emphasized enough. Educators need to have an understanding of this urgency and the tools for responding,” Stormont said. “Teachers should not make the assumption that students ‘should know by now’ how to act. Rather, teachers should be proactive in guiding children and reinforcing positive behaviors.”

Implementing Positive Behavior Support Systems in Early Childhood and Elementary Settings was written by Stormont, Timothy J. Lewis, associate dean of graduate and international studies in the College of Education at MU, and MU doctoral students Rebecca Beckner and Nanci W. Johnson.

Source: University of Missouri

Explore further: 'Ice Bucket Challenge' passes $100 mn mark

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

FIXD tells car drivers via smartphone what is wrong

1 hour ago

A key source of anxiety while driving solo, when even a bothersome back-seat driver's comments would have made you listen: the "check engine" light is on but you do not feel, smell or see anything wrong. ...

Team pioneers strategy for creating new materials

2 hours ago

Making something new is never easy. Scientists constantly theorize about new materials, but when the material is manufactured it doesn't always work as expected. To create a new strategy for designing materials, ...

Shell files new plan to drill in Arctic

2 hours ago

Royal Dutch Shell has submitted a new plan for drilling in the Arctic offshore Alaska, more than one year after halting its program following several embarrassing mishaps.

Aging Africa

2 hours ago

In the September issue of GSA Today, Paul Bierman of the University of Vermont–Burlington and colleagues present a cosmogenic view of erosion, relief generation, and the age of faulting in southernmost Africa ...

Recommended for you

Cold cash just keeps washing in from ALS challenge

Aug 28, 2014

In the couple of hours it took an official from the ALS Association to return a reporter's call for comment, the group's ubiquitous "ice bucket challenge" had brought in a few million more dollars.

Medtronic spends $350M on another European deal

Aug 27, 2014

U.S. medical device maker Medtronic is building stronger ties to Europe, a couple months after announcing a $42.9 billion acquisition that involves moving its main executive offices across the Atlantic, where it can get a ...

Mind over matter for people with disabilities

Aug 26, 2014

People with serious physical disabilities are unable to do the everyday things that most of us take for granted despite having the will – and the brainpower – to do so. This is changing thanks to European ...

User comments : 0