Program Goals/Target Population
Too Good for Violence (TGFV) is a school-based violence prevention and character education program designed to improve student behavior and minimize aggression. TGFV is designed to help students in kindergarten through 8th grade learn the skills they need to get along peacefully with others. A high school version, called Too Good for Drugs and Violence-High School, is available and contains substance-abuse prevention components.
In both content and teaching methods, the program addresses students' positive attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors. It teaches skills sequentially and at each grade level provides developmentally appropriate curricula designed to address risk and protective factors.
Program Components and Key Personnel
The program consists of seven 30- to 60-minute age-appropriate lessons, for kindergarten through fifth grade, and nine 30- to 45-minute lessons, for sixth through eighth grade. The program is designed for lessons to be delivered once a week. In the high school curriculum, there are fourteen 60-minute lessons delivered over 14 consecutive weeks in one grade, which are supplemented by 12 booster or infusion lessons in other grades. Reviewing and practicing skills between and following lessons is strongly recommended.
The program’s interactive teaching methods encourage students to bond with prosocial peers and engage students by using games, role-playing, small-group activities, cooperative learning, and class discussions. The curriculum emphasizes developing interpersonal skills for conflict resolution and resistance skills to avoid substance use. TGFV teaches that each student has what it takes to solve conflicts peaceably and provides opportunities to practice peacemaking and antibullying skills. The program includes components to involve families and the entire school. The family component includes newsletters and an interactive homework assignment.
Trained teachers, counselors, or prevention specialists deliver the program in classrooms with 20 to 35 students.
The program’s components were developed by drawing on social learning theory, problem behavior theory, and social development theory. Social learning theory proposes that cognitive skills and resources can be directed to limit aggression and aggressive responses, since violence and aggression are socially learned and purposeful behaviors. TGFV incorporates social learning theory by addressing social influences and presenting the value of prosocial behaviors, as well as by modeling and rewarding prosocial skills. Problem behavior theory postulates that violence and other high-risk behaviors create a syndrome of purposeful behaviors and that efforts to change behavior need to concentrate on multiple behaviors (rather than just one high-risk behavior), personality, and the larger environment. Social development theory proposes that prosocial bonding, prosocial norms, and social and emotional skills promote positive development. Opportunities need to be offered for youths to develop these skills and have them reinforced. TGFV incorporates social development theory by building protective factors, including norms and bonding (Bacon 2001; Bacon 2003).
8 to 9
Studies showed that the Too Good for Drugs and Violence (TGFV) program had positive effects on risk and protective factors related to student violence in third grade and factors related to alcohol, tobacco, and drug use and violence in grades 9 through 12.
Intentions for Substance Use and Aggressive Behavior
Bacon (2001) found that, compared with students in the control group, treatment group participants indicated a 40 percent reduction in intentions to smoke (statistically nonsignificant), a 50 percent reduction in intentions to drink alcohol (statistically significant), and a 45 percent reduction in intentions to smoke marijuana (statistically nonsignificant).
Compared with students in the control group, treatment group participants indicated a 45 percent reduction in intentions to engage in aggressive behaviors. This difference was statistically significant.
Increase in Protective Factors
Compared with students in the control group, participants in the treatment group had significant improvements on eight of nine protective factors, including appropriate attitudes regarding drug use and aggressive or violent behavior; knowledge of peer norms for substance and violence use; peer group acceptance of substance or violence use; emotional competence/self-efficacy; goal-setting and decision-making skills; social and peer resistance skills; harmful effects of substance use; and parental disapproval of youth substance use.
Social Skills and Behaviors
Bacon (2003) found that, compared with control group students, treatment group students at the program’s end and the 20-week follow-up had statistically significant higher scores for emotional competency skills, social and conflict resolution skills, and communications skills based on self-report. The two groups did not differ on scores for interactions with other students. Based on teacher observation, treatment group students had statistically significant higher social skills and prosocial behaviors. The groups did not differ on socially inappropriate behaviors. These results were consistent across ethnic backgrounds, genders, and socioeconomic statuses.
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