Compared to Step Two, this step is quite easy, but just as important. Many students believe that their actions are unimportant and do not affect others. They believe that only adults can make decisions that mean anything or have any importance. This step becomes an eye-opening experience for most students. They literally have not put the two together their actions produce results that affect them and others.
Students tend to view the world in the narrow scope of their own life. Although this is quite natural under ten years of age, it is a skill and understanding that is crucial for their development and self esteem. One Arizona principal noted how surprised she was with the students' increase in confidence and positive feeling about themselves after she taught them how to problem-solve. She further added that some of her former trouble-makers began teaching problem solving to their younger brothers and sisters. Because students have little experience with noticing results from their actions, this step requires teaching. The principal or teacher can offer much insight into how the results affect the teacher, other students, the students themselves, and any others. This should not be to criticize, but to help the student learn. A negative action that produces a bad result for others also proves that a positive action can produce a good result for others.
It is best to not dwell on the negative side, but focus on the process and how much power one has to change the world around them for the positive. Most students choose the positive first and only resort to negative actions after little or no success. This is usually due to lack of social knowledge and skill. Once social learning occurs and positive results are experienced, even long term behavior-problem students begin to change their attitudes and actions. Most of them care very much about their friends and delight in making a better world for them.
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