Think First: Addressing Aggressive Behavior in Secondary Schools

Think First: Addressing Aggressive Behavior in Secondary Schools

Think First: Addressing Aggressive Behavior in Secondary Schools

Think First: Addressing Aggressive Behavior in Secondary Schools

Synopsis

This highly practical book presents a complete anger and aggression management training program for middle and high school students. The volume incorporates a newly revised version of the author's proven "Think First" manual, which includes step-by-step skills training guidelines and 20 reproducible handouts and forms. Also provided are a clear rationale for the program and thorough instructions for screening and assessing those students who could benefit most from participation. Showing how to integrate small-group cognitive-behavioral skills training into an effective schoolwide disciplinary framework, the book offers vital tools for promoting prosocial behavior and decreasing violence risks among all students. It is an essential resource for professionals who seek both a better understanding of adolescent aggression and nuts-and-bolts strategies for dealing with it.

Excerpt

Interpersonal aggression among students is an unfortunate fact of life in America's middle and high schools. According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, in the year 2001, 33% of students in grades 9 through 12 reported that they had been in physical fights in the previous 12 months, and 13% reported that they had fought on school property. Although male students were more likely to have been in fights, 24% of female students reported that they had been in physical fights in the previous year and that 7% of this fighting took place on school property (DeVoe et al., 2002). In the current era of standards-based education and federal mandates that require schools to ensure a safe learning environment for all students, schools are under increasing pressure to address this problem effectively.

Fighting and other forms of physical aggression in the secondary school setting arise from a complex interaction of numerous intrapersonal and environmental factors. A diverse assemblage of middle and high school adolescents is brought together in an often crowded, closed space for 7 hours per day, 5 days per week, and this makes the likelihood of aggressive confrontations almost inevitable. Individual student risk factors such as poor anger management skills, emotional–behavioral disabilities, impulsivity, academic disengagement, and favorable dispositions for aggression serve only to increase the potential volatility. In addition, in many communities students come to school from home and street environments in which aggression may be an adaptive survival necessity, trained and reinforced from early in life. In response, secondary-level administrators, teachers, and supportive services personnel struggle, often heroically, to provide discipline structures, counseling, and diverse educational opportunities to help create safe and orderly learning environments for all students. This book is designed to assist them in this critically important task.

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