Preventing Aggression in Schools Everyday (PRAISE) is a 20 session classroom-based problem-solving and bullying prevention program designed for 3rd to 5th grade students. PRAISE was designed to be implemented in the classroom setting for all students to reduce aggressive behavior. It is a universal adaptation of the CHOP-developed Friend to Friend program, which specifically targets relationally aggressive 3rd to 5th grade girls in small pull-out groups.
Several steps were taken to appropriately modify F2F for the classroom-wide PRAISE program, including:
- Conducting an open pilot trial of the PRAISE program
- Conducting focus groups with ongoing participants from the initial open pilot trial
- Integrating feedback from a diverse group of key stakeholders
PRAISE is a classroom-based prevention program for 3rd to 5th grade students that aims to:
- Improve children’s friendship skills and problem-solving abilities
- Decrease children’s levels of aggressive behavior, including relational (gossiping, rumors, social exclusion), physical (hitting, pushing), and cyber (using electronic means) aggression
- Support a productive and positive classroom teaching environment
Over 10 weeks and 20 sessions, the program teaches students to identify feelings, recognize signs of physiological arousal that can lead to aggressive behavior, use strategies to stay calm, interpret others’ intentions accurately, develop stronger empathy and perspective-taking skills, and better understand steps one can take to be a positive bystander.
PRAISE uses detective analogies to teach social cognitive strategies for paying better attention to one’s own arousal signs, others’ behavior, and the social environment. These strategies are depicted and practiced through teaching modalities such as culturally-specific cartoons, videotapes, and role plays.
Examples of detective strategies as depicted through cartoons. At left: CIA – A strategy used to encourage youth to stay calm instead of quickly reacting; At right: FBI – A strategy employed to notice others’ Face and Body, and Information in the environment, to determine intent.
With support from Pew Charitable Trusts, PRAISE is being conducted with 800 3rd to 5th grade youth and 26 teachers in three urban schools within West/Southwest Philadelphia from 2016-2019.
PRAISE is designed to prevent aggressive behavior among 3rd to 5th grade students within the urban school context. PRAISE and F2F were developed in partnership with urban African-American girls and their teachers, parents, and community members to be scientifically grounded, developmentally appropriate, and culturally relatable for urban African-American elementary school students.
An initial trial of PRAISE across 10 3rd and 4th grade classrooms within one large elementary school within the School District of Philadelphia was conducted with 227 participating students split nearly evenly among the intervention and the control group. Of the 21 relationally aggressive girls who were identified, 13 were in the intervention classrooms and 8 were in control classrooms. Among boys, 39 were identified as aggressive, with 21 in the intervention classrooms and 18 in control classrooms.
Following the 10 week intervention, relationally aggressive girls whose classes were randomized to PRAISE exhibited no increase in problematic aggressive behaviors over the course of the intervention, and neither did all girls who received PRAISE. Whereas girls in control classrooms experienced a large worsening of relational and overt aggressive behavior.
During Years 1 and 2 of the work funded by Pew, PRAISE is being conducted by two CHOP team members partnered with the classroom teacher. Sustainability activities will begin in Year 3, including the CHOP team training and coaching identified school staff in their independent provision of PRAISE. This will help ensure that PRAISE strategies are generalizable and sustainable, thereby helping to build the long-term capacity of schools to address issues of aggression and bullying.
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- Leff SS, Waasdorp TE, Paskewich BS, Gullan RL, Jawad AF, MacEvoy JP, Feinberg BE, Power TJ. The Preventing Relational Aggression in Schools Everyday Program: A preliminary evaluation of acceptability and impact. School Psychology Review, 2010. 39(4):569-587.