Choosing a behavior intervention is a skill that is developed through practice and experience. Behavior interventions work best when a teacher chooses interventions that are responsive to the unique personalities and needs of the students s/he teaches. Behavior interventions vary in complexity and invasiveness, ranging from nonverbal cues to isolation from peers.
The least invasive intervention strategies are nonverbal cues—silent signals that remind a student of class expectations and provide an opportunity to fix the behavior. These cues are most appropriate for behaviors that are not actively disruptive or unsafe or for students who are triggered when redirected in front of peers. Nonverbal signals include strategies like hand signals, holding up colored post-its, and increasing teacher proximity to a student
Verbal redirections serve the same purpose as nonverbal cues but are slightly more invasive as they briefly stop instruction and can single out a student. Verbal cues can address the student directly or the class as whole. They include strategies like positive narration, restating an expectation, giving a directive, and simply saying a student’s name.
If less invasive strategies aren’t effective or the behavior is more severe, then consequences are needed. Consequences can and should differ to match the behavior. At times, a consequence like a demerit or moving down a color may be all that is needed to stop a behavior. Other times, the behavior breaks culture in a more significant way and requires a more significant consequence, like removal from peers to a timeout area or an administrator’s office.
Logical consequences are a way to maintain fairness and consistency in the implementation of interventions. Logical consequences attempt to match behavior and consequence more directly. For example, if a student writes on a bathroom wall, then s/he could clean the bathrooms or the classroom as a reminder of the work that goes into keeping a school building clean for everyone.
For students that consistently don’t respond to interventions and need an individualized plan, a behavior intervention plan should be created. These plans directly address target behaviors and involve methods, such as peer or teacher mentors, check-in/check-out systems, built in breaks throughout the day, and other calming and accountability strategies that curb misbehaviors.