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Model Programs Guide Literature Review: School/Classroom Environment

NCJ Number
Date Published
4 pages
Based on a literature review, this paper discusses the theoretical foundation for managing the school/classroom environment in ways that prevent students' delinquent and problem behaviors; related classroom organization, management, and instructional activities; and school organization interventions.
Delinquency prevention programs designed to improve the school or classroom environment are based in the social organization theory of delinquency, which argues that delinquent behaviors tend to emerge when the social organization within which a youth functions fails to promote and guide the development of positive behavioral norms. Prevention programs designed to alter the school and classroom environment to promote students' positive behaviors include interventions to change the decisionmaking processes or authority structure; redefine behavioral norms and signal appropriate behavior through rules that set norms for behavior; provide greater flexibility in instruction; implement the use of rewards and punishments; and reorganize classes or grades to create smaller units. The latter action facilitates improved behavioral management by teachers and more positive interactions among students. Effective school organization interventions use a comprehensive and systematic approach to juvenile delinquency prevention by changing or improving how schools operate. School organization approaches may involve a wide variety of interventions, including replacing ineffective school administrators, reorganizing teachers, and engaging parents in the planning and implementation of school policies and programs. Research indicates that changing the school environment to create a more positive climate - where nurturing, inclusiveness, and a feeling of community occur - is associated with a reduction in the levels of violent behavior in the school. This paper suggests particular ways in which classroom organization, management, and instructional activities can positively influence students' abilities, attitudes, and behaviors. 10 references

Date Published: January 1, 2000