Journal of Educational Research and Practice


A primary motivation for people to behave as they do is the need to belong socially to a group and to have relevance. A positive learning environment for young students is created when students are recognized and accepted by their peers and their teachers, and studies reveal that in such environments, students perform better academically and tend to have fewer behavioral issues. These environments may also act as a buffer against school dropout rates. This study examined whether teaching prosocial lessons to first-grade students in the southeastern United States would create positive learning environments for children who otherwise may not be recognized and accepted by their peers and also examined the relationship of teacher evaluations of observable classroom behaviors by their students with student recognition by peers. This study confirms the relevance of prosocial lessons in the creation of positive learning environments for young students.