Tag Archives: The Tanenbaum Center

Princeton University study: Students with influence over peers reduce school bullying

5 Jan

A Rotary Club in London has a statement about the Ripple Effect

Ripple Effect – Sending Waves of Goodness into the World

Like a drop of water falling into a pond, our every action ripples outward, affecting other lives in ways both obvious and unseen.

We touch the lives of those with whom we come into contact and, by extension, those with whom they come into contact.

When our actions spring from a spirit of kindness or compassion or generosity, we set into motion a “virtuous cycle” that radiates far beyond our ability to see, or perhaps even fully comprehend.

Just as a smile is infectious, so are more overt forms of service. Our objective — whether in something as formal as a highly-structured website development project or as casual as the spontaneous small kindnesses we share with strangers in hopes of brightening their day — is to send waves of positive change in the world, one act of service at a time.

Unfortunately, some children due to a variety of behaviors in their lives miss the message of the “Ripple Effect.”

Science Daily reported in Students with influence over peers reduce school bullying by 30 percent:

Curbing school bullying has been a focal point for educators, administrators, policymakers and parents, but the answer may not lie within rules set by adults, according to new research led by Princeton University. Instead, the solution might actually be to have the students themselves, particularly those most connected to their peers, promote conflict resolution in school.

A team of researchers from Princeton, Rutgers University and Yale University engaged groups of influential students in 56 New Jersey middle schools to spread messages about the dangers of bullying and school conflict. Using messaging platforms such as Instagram, print posters and colorful wristbands, the selected students were encouraged to discuss in their own voices positive ways to handle conflict, using terms with which their peers could identify.

The research team wanted to test whether certain students, who they label “social referents” or social influencers, have an outsized influence over school climate or the social norms and behavioral patterns in their schools. Social referents are not necessarily the most popular kids school-wide, but rather students who demonstrate influence within their smaller peer group. All activities were designed to test whether, by making their anti-conflict stance well known, these social influencers could shape their peers’ behaviors and social norms.

In the course of a year, the middle schools that employed social referents saw a 30 percent reduction in student conflict reports, the researchers report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). Critically, the greatest drop in conflict was observed among the teams with the highest proportion of social influencers, supporting the researchers’ hypothesis that these students do exert an outsized influence over school climate….

Peers influencing peers is a widely accepted concept. But the question of whether certain, more influential peers have more influence on social norms governing a group is what spurred Paluck and her colleagues to design their test program, the Roots program.

This program is designed to engage the school’s most influential students, only some of whom fit the typical profile of a student leader or a popular student, to spread anti-conflict messages. Using a survey measurement known as social network mapping, the researchers are able to identify students with the most connections to other students, both in person and online. These students serve as the “roots” to influence perceptions and social norms in schools.

“The real innovation here is using student social networks to choose the peers … which can lead to a less unorthodox group of student leaders,” Paluck said. “When adults choose student leaders, they typically pick the ‘good’ kids. But the leaders we find through social network mapping are influential among students and are not all the ones who would be selected by adults. Some of the students we find are right smack in the center of student conflicts. But the point is, these are the students whose behavior gets noticed more….” http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/01/160104163206.htm

Citation:

Students with influence over peers reduce school bullying by 30 percent

Date: January 4, 2016

Source: Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs

Summary:
Curbing school bullying has been a focal point for educators, administrators, policymakers and parents, but the answer may not lie within rules set by adults, according to new research. Instead, the solution might actually be to have the students themselves, particularly those most connected to their peers, promote conflict resolution in school.

Journal Reference:
1. Elizabeth Levy Paluck, Hana Shepherd, Peter M. Aronow. Changing climates of conflict: A social network experiment in 56 schools. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2016; 201514483 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1514483113

Here is the news story from Princeton:

Students with influence over peers reduce school bullying by 30 percent

Posted January 4, 2016; 03:30 p.m.
by B. Rose Huber, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs

Curbing school bullying has been a focal point for educators, administrators, policymakers and parents, but the answer may not lie within rules set by adults, according to new research led by Princeton University researchers. Instead, the solution might actually be to have the students themselves, particularly those most connected to their peers, promote conflict resolution in school.

A team of researchers from Princeton, Rutgers University and Yale University engaged groups of influential students in 56 New Jersey middle schools to spread messages about the dangers of bullying and school conflict. Using messaging platforms such as Instagram, print posters and colorful wristbands, the selected students were encouraged to discuss in their own voices positive ways to handle conflict, using terms with which their peers could identify.

The research team wanted to test whether certain students, who they label “social referents” or social influencers, have an outsized influence over school climate or the social norms and behavioral patterns in their schools. Social referents are not necessarily the most popular kids school-wide, but rather students who demonstrate influence within their smaller peer group. All activities were designed to test whether, by making their anti-conflict stance well known, these social influencers could shape their peers’ behaviors and social norms.

In the course of a year, the middle schools that employed social referents saw a 30 percent reduction in student conflict reports, the researchers report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). Critically, the greatest drop in conflict was observed among the teams with the highest proportion of social influencers, supporting the researchers’ hypothesis that these students do exert an outsized influence over school climate.

“We designed our own curriculum because current programs address problems as defined by adults, and they aren’t necessarily fitted to each individual school environment,” said lead author Elizabeth Levy Paluck, associate professor of psychology and public affairs at Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. “We think the best way to change social norms is to have these student influencers speak in their own voices. Encouraging their own messages to bubble up from the bottom using a grassroots approach can be very powerful.”

Peers influencing peers is a widely accepted concept. But the question of whether certain, more influential peers have more influence on social norms governing a group is what spurred Paluck and her colleagues to design their test program, the Roots program.

This program is designed to engage the school’s most influential students, only some of whom fit the typical profile of a student leader or a popular student, to spread anti-conflict messages. Using a survey measurement known as social network mapping, the researchers are able to identify students with the most connections to other students, both in person and online. These students serve as the “roots” to influence perceptions and social norms in schools.

“The real innovation here is using student social networks to choose the peers … which can lead to a less unorthodox group of student leaders,” Paluck said. “When adults choose student leaders, they typically pick the ‘good’ kids. But the leaders we find through social network mapping are influential among students and are not all the ones who would be selected by adults. Some of the students we find are right smack in the center of student conflicts. But the point is, these are the students whose behavior gets noticed more.”

During the 2012-13 school year, Paluck and study co-authors Hana Shepherd from Rutgers University and Peter Aronow from Yale University were able to implement the study into middle schools across New Jersey. The timing was paramount. Just a year prior, Governor Chris Christie signed a bill issuing a law that required all teachers to have anti-bullying training. The bill was passed without funding.

This gave Paluck, Shepherd and Aronow a chance to offer their program as a training solution. With encouragement from the State Department of Education, they implemented the program in volunteer middle schools, as they were seeing higher rates of student conflict than high schools.
For the purposes of the experiment, half of the middle schools were randomly assigned to receive the intervention, which was training through the Roots program. The schools not selected were given the opportunity to receive free training on how to run the program at the end of the school year.

To pinpoint the most influential students, the researchers distributed a survey to the 24,191 students enrolled at all schools. The survey asked them to nominate the top 10 students at their school who they chose to spend time with, either in or outside of school, or face to face or online. Using these data, the researchers then mapped each school’s social networks.

A representative sample of 22 to 30 students in the intervention schools was invited to participate in the Roots program. Only the researchers knew which students within each group were expected to be the top influencers, based on the fact that they were in the top 10 percent of students at their school nominated by their peers in the survey.

This is a sample exercise that students completed through the Roots program. By completing the exercise, students are able to prepare for potential student conflicts and prepare their reactions. (Image courtesy of Elizabeth Levy Paluck, Princeton University)

These students had some important shared traits, the researchers found. Many had an older sibling, were in dating relationships and received compliments from peers on the house in which they lived.

“This cluster of characteristics suggests that these students are hooked into more mature social patterns in their lives and at schools,” Paluck said. “Earlier dating is one indicator, and an older sibling suggests they have more exposure to older students with a more mature vocabulary, perhaps making them savvier communicators. Receiving compliments on their house was a way for us to evaluate their socioeconomic background.”

Once the sample of students was selected, they were invited, but not required, to attend Roots training sessions, held during convenient school hours. More than half showed up regularly. The researchers provided students with templates for campaign materials, both print and online, which the students were able to customize. They also trained students in dealing with student conflict.

“We wanted to distinguish ourselves from other school campaigns by letting students lead the messaging efforts. We even wanted the aesthetics of the program to look different,” Paluck said. “So we put a lot of value into very clean sharp designs and bright colors. We gave them the templates to work with, and they controlled the messaging.”

Throughout the year, the students launched several messaging campaigns. One entailed using hashtags such as “#iRespect” on Instagram, which represented tolerance and conflict resolution. Students printed the hashtags on bright colored paper, which they signed and hung around school, highlighting which students were involved in the effort.

In addition to creating signs, students wore colorful wristbands to spread the message. This photo was taken on Roots Day, a one-day festival in which students promoted Roots through print posters, other multicolored and Roots-themed wristbands, and even the T-shirts they wore. (Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Levy Paluck, Princeton University)

Another campaign used brightly colored rubber wristbands, which remain very popular among adolescents, Paluck said. These orange wristbands included the Roots program logo and came with a tag that said, “A Roots student caught you doing something great.” Each Roots student received 20 wristbands and when the student saw a peer intervening in a conflict or helping another student, he or she gave them a wristband.

Among the most popular campaigns was Roots Day, a one-day festival in which students promoted Roots through posters, other multicolored and Roots-themed wristbands, and even the T-shirts they wore. There were giveaways, and students asked others to sign a petition to do something nice for someone at school.

“Roots Day made the Roots program and the Roots students enormously salient to all of the other students at each school,” Paluck said. “Students loved the giveaways and were clamoring to sign the petition. It brought everyone in the school together and seemed to unify their attention and energies in a big way.”

After this yearlong effort, the authors found stark statistical differences between the schools that had participated versus those that hadn’t. On average, schools participating in the program saw a 30 percent reduction in disciplinary reports. Because each conflict can take up to an hour to resolve, this reduction is equivalent to hundreds of saved hours.

“Our program shows that you don’t need to use a blanket treatment to reduce bullying,” Paluck said. “You can target specific people in a savvy way in order to spread the message. These people — the social referents you should target — get noticed more by their peers. Their behavior serves as a signal to what is normal and desirable in the community. And there are many ways to figure out who those people are and work with them to inspire positive change.”

For more information about the Roots program or to implement it into your school, visit the Roots website.

The paper, “Changing climates of conflict: A social network experiment in 56 schools,” was published in PNAS Early Edition on Jan. 4. Funding for this project came from the WT Grant Foundation Scholars Program, the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, Princeton Educational Research Section, Russell Sage Foundation, the National Science Foundation and the Spencer Foundation. None of the authors are affiliated with the New Jersey school system or received compensation for this research.

The following served as intervention designers and administrators: Laura Spence-Ash, David Mackenzie, Ariel Domlyn, Jennifer Dannals and Allison Bland.

The experiment was registered at the Experiments in Governance and Politics site prior to the analysis of outcome data. The research was approved by the Princeton Institutional Review Board (Case No. 4941). http://www.princeton.edu/main/news/archive/S45/19/10C56/index.xml?section=topstories

The Tanenbaum Center which honors the work of the late Rabbi Marc Tanenbaum has a really good definition of the “Golden Rule” https://www.tanenbaum.org/resources/golden-rule which is stated in an interview with Joyce Dubensky entitled, The Golden Rule Around the World At the core of all bullying is a failure to recognize another’s humanity and a basic lack of respect for life. At the core of the demand for personal expression and failure to tolerate opinions which are not like one’s own is a self-centeredness which can destroy the very society it claims to want to protect.

Resources:

Helping Kids Deal With Bullies

http://kidshealth.org/parent/emotions/behavior/bullies.html

Teachers Who Bully
http://www.webmd.com/parenting/features/teachers-who-bully

Is Your Child Being Bullied? 9 Steps You Can Take as a Parent http://www.empoweringparents.com/Is-Your-Child-Being-Bullied.php#ixzz2PqGTZNdl

Related:

Dr. Wilda Reviews: children’s book: ‘Bully Bean’
https://drwilda.com/2013/08/18/dr-wilda-reviews-childrens-book-bully-bean/

Kids need to tell teachers and schools when they are bullied https://drwilda.com/2013/04/08/kids-need-to-tell-teachers-and-schools-when-they-are-bullied/

Massachusetts Aggression Center study: Cyberbullying and elementary school children

https://drwilda.com/2013/07/30/massachusetts-aggression-center-study-cuberbullying-and-elementary-school-children/

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©
http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews ©
http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

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Annual freshman college survey: I’m so vain I thought the world revolved around me

6 Jan

Here’s today’s COMMENT FROM AN OLD FART: For the past several years, the Higher Education Research Institute has published the Annual Freshman Survey:

Each year, hundreds of two-year colleges, four-year colleges and universities administer the CIRP Freshman Survey (TFS) to hundreds of thousands of entering students during orientation or registration.

The survey covers a wide range of student characteristics: parental income and education, ethnicity, and other demographic items; financial aid; secondary school achievement and activities; educational and career plans; and values, attitudes, beliefs, and self-concept.

Published annually in “The American Freshman,” the results from these surveys continue to provide a comprehensive portrait of the changing character of entering students and American society at large. http://www.heri.ucla.edu/cirpoverview.php

The Daily Mail has a fascinating article about the results of this survey.

In How college students think they are more special than EVER: Study reveals rocketing sense of entitlement on U.S. campuses, the Daily Mail reports:

Books aside, if you asked a college freshman today who the Greatest Generation is, they might respond by pointing in a mirror.

Young people’s unprecedented level of self-infatuation was revealed in a new analysis of the American Freshman Survey, which has been asking students to rate themselves compared to their peers since 1966.

Roughly 9 million young people have taken the survey over the last 47 years.

Psychologist Jean Twenge and her colleagues compiled the data and found that over the last four decades there’s been a dramatic rise in the number of students who describe themselves as being ‘above average’ in the areas of academic ability, drive to achieve, mathematical ability, and self-confidence.

But in appraising the traits that are considered less individualistic – co-operativeness, understanding others, and spirituality – the numbers either stayed at slightly decreased over the same period.

Researchers also found a disconnect between the student’s opinions of themselves and actual ability.

While students are much more likely to call themselves gifted in writing abilities, objective test scores actually show that their writing abilities are far less than those of their 1960s counterparts.

Also on the decline is the amount of time spent studying, with little more than a third of students saying they study for six or more hours a week compared to almost half of all students claiming the same in the late 1980s.

Though they may work less, the number that said they had a drive to succeed rose sharply.

These young egotists can grow up to be depressed adults.

A 2006 study found that students suffer from ‘ambition inflation’ as their increased ambitions accompany increasingly unrealistic expectations.

‘Since the 1960s and 1970s, when those expectations started to grow, there’s been an increase in anxiety and depression,’ Twenge said. ‘There’s going to be a lot more people who don’t reach their goals.’

Twenge is the author of a separate study showing a 30 per cent increase towards narcissism in students since 1979.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2257715/Study-shows-college-students-think-theyre-special–read-write-barely-study.html#ixzz2HDwJlJIe

Karyl McBride, Ph.D. describes narcissism in a Psychology Today article.

In The Legacy of Distorted Love: Recognizing, understanding and overcoming the debilitating impact of maternal narcissism, McBride describes the traits of narcissists.

The following is adapted from the nine narcissistic traits listed in the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.)

Am I Narcissistically Impaired?

Do I exaggerate my accomplishments and say I have done things I have not done? Do I act more important than others?

Am I unrealistic about my thoughts and desires regarding love, beauty, success, and intelligence? Do I seek power in these things?

Do I believe that I am so special and unique that only the best institutions and the highest academic professionals could possibly understand me?

Do I need to be admired all the time to the point of excess?

Do I have a sense of entitlement and expect to be treated differently and with more status than others?

Do I exploit others to get what I want or need?

Do I lack empathy and therefore never see what others are feeling or needing? Can I put myself in other people’s shoes? Can I show empathy?

Am I jealous and competitive with others or unreasonably, without logic, think that others are jealous of me?

Am I a haughty person who acts arrogant and “better than” with my friends, colleagues, and family?

And I add one more to this list:

Am I capable of authentic love, meaning I can give unconditional love to my children?

One interesting factor is this: If you are taking this test, worrying about your own parenting and asking accountability questions…you are not likely a narcissist! Breathe deeply again! Go to Yoga, pass Go, Collect a bunch of hugs!

See, Narcissistic Personality Quiz http://psychcentral.com/quizzes/narcissistic.htm

Moi wrote about narcissistic children in You call your kid prince or princess, society calls them ‘brat’:

Here is today’s COMMENT FROM AN OLD FART: Urban Dictionary defines brat:

1.A really annoying person.
2.A person that is spoiled rotten.
3.An annoying child that wants something that no one will get for him/her. http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=brat

Most folks have had the experience of shopping in a store like Target and observing a child acting out or screaming at the top of his or her lungs. Another chance for observation of family interaction is dining out at a restaurant when children may act out. Without knowing the history, it is difficult to assess the root cause. Still, an observation of how the parent(s) deal with the tantrum is instructive about who is in control and where the power resides in a family. It appears that in many families the parents are reluctant to be parents and to teach their children appropriate behavior, boundaries, and manners….

The basis of manners and boundaries is simply the “Golden Rule.”

The Tanenbaum Center which honors the work of the late Rabbi Marc Tanenbaum has a really good definition of the “Golden Rule” which is stated in an interview with Joyce Dubensky entitled, The Golden Rule Around the World

At its simplest, it’s really just “being kind.” Caring about other people. That means putting that kindness into action and treating people with compassion. It means trying to understand people’s beliefs and needs. It means not harming others and actively working to eliminate harm….
What concrete steps can people take to start to put the Rule into practice?

Practically, there are steps that institutions and individuals can take to make a difference.

Institutionally, there are anti-discrimination and accommodation policies you can put into place to ensure that employees aren’t unduly thwarted in their ability to practice their religions. Educational institutions can make sure that teachers are properly trained to create inclusive, multi-cultural and multi-religious classrooms. And hospitals can work proactively with patients who may not want treatment that conflicts with their religion.

There are also things we can all do on the individual level. We can notice people who are not from our own group – people who have different practices or beliefs – and be interested in them. We can be curious about who they are and what their lives are like, without applying stereotypes. We can ask questions with curiosity and respect and truly listen to and digest the answers. And we can be willing to share about ourselves, our own beliefs and our own experiences.

Finally, we can work together, whether in workplaces, schools, community groups or governments to ensure that people from diverse backgrounds and viewpoints are
involved in decision-making. By making all voices heard – and really listening to each of those voices – we can solve many of the problems we face together.

And when we do that, we’ll get to the gold.

Some form of the “Golden Rule” is found in most religious traditions.

Children are not mature and adults can not expect the same level of maturity that most adults are presumed to have.Parents are not their child’s friend and have to provide guidance, direction, and boundaries. http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/2012/10/19/you-call-your-kid-prince-or-princess-society-calls-them-brat/

In the final analysis, for many children raised by narcissistic parents , it is not about you or US, but it is about ME. You will harvest what you plant.

Where information leads to Hope. ©                 Dr. Wilda.com

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Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©                         http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews ©                                                http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

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