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Professor Kris Bosworth, Ph.D. | Teaching Alternatives to Violence

WHAT IS SMART TEAM?


SMART Team is a multimedia software program designed for universal violence prevention with students in grades five through nine. While not a substance abuse prevention program per se, the SMART Team program addresses many of the same risk and protective factors that affect substance abuse. The program is easy to operate, and students can access each of the eight modules independently for skill-building practice, information, or to resolve conflicts. This independence eliminates the need for trained adult implementers. The content of SMART Team is aligned with commonly used conflict-mediation curriculums, and integrates well with other violence prevention strategies. Please visit the Smart Team website at http://www.lmsite.com for more information.

WHO CAN BENEFIT?


All middle school students can benefit through increased knowledge of and opportunities to practice strategies that de-escalate conflicts. During the evaluation study, pairs of students who were in disputes were assigned to use the conflict-resolution module of the SMART Team program. Feedback from these students revealed that they preferred the software program over live mediation, in part because they were empowered to solve their own problems without third-party intervention.

ESSENTIAL COMPONENTS


The one essential component of this program is the SMART Team software package (and the hardware to run it; see below).

HOW THE PROGRAM WORKS


The SMART Team software is simple enough for students to use independently, a feature that is appealing to many teenagers. Computer-based instruction provides a number of benefits:

  • Whereas teacher instruction is subject to variability across both instructors and presentations, the content of a software program is aboslutely consistent from one presentation to the next.
  • Students' experiences are not dependent on the skills or experiences of the person who directs them to the software.
  • The branching capabilities permit some level of individualization of content. Students can select the topic areas that have the most relevance to them, and the feedback they receive is dependent on the choices they make.
  • The user of a software program can determine the pace, timing, and level of detail of instruction through choices of which modules to access and how long to spend on them.
  • The computer is a "tireless teacher," allowing users to revisit the same content as many times as they wish.
  • Software provides a confidential forum for students to access information or resolve disputes without revealing their personal situations to adult instructors or peer mediators

WHAT YOU CAN ACHIEVE


SMART Team is designed to achieve the following outcomes:

  • Increase students' repertoire of nonviolent conflict resolution strategies;
  • Increase students' knowledge about what triggers their anger;
  • Increase students' confidence in their ability to use nonviolent strategies;
  • Increase students' intentions to use nonviolent strategies in the future;
  • Decrease incidents of violent behavior; and
  • Increase acts of prosocial behavior.