Evidence Based Prevention Strategies
1. Engaging students in community prevention efforts
READ MORE on connecting to the community.
2. Promoting pro-social norms
Teachers can provide positive role models and reinforce pro-social behavior (Biglan et. al., 2004). School administrators can provide clear and enforced policies that promote lower levels of problem behavior (e.g. bullying) by students.
3. Correcting misperceptions of norms
Research shows that students generally exaggerate the use of drugs by peers, and, in their drinking and drug using behavior conform to the overestimated levels (Perkins and Wechsler, 1996). Affected by the media, students also exaggerate the extent of violence in the society. Because behavior of young people is significantly affected by the desire to fit the expectations of their age group (Cosaro and Elder, 1990), research indicates that correcting the misperceived (exaggerated) norm reduces the problem behavior.
4.Increasing perceptions of personal risk
Young people often believe that harm can only come to others. As they study the risks from use of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs, violence, or other at-risk behavior research indicates that students become more aware of their personal risk and many will begin to alter their behavior (Bachman, Johnston and O’Malley, 1998).
5. Developing or enhancing life skills
Students who have weak decision making skills and have difficulty standing up to peers are more likely to engage in at risk behaviors.
Selecting an Appropriate Strategy for Your Students
While all five evidence based prevention strategies can be effectively adapted for use with all populations, classroom diversity should be taken into account in selecting strategies that may be especially appropriate. For example:
Three Levels of Influence on Youth Behavior – a theoretical framework
These five prevention strategies respond to three levels of influence on problems of children and adolescents (Bronfenbrenner, 1979; Flay and Petraitis, 1994). The first level of influence is the wider Community. There are many ways in which the wider community helps produce the problem behavior of young people. For example:
Building Civic Engagement and Self-Care Skills
Study of life issues such as immigration and the coronavirus provide the opportunity for teachers to encourage student civic engagement and self-care. Three of the evidence-based strategies we have discussed can be employed to develop civic engagement and self-care skills: 1) Promoting pro-social norms; 2) Increasing perceptions of personal risk, and, 3) Developing or enhancing life skills.
Free 5 CPDU online workshop through Northeastern Illinois University’s College of Education
Integrate pressing life issues into classes across the curriculum to effectively engage students in learning and support social emotional growth
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