October 15, 2015

There’s a good reason why PBS (Positive Behavioral Support) has become so popular over the past several years: put simply, it works. PBS is an approach used by educators to help students overcome behavioral challenges so they can achieve success on multiple levels – emotionally, socially and academically. By focusing on positive reinforcement rather than punishment, school personnel can encourage positive behavior in students, which has markedly positive effects on the child’s performance in the classroom.

While PBS no doubt sounds good in theory, putting the approach into practice within your own classroom can be somewhat challenging if you’re new to the concept. Even if you’ve practiced positive behavior management techniques with your students before without realizing it, now that you understand what the theory is all about, consciously following it in your own classroom, and day-to-day interactions with your students, may seem like a daunting task. Fortunately, it’s not as challenging as it may seem. Here are five steps you can take inside your own classroom to integrate positive behavior management techniques into your daily teaching method.

1. Set up Your Classroom in a way That Encourages Positive Behavior

While it’s true that a lot of teachers have strayed away from the traditional, row-after-row classroom structure, you can take even more creative approaches that will establish an environment conducive to the PBS approach. First things first: Always take into account those students with special needs. A child with autism might be sensitive to noises or even smells that might not affect other kids, and this should be considered when choosing the right seating area for that child. A student with ADHD (attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder) will probably be much more easily distracted than other children and shouldn’t be located in a high traffic area. If you have a separate learning center in your classroom, make sure that it’s located in a quiet area that is relatively free from distractions. Finally, whatever the physical makeup of your room may be, consider space. Students should have enough of it to feel a certain freedom of movement, but providing too much of it may encourage them to run or engage in other physical play activity that’s undesirable inside the classroom.

Establishing clear rules of conduct is a vital positive behavior management technique for any classroom.

2. Establish Clear Rules of Conduct

A child can’t be expected to follow rules that he or she isn’t absolutely certain of. It’s vital that you clearly state what the rules for behavior are in the classroom. Better yet, create an attractive poster, bulletin board or behaviour matrix, with all rules clearly stated, and post it in an obvious place in the classroom. Leave it up throughout the school year or term, so there’s never any question in the minds of the students what will be expected of them. Be certain to follow the rules yourself and set a good example for the children. If a student violates a rule, be sure to correct him or her immediately – but do so in a positive manner that exhibits respect for the student.

3. Follow a Schedule

Change in routine can be hard for students (and adults, for that matter) and can create stress. Stress, in turn, can lead to bad behavior. For this reason, it’s important to establish a regular schedule for each day of the week, so that students know what to expect. Consider posting the daily schedule each morning, so it’s obvious what’s coming up during the course of the school day. If you anticipate a change in the schedule – a school assembly, for example – give your students as much warning as possible about the change before it happens. There will always be occasional unforeseen interruptions on some days, such as fire drills, but the more informed the students are about their daily schedules and anticipated changes, the more emotionally equipped they will be to exhibit positive behavior.

4. Provide Positive Reinforcement in a Consistent, Fair Manner

One of the basic tenets of positive behavior management techniques is to provide your students with positive reinforcement for a job well done. Whether that reinforcement comes in the form of simple verbal praise, or whether you choose some form of reward system with which to acknowledge their accomplishments, it’s critical that you provide positive reinforcement consistently and fairly. All of us who are educated and trained to be teachers understand the importance of treating students in a fair, unbiased manner, but doing so within a PBS approach can be challenging to even the most conscientious educator. Remember that each and every student – regardless of his or her past behaviors or academic achievements or failures – needs to be given credit for behaving in a positive manner. And it’s also important to not dole out praise too readily, because doing so will eventually make the praise meaningless to the student. Be sure that the child has truly earned your acknowledgment or reward before you give it.

Teaching students how to manage their own behavior is one of several effective positive behavior management techniques.

5. Teach Your Students to Manage Their Own Behavior

Ultimately, each of your students will leave your classroom and move on to another. What better preparation can you provide for them (not to mention the educators that will be teaching them in the future) than the ability to manage their own behaviors? Help each individual student to establish either a chart or a checklist with which they can track and monitor their own progress. Explain to your students what their goal should be, and allow each student to develop his or her own chart or checklist. Then, touch base with each student on a weekly basis to see how the self-monitoring is working.

Utilizing Positive Behavior Management Techniques with TeamYou

Considering its track record of success, it’s really no wonder that PBS is as popular as it is in schools throughout the US and beyond. By utilizing these positive behavior management techniques within your own classroom, you can make best use of the PBS approach yourself and provide your students with the opportunity to achieve success in their academic pursuits, as well as in their relationships with other people. Want to learn more? Contact us today and discover how TeamYou can help you with applying positive behavior management techniques in your classroom.

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