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Enhancing Children's Prosocial Behavior in the Classroom

NCJ Number
American Educational Research Journal Volume: 24 Issue: 4 Dated: 1988 Pages: 527-54
Date Published
28 pages

This report lays out a study examining the impacts of a program designed to enhance elementary-school children’s pro-social development; it provides the research methodology, outcomes, and a discussion of the implications of the results.


The authors of this paper report on a program designed to enhance children’s pro-social development was conducted in three suburban elementary schools for five consecutive years, focusing primarily on a single cohort of children as it moved from kindergarten through fourth grade. Repeated observations were conducted each year to assess program implementation and student interpersonal behavior in classrooms in the three “program” schools and in three “comparison” schools. Analyses of these observational data revealed significantly higher scores in the program than the comparison classrooms on each of five indices of program-relevant activities and practices: Cooperative Activities, Developmental Discipline, Activities Promoting Social Understanding, Highlighting Prosocial Values, and Helping Activities. Further analyses indicated that students in program classrooms scored significantly higher on two indices of interpersonal behavior: Supportive and Friendly Behavior and Spontaneous Prosocial Behavior. Corroborative data from a second, two-year cohort in the same schools is also presented. The authors discuss implications of these findings for educational practices that emphasize supportive teacher-student relationships and the provision of opportunities for student decision-making, autonomy, and collaborative interaction. Publisher Abstract Provided

Date Published: January 1, 1988