Classroom Supports

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Not every school participates in a school-wide positive behavior interventions and supports (PBIS) model but that doesn't have to stop you from implementing best practices in your classroom. PBIS is flexible in that it the principles of PBIS can be used in individual classrooms. For more information about the specifics of PBIS see the resources under the main PBIS page.
For more training opportunities regarding implementation of PBIS at the classroom level visit our DIY page.

Core Principles of PBIS

  • We can effectively teach appropriate behavior to all children.  All PBIS practices are founded on the assumption and belief that all children can exhibit appropriate behavior.  As a result, it is our responsibility to identify the contextual setting events and environmental conditions that enable exhibition of appropriate behavior.  We then must determine the means and systems to provide those resources.

  • Intervene early.  It is best practices to intervene before targeted behaviors occur.  If we intervene before problematic behaviors escalate, the interventions are much more manageable.  Highly effective universal interventions in the early stages of implementation which are informed by time sensitive continuous progress monitoring, enjoy strong empirical support for their effectiveness with at-risk students.

  • Use of a multi-tier model of service delivery.  PBIS uses an efficient, needs-driven resource deployment system to match behavioral resources with student need.  To achieve high rates of student success for all students, instruction in the schools must be differentiated in both nature and intensity.  To efficiently differentiate behavioral instruction for all students.  PBIS uses tiered models of service delivery.

  • Use research-based, scientifically validated interventions to the extent available. No Child Left Behind requires the use of scientifically based curricula and interventions.  The purpose of this requirement is to ensure that students are exposed to curriculum and teaching that has demonstrated effectiveness for the type of student and the setting.  Research-based, scientifically validated interventions provide our best opportunity at implementing strategies that will be effective for a large majority of students.

  • Monitor student progress to inform interventions.  The only method to determine if a student is improving is to monitor the student's progress.  The use of assessments that can be collected frequently and that are sensitive to small changes in student behavior is recommended.  Determining the effectiveness (or lack of) an intervention early is important to maximize the impact of that intervention for the student.

  • Use data to make decisions.  A data-based decision regarding student response to the interventions is central to PBIS practices.  Decisions in PBIS practices are based on professional judgment informed directly by student office discipline referral data and performance data.  This principle requires that ongoing data collection systems are in place and that resulting data are used to make informed behavioral intervention planning decisions.

  • Use assessment for three different purposes.  In PBIS, three types of assessments are used: 1) screening of data comparison per day per month for total office discipline referrals, 2) diagnostic determination of data by time of day, problem behavior, and location and 3) progress monitoring to determine if the behavioral interventions are producing the desired effects.

Primary prevention is significant- in that it -moves the structural framework of each educational unit from reactive approaches to proactive systems change performance.  This effort cohesively unites all the adults in using 1) common language, 2) common practices, and 3) consistent application of positive and negative reinforcement.  There are many caveats to the training, planning, and implementation of PBIS.  Just a few of the features are listed below:

Behavioral Expectations

The primary prevention of positive behavioral interventions and supports (PBIS) consists of rules, routines, and physical arrangements that are developed and taught by school staff to prevent initial occurrences of behavior the school would like to target for change.  For example, a school team may determine that disrespect for self, others, and property is a set of behaviors they would like to target for change.  They may choose the positive reframing of that behavior and make that one of their behavioral expectations.  Respect Yourself, Others, and Property would be one of their behavioral expectations.  Research indicates that 3-5 behavioral expectations that are positively stated, easy to remember, and significant to the climate are best. At the end of the year, students should be able to name the behavioral expectations and 80% or better of the students should be able to tell you what they are and give examples of what they look like in action.

Labeling Appropriate Behavior in Actions

You would then build a matrix (graph) listing the behavioral expectation in a horizontal row.  There would be column labels above the behavioral expectations listing all the areas in the school where this behavior could be: 1) taught, 2) modeled, 3) practiced, and 4) observed.  For example, in a middle school the columns might include: 1) commons area, 2) cafeteria, 3) gymnasium, 4) bus, 5) hallway, 6) restroom, and 7) sidewalks.  You would choose two or three examples of what respecting self, others, and property would look like in each of these areas.  For example, respecting property in the bathroom would be to "Use the amount of paper towels needed.  A good amount would be two."  Another example of showing respect for others in the bathroom might include "Be sure to flush the toilet when finished."

Teaching Appropriate Behavioral Actions

You would then decide how you were going to teach these behaviors to the students.  Some teachers choose to have stations and rotate all the children through various locations where the adults act out the appropriate behaviors relevant to each area.  Some teachers choose to show a non-example first and then the appropriate example last.  After adults model the appropriate behavior, students emulate the new behavior before they rotate to the next learning station.  Adults give feedback to the students on their performance during the training, to alleviate any misrules before they may begin.  

Observing and Praising Appropriate Behavioral Actions

You would also determine how they intended to "catch" students exhibiting the appropriate behaviors.  Specific praise is extremely important in increasing the reoccurrence of appropriate behavior.  Some teachers decide to give out small pieces of paper labeled as "gotchas".  The teacher hands the gotchas with specific praise to students as you witness appropriate behaviors.


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