University of Helsinki, Faculty of Educational Sciences
Helsinki Studies in Education, number 128
Martta Maukonen

Participation, reinforcement and resistance
A case and action research study on the Aggression Replacement Training (ART) intervention


The aim of this case and action research study is to describe the participation ofnfive fourth-grade boys in the Aggression Replacement Training (ART) intervention. The data is mainly qualitative. The data collection methods used in this study were active participant observation, recorded intervention meetings and Multisource Assessment of Social Competence (MASC) questionnaire surveys. Researcher’s aim was also to develop her own professional skills and work by adopting the ART method as part of the teaching of students with special needs. The participants were members of a small group for socially and emotionally challenging pupils in a mainstream school. The researcher had a triple role: an ART instructor, a researcher and a teacher.

The study shows that the pupils participated in the intervention but also resisted, for example, being taught social skills. One’s status position in a group can be so strong that it is difficult to learn new behavioral strategies and skills
and use them in a familiar context. The study also shows that challenging behavior, such as impulsivity and disruptive behavior, seems to be fairly enduring according to the measurement results. In the peer assessments, there is almost no change in the impulsivity and disruptive behavior of participants. In the final self-assessment, the participants assessed their skills as even weaker than in the first assessment. This may be due to the fact that the participants became more aware of their social skills and were, as a result, able to be more realistic in their final self-assessments.

To this end, numerous method guides and materials for teaching prosocial skills have been produced in early childhood education and in schools. Emotion al skills have also been studied extensively in recent years. The whole operational culture of schools should be based on common educational aims, so that, for instance, teaching social and emotional skills would not be dependent on individual teachers but rather a joint goal shared by the whole school community.

Keywords: ART-Aggression Replacement Training intervention, social
competence, social status