Aggressive behaviour

The Design Challenge:

Reducing aggressive behaviour among children And teenagers in Tel Aviv-Jaffa


We encounter the phenomenon everywhere in different ways. It has nothing to do with economic status, age of origin or gender

Reducing aggressive behavior in children and youth is a complex challenge, requiring significant change and adaptation of all the systems affecting it. We see aggressive behaviors everywhere, in different modes of expression – this behavior does not depend on age, origin, socioeconomic status, gender.

We’ve reframed the challenge, so our focus is on the aggressive behaviors lurking beneath the surface. These are behaviors whose interpretation is subjective and elusive. Sometimes they are not considered offensive; they are not always reported and treated—for example, violent discourse, scorning, aggression, controlling behavior, hooliganism.

This aggressive behavior is the basis of this violence phenomenon; if we do not respond and treat it, it will be legitimized and established as the norm.

What we did?

  • Co-design workshop with partners in the Education Department to build a research plan.
  • Fifty depth interviews with 5-8-graders to learn how they feel and perceive the phenomenon from their point of view.
  • 20 in-depth interviews with experts using specially designed tools we have developed to extract information in interviews
  • Observations in the spaces where students stay, at the school, and in their leisure time.
  • Surveys for parents, educational staff, students.
  • Learning examples and global trends for inspiration 
  • Ideation zoom conference with 50 participants
  • Collaborating design process for developing and characterizing initiatives that address the challenge

What we learned:

  • The fear of being alone steers the children to create social action strategies like testing their friendships. Another example of such social action strategies could be using aggressive behavior to advance social status.
  • Children often witness aggressive behaviors but refrain from intervening because they are afraid of endangering their social status.
  • Dense physical design spaces at school like crowded corridors encourage glitches and stress aggressive behaviours
  • The school space and routine do not allow the accumulated frustrations to be vented, and therefore children may harm others and the place.
  • Children having her social life at virtual word that hidden from the eyes of the adults, we learn that the education team needs tools to see what happened in that field
  • Cohesive parents reduce aggression among children for two reasons:
    1. Quality time helps bring children closer together
    2. Fear that parents will be aware of their behavior

The opportunities:

  1. Strengthening meaningful relationships as an anchor
  2. Developing tools that encourage beneficial proactivity
  3. Creating opportunities for controlled aggression and tolerance
  4. Parental formation in the school community
  5. Creating tools for dealing with the emotional and social space of students

The strategy we proposed:

We realized from our learning that we would have to act through the older characters that accompany the girls to create a significant change and reduce aggressive behaviors among girls and youth. A substantial impact on profound perceptions of childhood requires continuous contact, valuable relationships with them, and repeated interactions over time. Also, a systemic language change is required; this change can occur only when the whole system is mobilized. Another assumption is that if we support adults, it will affect childhood and the school climate and culture and buy tools for a system that educates girls.

This strategy includes eight initiatives that address the areas of opportunity: 

  1. Process for socio-emotional mapping of the class: An initiative that addresses the need of the educational staff with tools that make it possible to see the socio-emotional space of the students. Using a digital tool that was characterized and adapted to the needs raised in the study, an escort process, and a support envelope for the school staff.
  2. Emotional bride to the force: An initiative that addresses the need to optimize the emotional well-being of teachers.
  3. Tuned Board (dashboard): The board is an administrative tool that allows principals to see a recent picture of the school climate and its aggressive behaviors at any given moment and make decisions based on empirical and relevant data.
  4. School parenting community:The strengthening of a cohesive parental community around the school and enhancing the relationship and trust between parents and the school staff. A good relationship between parents and themselves and trust between parents and staff will inspire beneficial relationships between the girls. 
  5. Pass a co-lesson: An initiative whereby several teachers teach several classes together, thus supporting each other. This format also allows students to be introduced to other students.
  6.  An online urban community is closed for high school teachers: The initiative aims to serve as a space for mutual support, sharing dilemmas and knowledge, and connecting teachers. Schools at the city level.
  7. Spatial mapping at the school led by the students. An initiative aimed at creating a safe, pleasant, and affinity-promoting school space was inspired by a spatial mapping project operated in Congo and Vietnam; after mapping, it was possible to treat places where they felt unsafe.
  8.  Green dots:An initiative aimed at changing norms by encouraging active testimony behavior. In such an intervention form, everyone becomes an agent of change. The problem of violence is treated not as a problem that belongs only to the attacker and the victim but as a social problem. The initiative was inspired by a project implemented in Kentucky, USA.

Some of the initiatives began in development and were even implemented.

The project was done as a part of my work in the Impact team, Tel Aviv Yafo innovation team.

  • Team manager: Dana Shlfer
  • Progect maneger: Yael Shelach Moshonov
  • Research Lead, and Service Design Expert: Yarive Epshtein

Research Team:

  • Michal Shamsian Azar
  • Rachel Nachshom
  • Merav Ohayon