Saturday, January 26, 2019

Teaching Kids How to Think Can Reduce Violent Crime and Increase Graduation Rates

What if you could get kids to stop reacting impulsively and get them to be able to stop and think before they act. Well, that’s what a program called Becoming a Man (BAM) aims to do. It uses Cognitive Behavior Therapy to train kids to stop and think by helping them recognize situations when thinking before acting is valuable. It’s being used in Chicago with 6,000 young men in seventh through 12th grades in more than 100 Chicago public schools. Instead of focusing on education or punitive measures to deter crime, they have found that stop and think is more powerful.

To achieve this goal, BAM uses mentorship and role-playing lessons in a group setting. This process of stop and think has resulted in a 50% reduction in violent crimes and a 20% increase in graduation rates for the students in the program. Chicago has even given $36 million to BAM and similar programs to expand the programs impact. The BAM folks are also analyzing the impact of a similar program on women called Working on Womanhood. So…with these crazy times politically where people react, maybe they need to expand the BAM program to also teach adults to stop and think.
(Reported Northwestern, Fall 2018)

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