Positive Behavioral Support and Interventions (PBIS) was initially created to protect and support students with disabilities. However, PBIS is beneficial for all students and provides effective Tier I interventions as well. Below are a few examples of PBIS interventions you can use in your classroom to positively reinforce student behavior for all students.
Set clear routines for everything you would like students to do in your classroom. Although it can be tedious, be explicit about everything. Do not assume that students know the expectations for your classroom and be sure to show them how you would like things to be done. Give students multiple opportunities to practice classroom routines; provide ongoing support for routines and behaviors; reinforce expected behaviors and explain the consequences if the expectations are not met.
Teach your routines and expectations in a way that allows you to differentiate ignorance versus defiance. Students often get in trouble because they genuinely did not know what they were expected to do.
Create silent signals to remind your students to pay attention and remain on task. These signals can be for your whole class or you can establish special signals for a particular student who needs extra behavioral support. Silent signals are an effective intervention because they quickly reinforce behavioral expectations with minimal disruption. You can come up with signals for your class or your class can help you create signals that work best for your community. You can create signals to express your expectations for your students; and you can also create signals to allow your students to express their needs to you.
For example, my class had silent signals for asking for the bathroom and getting water. I have also used silent signals to let my students know when I was with a student and should not be interrupted. Remember to keep silent signals simple and quick. Consider using American Sign Language for your silent signals.
Proximity is another great silent intervention; by simply getting physically closer to a student you can get them on task without having to give verbal instructions. Make it a habit to circulate around your classroom while students are completing tasks to keep them focused. You can even rest your hand on their shoulder to get the student’s attention. Use proximity when teaching a lesson, during independent work, or in transitions to a new task.
When a student is off task they are often seeking attention, so it is important for teachers to remove the stage when addressing them. Avoid using shame and intimidation to correct a student; instead quietly and quickly bend down and whisper to the student what you would like them to do and the consequence they will receive if the expectation is not met, then move away. If the student still does not comply, administer an appropriate consequence. Quiet corrections allow you to remain in control of the situation and keeps the public stage out of the student interaction.
Negative student behavior affects your classroom and the other students. If you notice a student has a behavioral challenge at a certain time of the day consider giving them a task or errand to complete for you, for example sending a message to another teacher. This will give the student a chance to reset and come back and join the class. Also consider ways to encourage leadership and peer interaction by pairing the student up with a classmate as a helper on an academic task to encourage positive interactions and build community.
Students benefit from a 3-5 minute break to reset and get focused. Consider allowing students rest and reset during an activity or before transitioning to a new task. Brain breaks are helpful and fun. Check out Action for Healthy Kids for brain breaks and energizers.
This refers to focusing on the positive results of a behavior rather than the negative. As teachers we can easily get into the habit of threatening students with statements that say, “If you don’t...then I will…” This type of phrase is negatively stated and creates tension. Instead, describe the positive impact of a behavior. This also works when establishing class rules. Class rules should be positively phrased, instead of, “Don’t run in the halls” the rule can be, “We walk in the halls.”
In another example, if a student is not completing their homework the teacher could say, “If you don’t complete your homework tonight, you will stay inside and complete it at recess tomorrow.” To make the phrase positive the teacher could say, “ If you finish your homework tonight, you will get to go outside and play with your friends at recess.” Both express the need to complete homework but the tone of each phrase is different.
Positively narrate the behavior you want to see or acknowledge students who meet expectations right away. This rewards positive behavior and repeats the expectation for students who may not have heard the first time. For example, when my students were lining up and all of them were not ready I would quickly state the specific behavior 1-2 students were doing correctly. In no time other students where mimicking that behavior.
Rewards are an effective way to encourage positive behavior. Rewards can be edible treats, toys, or a desired activity. Be sure that you set clear guidelines for how to earn rewards. Set realistic goals so students can earn the reward consistently, to maintain motivation. Get student input so the rewards are items or activities that the student desires.
Here at Kickboard we have seen school culture transform because of effective implementations of PBIS. We also have the tools and resources to support your school team as they begin to implement PBIS as a way to promote positive school culture. Click here to learn more about how Kickboard can support PBIS in your school.