ARIN IU28.org

Positive Behavior Support

Concerns about student behavior in the schools are nothing new. Federal and state laws emphasize that a student's behavior should not interfere with his/her learning or the learning of others. When behavior is interfering, school district staff have a responsibility to generate strategies to decrease/eliminate such behavior. PA's special education initiative on Effective Positive Behavior Support sets forth ways to help school district staff address chronic behavior problems, at risk behaviors,and classroom/school behavior.

Positive Behavior Support emphasizes the principles of behavioral science. A behavior of concern must be clearly defined and attention centers around what happens before the behavior/what setting the behavior happens in (antecedent events) and what happens after the behavior (consequences). Teams of persons working with a student then hypothesize why the student appears to be behaving in a certain way (determine the FUNCTION of the behavior). The primary goal is then to determine what new appropriate behaviors and skills can be taught for the purpose of serving the same function.

ARIN Intermediate Unit offers assistance to school districts for preventing and dealing with problem behaviors. Contact landerson@iu28.org if you have questions, are seeking assistance, and/or have a suggestion/hint/idea to share on the webpage in the area of Positive Behavior Support.


Suggestions for preventing behavior problems:

  • Establish and teach rules which emphasize positive behavior.
  • Establish and teach a hierarchy of consequences that you will use consistently.
  • Develop a good relationship with each and every student.
  • Catch them being good and tell them.
  • Keep them actively engaged in the learning process.
  • BE CONSISTENT in the way you handle positive and negative behavior.

Some general ways to deal with behavior problems as they arise:

  • Clearly state what you want the student(s) to do.
  • Present expectations in a way that emphasizes the student's choice and control over whether he/she will follow a rule.
  • Give one or two warnings.
  • Impose a consequence from your hierarchy.
  • DO WHAT YOU SAY YOU ARE GOING TO DO!!!!!!!!!!!

When you continue to see serious behavior problems arising for a particular student even after trying different things, consider the following:

  • Is this student trying to get something?? (i.e., attention, objects, activities, sensory stimulation)
  • Is this student trying to avoid something?? (attention, objects, activities, sensory stimulation)
  • IS THE ACADEMIC TASK TOO HARD?
  • HAVE I PROVIDED THE BEST INSTRUCTION POSSIBLE?
  • HAVE I CONCENTRATED ON THE POSITIVE BEHAVIOR I HAVE SEEN?
  • IS THIS STUDENT RESPONSIVE TO THE REINFORCERS AND CONSEQUENCES I HAVE IN PLACE OR DOES HE/SHE NEED SOMETHING MORE INDIVIDUALIZED?

Remember that there is support available through ARIN's CSPD team when you are:

  • Attempting to establish a class/school system for the behavior management of a group;
  • Attempting to establish more structured intervention strategies for students who exhibit at-risk behaviors; and,
  • Attempting to deal with a student's severe behavior problem(s) and need to functionally assess the behavior as well as develop an individualized plan.

Contact ARIN: 724-463-5300 or landerson@iu28.org

Some sites that have great information and tips for dealing with student behavior

behavioradvisor.com - Great behavior tips, stories, ideas
disciplinehelp.com - Suggestions and ideas for dealing with different kinds of behavior problems
pacificnet.net - Teachers helping teachers to address behavior issues and a lot of other areas
pattan.k12.pa.us - PA Training and Technical Assistance Network
pbis.org - Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports