Most students, if asked, know not to bully or know not to litter. Yet, you may see those same students exhibiting behaviours that contradict what they know.

Prosocial behaviour is behaviour that uses positive words or actions to benefit others. Rather than a desire for personal gain, students are prompted to act this was by empathy, responsibility to others, or moral values. Much of the responsibility to teach this behaviour is falling on schools and teachers.

To promote prosocial behaviour, consider some of the following:

  • Encourage a caring school community that includes everyone from teachers to caretakers and lunch room supervisors.
  • Implement a positive discipline approach that includes clear expectations, discussions, and modelling.
  • Initiate school-wide programs such as “learning buddies” that match up older and younger students to work together in a variety of activities (computer lab, shared reading, picking up litter, community walks).
  • Integrate value or character education to learning in all classrooms
For more information on creating a caring community in your classroom or school that promotes prosocial behaviours, see the Principles and Practices of Responsive Classroom at

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