Promoting prosocial pupil behaviour: 2-secondary school intervention and pupil effects

T Mooij
British Journal of Educational Psychology 1999, 69 ( Pt 4): 479-504

BACKGROUND: In an earlier article (Mooij, 1999c) a theoretical multilevel model to promote prosocial pupil behaviour by stimulating specific educational conditions was developed.

AIMS: To carry out school interventions to check empirically whether pupil level effects occur because of educational changes at the classroom and school level.

SAMPLES: Seven secondary schools with relatively high degrees of pupil aggression were selected. Four schools took part as intervention schools, three schools served as control schools. In 1995 (pretest) and 1997 (post-test) pupils and form teachers of the first and third school years participated by completing questionnaires. Within the pupil cohorts, a longitudinal group of 352 pupils was included.

METHODS: Pretest questionnaires in 1995 were followed by intervention in the intervention schools. Teachers collaborated with staff and researchers to increase pupils' participation and responsibility in specifying and controlling behavioural and didactic rules, related to didactic differentiation during lessons. The validity of the intervention implementation was checked using qualitative information and quantitative data from both pre- and post-test. Longitudinal intervention effects were tested by applying two-level multiple regression analyses.

RESULTS: After controlling for pretest and covariables in school year 1, school intervention effects were found in school year 3 with the prediction of being a perpetrator of aggressive behaviour at school, aggressive behaviour outside school, and criminal behaviour. Some small effects were found with respect to victim behaviour.

CONCLUSIONS: Social-pedagogical and didactic class and school variables, but also home variables and support by peers without problematic behaviour, could be integrated more systematically to promote prosocial development of a pupil's behaviour from the beginning in school.

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