LIFT Violence Out Of Schools – Linking the Interests of Families and Teachers

LIFT Violence Out Of Schools – Linking the Interests of Families and Teachers – Brief Article

Kelly McCarthy

Could schoolyard bullies be a thing of the past? The inventors of Linking the Interests of Families and Teachers (LIFT), a new violence-prevention program for children, say yes.

Developed at the Oregon Social Learning Center (OSLC) in Eugene, LIFT teaches children the social skills necessary for nonaggressive interaction. It targets all children, not just those who are aggressive, and is unique in that it also involves both parents and teachers. Michael Stoohmiller, Ph.D., developer of LIFT and a research scientist at OSLC, tested the program–which uses seminars on supervision and noncoercive disciplinary techniques–at 12 Oregon elementary schools on small groups of first- and fifth-graders. The students were taught social skills such as waiting quietly in line and joining a game politely, and were then observed practicing their new skills on the playground. “Good” students who followed LIFT’s guidelines were rewarded with armbands and toys, while “bad” students who played too aggressively had their armbands taken away or lost team points.

The findings, published recently in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, showed no changes among initially nonaggressive children, but a significant improvement in aggressive children’s behavior. Teaching nonaggressive play skills is important, Stoolmiller says, as aggressive play leads to physical confrontation more often, particularly with bigger kids. “Violence has increased in youth, and it’s a problem that needs to be addressed,” he said. “These problems can be dealt with early on, and programs like LIFT can help.”

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