Monthly Archives: June 2015

5 Reasons Why PBIS Positive Rewards Work

June 19, 2015

PBIS (Positive Behavioral Intervention and Support) is an approach used by school personnel to establish evidence-based behavioral interventions to help students achieve success in social, emotional, and academic areas. One of the tenets of this proactive approach to behavior management involves eliminating punishment and shifting the focus to positive reinforcement to encourage advanced student behaviors. This can be achieved through PBIS positive rewards.

The effectiveness of positive reinforcement is certainly nothing new.  Educators who use the PBIS approach have found that using rewards as incentives to promote students’ positive behavior is effective for a variety of reasons:

PBIS Positive Rewards Help to Create a Positive School Culture


PBIS Positive Rewards Help to Create a Positive School Culture

It makes sense that rewards could contribute to a more positive environment, as opposed to negative reinforcement, which do the opposite. But what may not be quite as obvious is how rewards can help to evolve the entire culture of a school. When educators provide incentives to students to encourage positive behavior, students are more likely to engage in constructive behavior. The more students participate in positive behavior, the more positive the school culture becomes.

According to, a variety of PBIS positive rewards can be effective incentives, including:

  • A trophy or certificate awarded to a student who exemplifies good behavior
  • Special edible treats, such as gum
  • A prize from a “prize box” in the classroom
  • Extra recess time
  • Lunch with a teacher in the cafeteria
  • Helping a library media specialist do his or her job
  • Sitting closer to the teacher in class

Whatever types of rewards are used, they are often focused on learning, playing, and helping others.

Positive Rewards Lead to Sustained Behavior Changes

Providing that the right types of rewards are used, and that they are presented to students fairly and consistently, they can result in a significant and genuine change in student behavior — even for many students with serious discipline problems.  By implementing PBIS positive rewards school-wide, as well as in the home, the students are encouraged to display positive behavior both in the educational environment and in their free time. This makes it easier for them to permanently adopt the beneficial behavior. When students are following the same rules both at school and at home, their positive behavior is even more likely to become habitual. Rather than consciously acting in a positive manner for the sake of a reward, these children adopt positive behavior as a genuine part of their personalities.

Positive Rewards Can Build Intrinsic Motivation

Although every educator would welcome the notion that each student carries an intrinsic motivation to learn and act appropriately, this is not always the case. While some students do actually behave and perform well simply for the self-satisfaction involved in doing so, many students will be more motivated when a reward for good behavior is presented. In fact, even for adults, it’s significantly easier to become motivated when we know that we’ll receive a reward for successfully completing a task.

Over the course of time, however, students who are consistently rewarded for positive behavior, effort, politeness, generosity, grades, class engagement, or other behaviors tied to important skills, actually develop their own personal motivation to continue to engage in positive behavior without being prompted by the promise of the reward. The intrinsic emotional outcome of the student’s good behavior, in essence, becomes the reward. They come to learn that if they successfully complete their task or what is expected of them, the entire learning process becomes easier and more enjoyable.

PBIS Positive Rewards Can Build Intrinsic Motivation

PBIS Positive Rewards Can Be Used Effectively in Many Contexts

While rewards are certainly effective in school environments, a rewards-based system performs well in a wide variety of situations. Parents can use rewards within the home environment. Even employers have come to understand the power of rewards in motivating their employees. Regardless of the context, rewards can be an appropriate and effective method to encourage a child (or an adult) to become comfortable with the skills they’ll need to be successful and happy in life.

Positive Rewards Can Be Used to Build New Skills

Not only are rewards effective in modifying students’ behavior, but they can also be useful in encouraging children to acquire or develop new skills. Children are often reluctant to learn new skills, such as playing an instrument or taking ballet classes, for example. But when a student understands that a reward will come with his or her additional effort, the student is often much more motivated to develop the skill. Once a student masters one skill, he or she will be more inclined to try others as well.

While the PBIS approach is valuable on many levels, PBIS used in conjunction with rewards is even more effective. For more information about using rewards in combination with a PBIS approach, contact TeamYou today.


How The PBIS Discipline System Builds Positive School Culture

June 15, 2015

The Positive Behavioral Interventions and Support–or PBIS—philosophy is influencing school-wide disciplinary methods nationwide. According to the Wisconsin PBIS Network, “The PBIS model has been successfully implemented in thousands of schools in over 40 states, resulting in dramatic reductions in disciplinary interventions and increases in academic achievement.”

Historically, schools have disciplined students with negative reinforcement, through revoking privileges, suspension, expulsion, and more. In contrast, a PBIS discipline system aims to implement “proactive strategies for defining, teaching, and supporting appropriate student behaviors to create positive school environments.” Rather than reacting to problem behaviors individually (and inconsistently), the goal is to provide consistent positive behavior support to all students throughout the school.

A PBIS discipline system will establish the social and behavioral supports students need to grow and excel both socially and academically. This is achieved through multiple tiers of prevention, intervention, and support that range from school-wide procedures to specialized and individualized disciplinary actions.

How The PBIS Discipline System Builds Positive School Culture

The PBIS Discipline System Reduces Negative Reinforcement

Negative reinforcement is commonly misunderstood. When a student refuses to do something they do not want to do, or acts out because of an unwanted assignment, restriction, or requirement, a common response is to remove them from the classroom or school. For example, imagine a student who refuses to stop talking during a test is sent to the principal’s office. This is an example of negative reinforcement; the thing the student did not want (the test) is taken away as a result of his or her behavior. The student has now learned to get out of testing by being disruptive.

Positive reinforcement, on the other hand, is when something that the student does not already have is added when he or she behaves in a desired way. If what’s added is a reward the student desires, the new behavior is likely to repeat. Intentional use of positive reinforcement can make misbehavior less effective and useful for the student, and desired behavior more rewarding.

For these reasons, it is widely believed that negative reinforcement is not an effective deterrent for disruptive behaviors. As neuroscientist Dr. Sam Wang explains,

“Negative reinforcement punishment tends to not be very general. So the child will avoid doing the specific thing that led to the punishment and not learn some broader rule. From a practical standpoint, negative reinforcement is not terribly effective.”

This is yet another reason why the PBIS discipline system aims to reduce negative reinforcement as a disciplinary method, and instead focuses on positive reinforcement to reward and encourage positive behavior in children.

The PBIS Discipline System Treats Students Individually

A PBIS discipline system focuses on the encouragement of positive behavior, coming from every source of authority students come in contact with. This requires a school-wide acceptance of the program, so that all staff, including counselors, administrators, educators, bus drivers and others, are attentive to students’ behavior and consistently implementing proactive behavior supports.

Additionally, educators must be trained and equipped to intervene when necessary. The PBIS discipline system includes primary, secondary, and tertiary intervention levels, also referred to as Tiers 1, 2, and 3. Each behavioral tier is associated with specific, targeted behavioral interventions.

Tier 1 Interventions

Tier 1, or primary prevention, is applied school-wide, to all students. Disciplinary practices at this stage include:

  • Explaining appropriate behaviors.
  • Precorrection, when a teacher reminds students of expected behaviors immediately before an activity.
  • Using positive reinforcements consistently throughout the school.
  • Implementing a token economy or incentive rewards system.

Tier 2 Interventions

Only a small percentage of students fail to respond to the practices applied in the primary stage of prevention and, unlike the rest, are considered to be at an increased risk for problematic behavior or academic failure. These students may respond to Tier 2 interventions, such as:

  • Tutoring and academic support.
  • Social Skills and conflict resolution training.
  • Behavior assessments and contracts.
  • Counseling, mentorship, and organizational tools.

Tier 3 Interventions

Even fewer students are in need of more intensive, tertiary-level intervention, and these are the children who are prone to repeated problematic behavior and disciplinary issues. These students need more attention and individual care, which is why they are provided with additional support, besides the primary-level and secondary-level practices. Techniques feature family and friends’ involvement as natural supports, de-escalation training, and more.

The PBIS Discipline System Rewards Appropriate Behaviors

The key to a PBIS discipline program is a combination of prevention, positive reinforcement, and individualized interventions. Traditional discipline is often reactionary and reliant on punishment-based practices including reprimands, suspensions, and office referrals. But punishment is largely ineffective, which is why the PBIS discipline system continues to grow in popularity.

Positive reinforcement of desired behaviors, especially when supported by a token economy or incentive rewards, is transforming school culture nationwide. When students are rewarded for choosing to follow modeled behaviors, their intrinsic motivation to repeat the positive behavior grows. Ultimately, a PBIS discipline system can help to establish a climate in which positive, desired behavior is the norm.

To learn more about motivating positive classroom behavior, contact Team(You) today.


PBIS Data Collection Systems Lead to Better Solutions

June 9, 2015

PBIS data collection systems help to monitor school-wide PBIS progress, improve PBIS program implementation, and identify students who are at risk for problematic behavior. School administrators and teachers can make better informed decisions about discipline, interventions, and rewards based on consistently collected and properly analyzed data. And school leaders at all levels can use data to frame regular discussions about a school, district, or classroom’s social and academic needs and progress.

Data is an essential part of the success of PBIS because it provides information on all stages and phases of a school’s progress, from minor incidents to targeted interventions. PBIS data collection systems are invaluable because they help to ensure that PBIS techniques, practices, and interventions are based on clear data that can be accessed by all stakeholders and used to inform a unified PBIS culture.

PBIS Data Collection Systems Lead to Better Solutions

PBIS Data Collection Systems Guidelines

When collecting PBIS behavioral data in schools, instructors and administrators should keep in mind the following:

  • Data collection should take very little time: School staff are busy, and will only use a PBIS data collection system that is quick and easy-to-use. Data reporting should not take more than minutes a day.
  • The data collection system should give users useful information: A good PBIS data collection system will help users make sense of data quickly, through data summaries, visualizations, and filtering features. This way the data becomes easy to analyze and act on.
  • PBIS data should be shared and discussed with all school teachers, administrators, and staff: Review the most recent trends in your PBIS data in regular school-wide meetings in order to define new strategies and interventions that all school leaders need to implement together.

What Information Does a PBIS Data Collection System Track?

One of the primary types of data schools will collect with a PBIS data collection system is Minor Incident Reports (MIRs). An MIR is collected whenever a school official had to take action to discipline a student beyond a verbal warning, whether it’s detention, phoning a parent, or moving the student’s assigned seat.

When using PBIS tracking software, gather the following information to preserve an accurate report of every behavioral incident:

  • The name of the student who demonstrated disruptive behavior.
  • The time, date and location of the occurrence.
  • A concrete description of the disruptive behavior and the context in which it occurred.
  • A concrete description of the disciplinary action or behavioral intervention used.

A concrete description of student behavior is as clear, detailed, and objective as possible. For example, if a student is disrupting a classroom with noise and horseplay, you want to be very specific when recording the incident: Instead of horseplay, say “running across the classroom, pounding on desk, and playing music loudly through a personal electronic device.” The more specific your behavioral data, the better you can assess the particular student’s patterns of behavior and select an effective intervention.

PBIS Data Collection Systems Improve Decision-Making

Data collection is essential in PBIS because it provides the important information that educators can use to make decisions regarding disciplinary practices. An example of collecting and using data in order to improve a situation is when an educator is exposed to repeated disruptions from one particular student. In such a case, it is the educator’s duty to review the student’s academic situation and assess whether he or she is having trouble with this particular subject, or if it’s a more general problem.

If the student is only causing trouble in this instance, it may be because the student does not understand or grasp the basics of the academic subject, even though he or she is obtaining satisfactory results in all the other classes. In such a situation, the teacher in question should pay closer attention to this student and seek to provide individualized guidance.

If, however, the type of incident is not limited to a single class or educator, then the student’s behavioral data may be used to determine if the student requires academic support or behavioral support. When a student has been identified as posing a risk for problematic behavior, all previous data collected on that particular student is used to establish appropriate practices and interventions in order to improve the student’s behavior and prevent future disruptions.

PBIS Data Collection Systems Support School-Wide Success

PBIS data collection systems are not only used to monitor the progress of individual students, but also to monitor the progress and overall success of a school-wide PBIS program. School-wide PBIS requires an evidence-based approach for building a positive social culture that will promote both social and academic  success. This takes teamwork, regular discussion, significant coordination, and easily accessed, shared data.

PBIS data collections systems help educators identify and define problems that are affecting the school culture and academic progress as a whole. Rather than trying to solve a vague problem, like “too many office referrals during recess,” school leaders can look at exactly how many referrals were made, when they occurred, and their specific causes and contexts. Detailed data can lead officials to discover, for example, that most office referrals occur during the transition from end of class time to start of recess, when students are waiting for play equipment and are unsupervised. Now school leaders can see that the context is contributing to problem behaviors and design a well-informed solution.

Thanks to PBIS data collection systems, PBIS programs are able to effectively improve school systems, academic results, social interactions, and both collective and individual behavior. To learn how you can use PBIS data collection in your school or classroom, talk to a Team(You) data collection software expert today.