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¡ Why is kindness important to me?

¡ I have had numerous positive impacts in my life with wonderful teachers, friend
and family..
¡ There were kids in my school who weren’t as lucky as me and had a lot of
negative impacts in their life.
¡ Kindness to me is built over time, with each person we meet there is an impact.
This impact can be positive or negative. Teachers, friends, family and
classmates can really impact how our life will go.
¡ I want every person in this world to feel like way, that is how I decided to study
kindness and bullying and how to make positive impacts for students.

¡ As I began my research, I broke my literature

review into 3 different sections:
¡ Mean Behavior & Bullying
¡ Diversity Acceptance
¡ Kindness

¡ Bullying is unwanted exchanges between two people that occurs more often than once or can
occur more often than once. Sometimes, students may not necessarily be at the level of
bullying but they are showing mean behavior.
¡ Bosacki, Harwood and Sumaway (2012) state, “Teasing is often subsumed under the direct
verbal aggression category, which is described as hurtful teasing, name calling and the assigning
of unkind nicknames” (p. 473).
¡ Bosacki et al. (2012) continue by saying, “Thus, whether or not a comment or ‘tease’ was
intended to be ‘funny’ by the teaser, the emotional response of the recipient appears
paramount in determining how that tease will be experienced (i.e., either playful or hurtful)” (p.
¡ Cyberbullying through apps and online is a new and upcoming problem that many students are
dealing with. It can be linked to teasing over these apps or turn into a more serious bullying
problem that we will look at more closely.
¡ Fluck (2017) states, “Most common forms of bullying are (in order of frequency) harassing, ridiculing,
beating, threatening, spreading rumors, and exclusion from common activities” (p. 568).
¡ Reasons for bullying include:
¡ Power – Fluck (2017) states, “Boys as well as girls use violence to maintain or improve their position in
the “pecking order” of the class” (p. 571).
¡ Revenge - Fluck (2017) describes revenge bullying by stating, “Children and adolescents as well as adults
can react angry and aggressive when being threatened and attacked, especially when they feel the
attack was unjustified” (p. 571).
¡ Sadism - Fluck (2017) describes this by saying, “When it comes to bullying, the traits that increase the
chance of becoming a schoolyard victim seem to be rather psychological ones (e.g., low self-esteem,
shyness, introversion) than variables such as ethnicity, social status, outer appearance, sexual
orientation, religious affiliation, and other obvious traits that distinguish the individual from the majority”
(p. 572).

¡ Malette (2017) states, “Bullying behaviour at any point in an individual’s childhood

or adolescence is linked to higher levels of psychiatric disorders, such as
depression, anxiety, antisocial personality disorder, substance use, and suicidal
tendencies” (p. 3).
¡ Overall, bullying and mean behavior can definitely cause a negative impact in a
students life. This can led to very sad circumstances for students, their friends
and families. It is important to teach students of these negative affects in
order for them to realize how serious it is.

¡ As stated previously, one of the reasons people are targeted by a bully would be because they
look or act differently.
¡ Katz and Porath (2011) state, “Students do not learn alone, but rather, in diverse communities,
interacting with their teachers, in the company of their peers, and bringing with them the values
and teachings of their families” (p. 29).
¡ Connolly and Hosken (2006) suggest, “There now exists a substantial body of evidence indicating
that children by the age of three are capable of recognizing physical and cultural differences
and developing negative attitudes on the basis of these” (p. 107).
¡ Kemple, Lee and Harris (2016) state, “It has been argued persuasively that if young children are
not encouraged to be aware, and are denied opportunities to begin constructing and questioning
their initial understandings about race, it is likely that they will develop the rudimentary attitudes
of racism” (p. 99).

¡ Multicultural teaching and global citizenship is a way to teach students about

being a global citizen and accepting people from various backgrounds.
¡ Tichnor-Wagner, Parkhouse, Glazier and Cain (2016) state, “Dispositions include
valuing multiple perspectives and a commitment to equity worldwide; knowledge
includes understanding of global conditions and current events, the
interconnectedness of the world and an experiential understanding of multiple
cultures; and finally, skills include a teacher’s ability to communicate in multiple
languages, to create a classroom environment that values diversity and global
engagement, and to facilitate intercultural conversations” (pp. 5-6).
¡ Hall (2008) states, “The messages that teachers promote through what we
choose to read aloud should convey our respect and acknowledgment of diverse
cultures” (p. 81).
¡ Binfet and Passmore (2017) inquired to what kindness means and report, “In their definitions of kindness,
teachers described kindness as caring for others, showing empathy, being respectful, helping, and
encouraging” (p. 37).
¡ Binfet, Gadermann, and Schonert-Reichl (2016) state, “School personnel who make school relationships a
priority and who actively work toward creating a positive institutional environment are inclined to foster
skills in students that help ensure social competence” (p. 123).
¡ They conducted a research project where two groups of preschool students were used. One was the
control group whereas the other received a 12 week kindness intervention program. The goals of the
program were aimed at mindfulness practice, empathy, sharing, and overall general kindness practices
(Flook et al., 2014).
¡ The results favored the group of students who received the kindness curriculum. The authors state,
“Between-groups analyses indicated that students who participated in the Kindness Curriculum (KC)
training showed larger gains in teacher-reported social competence as compared to the control group. In
addition, the control group acted more selfishly (sharing fewer resources with others) over time as
compared to the KC group” (p. 49).

¡ Kindness needs to be modeled in the classroom for students to see. Bibliotherapy or

healing with books is one way to incorporate this into the classroom.
¡ Henken (2005) states, “Beyond merely confronting bullying behaviors and focusing on
what students should not do, carefully selected books should promote healthy
interpersonal relationships (teacher–student and student–student) and encourage
prosocial behavior, such as kindness, inclusiveness, and empathy—critical ingredients in
sensitively responding to other’s feelings” (as cited in Heath et al., 2011, p.12).
¡ Zeece (2009) supports this idea by stating, “Wisely chosen literature resources also
allow adults to help young children recognize how values such as kindness, concern, and
respect are part of the human condition and daily life in a classroom or child care
setting” (p. 448).

¡ Character education is a vital part in teaching students about kindness. One

study using the Smart Character Choices program found outstanding results
when interviewing teachers.
¡ Parker et al. (2010) state, “The goal was to assist students in developing
effective character traits (e.g., kindness, optimism, respect, responsibility, and
work ethic) that help them to interact with others positively and meet basic
needs” (p. 820).
¡ Overall, incorporating a kindness program or character education program has
proved to help schools and their students. I believe that this research shows
that something like this could be effective in my school as well.
¡ My research was completed at Lake Elementary in Mentor on the Lake, Ohio.
Below is an outline of the school student and staff make up.
¡ 329 students: Kindergarten – 5th grade
Ø Female: 155
Ø Male: 174
¡ 1 Building Principal
¡ 27 teachers
¡ 10 classroom assistants
¡ School Psychologist, Occupational Therapist, Speech and Language Pathologist, ELL teacher,
Guidance Counselor
¡ Languages Spoken: English (Majority of students), Spanish, Croatian, Yoruban, Macedonian
¡ Race: Caucasian, African-American, Asian, Hispanic, Bi-Racial

Socio-Economic Status: Parent/Community Demographics:

¡ Medium/High ¡ Mentor-on-the-Lake, OH
¡ Small community still part of
¡ 57% students receive free Mentor Public Schools
and reduced meals
¡ Many students come from one
¡ Breakfast and Lunch is parent homes, divorced or spilt
served family homes, or blended homes
consisting of grandparents or
¡ Meals go home on weekend other family members that they
with many families in need live with

¡ Culture already present:

¡ CARDS (Caring and Respectful, Dynamic School
¡ CARDS tickets earned being respectful, responsible and
¡ CARDS Assemblies to highlight and recognize students for
positive behaviors.
¡ Still seems to be a need for more to create an overall kind
school of students.
Research Questions Data Source #1 Data Source #2 Data Source #3

What types of Interview answers Interview answers Interview answers

problems are from students at from teachers at from Parents at
students facing in Lake Elementary Lake Elementary Lake Elementary
school and their School
everyday life?
Can kindness Behavior data Post interview Post interview
programs combat before/after answers from answers from
bullying and teach kindness lessons students at Lake students at Lake
children kindness were taught. Elementary. Elementary.
Can kindness Attendance rates Reading test scores Math test scores
programs lead to before/after before/after before/after
overall healthier, kindness programs kindness programs kindness programs
more attentive are implemented. are implemented. are implemented.

¡ Rachel’s Challenge is a K-12 program that promotes positive climates in all schools. Rachel’s Challenge has a
mission that states, “Making schools safer, more connected places where bullying and violence are replaced
with kindness and respect; and where learning and teaching are awakened to their fullest”
¡ Rachel’s Challenges:
¡ 1. use kind words and do kind things
¡ 2. accept and include others
¡ 3. choose positive influences
¡ 4. set goals
¡ 5. keep a journal.
¡ Our school goal was to focus on goals #1 & #2.
¡ Research for Questions #1 & #2: Surveys were sent to parents, teachers and
students to find out what problems students were facing and whether or not a
kindness program would be beneficial at Lake Elementary. Then, Kindness
lessons were taught on a variety of topics including:
¡ Using kind words, teaching how even when we apologize it does not make
everything go back to the way it was.
¡ Learning about random acts of kindness
¡ Accepting things we cannot change and accepting others who look different
¡ Kindness Chains were tracked to check for an improvement in kindness
¡ Research for Question #3:, attendance data, behavioral reports and academics
would be compared from the 2016-2017 school year to the current 2017-
2018 school year to look for positive improvements.
November December January February March/April Total

K 52 40 100 26 36 254
K 56 23 60 27 65 231

Kindness Chains
K 60 96 10 65 34 265
1 41 30 23 13 20 127
1 32 59 30 42 10 173
November - April
2 20 18 40 11 4 93
3 57 30 54 6 29 176
3 54 20 38 29 17 158
4 67 88 115 52 42 364
4 17 25 15 7 2 66
4 55 43 42 28 9 177
5 32 17 15 51 4 119
5 36 20 15 13 12 96

¡ Attendance:
¡ 2016-2017 school year that the average attendance rate for August through April was 95.44% in
¡ 2017-2018 school year that the average attendance rate for August through April was 94.88% in

¡ Behavior Documentation
¡ 2016-2017 school year there were 133 documented behavior infractions involving 60 students.
¡ 2017-2018 school year, there were 87 documents behavior infractions only involving 50 students.

¡ What is happening at Lake is on the right track based off of the

research collected.
¡ Moving forward, I believe that the principal should work with staff to
implement these steps:
¡ More kindness lessons should be incorporated, digging deeper into each area and
incorporating more of Rachel’s other challenges.
¡ Teachers should receive professional development on these lessons and character
education to have buy in as to why it is important.
¡ The principal will work with the culture committee to design a timeline for
implementation and for check ins with results.
¡ Binfet, J. T., Gadermann, A. M., & Schonert-Reichl, K. A. (2016). Measuring kindness at school: Psychometric properties of a school kindness scale for children and
adolescents. Psychology in The Schools, 53(2), 111-126.
¡ Binfet, J., & Passmore, H. (2017). Teachers’ perceptions of kindness at school. International Journal of Emotional Education, 9(1), 37-53.
¡ Bosacki, S., Harwood, D., & Sumaway, C. (2012). Being mean: Children's gendered perceptions of peer teasing. Journal of Moral Education, 41(4), 473-489.
¡ Cassidy, W., Brown, K., & Jackson, M. (2012). “Making Kind Cool”: Parents’ suggestions for preventing cyber bullying and fostering cyber kindness. Journal of Educational
Computing Research, 46(4), 415-436.
¡ Connolly, P., & Hosken, K. (2006). The general and specific effects of educational programmes aimed at promoting awareness of and respect for diversity among young
children. International Journal of Early Years Education, 14(2), 107-126.
¡ Cubukcu, Z. (2012). The effect of hidden curriculum on character education process of primary school students. Educational Sciences: Theory and Practice, 12(2), 1526-1534.
¡ de Souza, M., & McLean, K. (2012). Bullying and violence: Changing an act of disconnectedness into an act of kindness. Pastoral Care in Education, 30(2), 165-180.
¡ Flook, L., Goldberg, S. B., Pinger, L., & Davidson, R. J. (2015). Promoting prosocial behavior and self-regulatory skills in preschool children through a mindfulness-based
kindness curriculum. Developmental Psychology, 51(1), 44-51.
¡ Fluck, J. (2017). Why do students bully? An analysis of motives behind violence in schools. Youth & Society, 49(5), 567-587.
¡ Hall, K. (2008). Reflecting on our read-aloud practices: The importance of including culturally authentic literature. Young Children, 63(1), 80–86.
¡ Heath, M. A., Moulton, E., Dyches, T. T., Prater, M. A., & Brown, A. (2011). Strengthening elementary school bully prevention with bibliotherapy. Communique, 39(8), 12-14.
¡ Katz, J., & Porath, M. (2011). Teaching to diversity: Creating compassionate learning communities for diverse elementary school students. International Journal of Special
Education, 26(2), 29-41.
¡ Kemple, K. M., Lee, R. I., & Harris, M. (2016). Young children's curiosity about physical differences associated with race: Shared reading to encourage conversation. Early Childhood
Education Journal, 44(2), 97-105.

¡ Malette, N. (2017). Forms of fighting: A micro-social analysis of bullying and in-school violence. Canadian Journal of Education, 40(1), 1-30.
¡ Milson, A. J., & Mehlig, L. M. (2002). Elementary school teachers' sense of efficacy for character education. Journal of Educational Research, 96(1), 47-
¡ Parker, D. C., Nelson, J. S., & Burns, M. K. (2010). Comparison of correlates of classroom behavior problems in schools with and without a school-
wide character education program. Psychology in The Schools, 47(8), 817-827.
¡ Rachel's Challenge. About Rachel's challenge. Retrieved from
¡ Swick, K. J. (1997). A family-school approach for nurturing caring in young children. Early Childhood Education Journal, 25(2), 151-54.
¡ Tichnor-Wagner, A., Parkhouse, H., Glazier, J., & Cain, J. M. (2016). Expanding approaches to teaching for diversity and justice in K-12 education:
Fostering global citizenship across the content areas. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 24(59), 1-35.
¡ Vuckovic, A. (2008). Making the multicultural learning environment flourish: The importance of the child-teacher relationship in educating young
children about diversity. Australian Journal of Early Childhood, 33(1), 9-16.
¡ Zeece, P. D. (2009). Using current literature selections to nurture the development of kindness in young children. Early Childhood Education
Journal, 36(5), 447-452.
Teacher Questions: Parent Questions:
1. When you think of kindness in students at school, what do you think of? 1. When you think of kindness in your child and their peers, what do you
2. Do you think children in your grade level understand and demonstrate think of?
kindness? Yes, No 2. Do you think children in your child's grade level understand and
3. Can you give some examples? demonstrate kindness? Yes, No
4. What do you think is something that is blocking students from being kind 3. Can you give some examples?
every day? 4. What do you think is something that is blocking children from being kind
5. Do you see signs of bullying or mean behavior in your classroom or school? every day?
Yes, No 5. Do you see signs of bullying or mean behavior in your
6. Can you give some examples? neighborhood/community?
7. How do you think we can help students to become compassionate and Yes, No
kind? 6. Can you give some examples?
8. What do you already do to show/teach your kids kindness? 7. How do you think we can help children to become compassionate and kind?
Read about kindness, Discuss kindness in morning meetings, Show videos, What do you already do to show/teach your kids kindness at home?
Student modeling of kindness, Other: Read about kindness, Discuss kindness at home, Do random acts of kindness,
9. Is acceptance of others based on perceived socio-economic status and/or Model kindness for my child in my daily routine, Other:
race an issue at our school? Yes, No, Sometimes 8. Do you think acceptance of others based on perceived socio-economic
10. Do you believe that kindness activities and lessons can change the status and/or race is an issue with children at Lake? Yes, No, Sometimes
attitudes and behavior of students in your class? Yes, No, Maybe 9. Do you believe that kindness activities and lessons can change the
11. Do you believe social and emotional learning is as important as academic attitudes and behavior of children at school? Yes, No, Maybe
learning? 10. Do you believe social and emotional learning is as important as academic
Yes, No, Maybe learning in school? Yes, No, Maybe
¡ Student Questions: 5. What did they do or say?
1. What does it mean to you to be kind? 6. Overall, do you think of the kids at your school
2. What types of things do you do in school that are kind? as mean or kind?
Help someone pick things up Mean
Help my teacher Kind
Cheer someone up that is sad, even if we are not friends 7. Why?
Give a compliment 8. What types of problems do you think your
Other: grade level deals with?
3. What types of things out of school do you do that is 9. Do you think your teachers try to teach and
kind? show kindness to you?
Help someone pick things up Yes, No
Help my parents 10. If kids learn about kindness in school, do you
Play with different people outside think that they will be kind outside of school on
Give a compliment social media and when you play together?
Donate old clothes, toys Yes
Other: No
4. Has anyone ever been mean to you? Maybe
Yes, No