For schools and teachers to create a safe, equitable, and positive school experience for students, they should work to create a school-wide positive behaviour support plan. Positive behaviour support plans provide students with a set of expectations that allow them to be motivated and create positive classroom behaviour through positive supports. It can be a daunting idea to implement a school-wide plan but in five easy steps, the school can create a school environment that allows students to thrive.
Establish and Teach Positively Stated Expectations
The first step to implementing a behaviour support plan is to use a matrix approach to establish and teach positively stated expectations. Students work best when they know what is expected of them. This means teachers should avoid grey areas and know to make expectations clear for students. Teachers can use the plan to guide expectations and explain to their classes what is expected of students. These expectations include:
- How to enter the classroom,
- How to turn in homework or class assignments,
- Where to put class materials,
- Expectations on class participation,
- Requesting teacher assistance,
- Completing independent assignments and tests,
- Working with a partner,
- Expectations when there is a visitor in the classroom.
When implementing a behaviour system, all expectations should be explained in a positive manner. Instead of implementing a rule stating: “Don’t run in the hallways”, teachers should spin the expectation in a positive manner, for example say: “Walk in the hallways.” This simple change of the phrase gives students the correct way to behave rather than telling them not to act.
Provide Specific, Contingent Praise
When implementing a behaviour system, all expectations should be explained in a positive manner. Once the expectations are laid out, teachers should give students specific praise when they are behaving in a positive manner. Instead of calling out a student for misbehaving, a teacher should point out the positive behaviours of students.
For example, if a student is off-task in the classroom, it is common for teachers to call out the student for their behaviour. Instead, teachers should point out a student who is on-task and praise them for their behaviour. By doing so, it prompts the off-task student without needing to negatively put them down.
Implement Group Contingency Reinforcement Systems
By implementing group contingency reinforcement systems, teachers can utilize tier one behaviour supports that can be provided to all students.
In a group reinforcement system, teachers can set a goal for their classroom or provide positive rewards to students when the class archives a specific accomplishment. For example, a teacher might provide extra recess or activity time if every student turns in their weekly homework. This gives students the chance to rely on each other and to motivate one another.
Staying consistent and keeping one’s word is an important component to getting this type of system to work for the class. Only reward students when they clearly achieve the outlined goals.
Implement Individual Reinforcement Systems
When a class or student is struggling with group contingency systems, the teacher can implement an individual reinforcement system that can assist to motivate the student. Individual reinforcement systems may be needed for students who exhibit a higher frequency of challenging behaviours compared to their peers.
When using an individual system of positive support, teachers are able to find the mode of reward that works best for the student. Adding an extra layer of support may help scaffold the student to then respond to the group reinforcement plan.
Apply In-Class Responses to Inappropriate Behaviour
When teachers notice inappropriate behaviours, it is imperative that teachers respond in a consistent manner. By letting some students get away with challenging behaviour while responding to another student that exhibits the same behaviour causes confusion about what is appropriate and what is not. By responding in a consistent manner, teachers demonstrate to students the exact behaviour that is inappropriate and the consequence that follows it.
Behaviour support plans are designed with the primary goal of teaching children positive behaviours and modifying their environments so that they may learn from their choices and be held accountable for their actions. Educators should use this application of positive support to develop, establish, and maintain a productive, safe atmosphere. In this manner, all members of the school community have a clear knowledge of their participation in the process of learning.
Educators should actively teach, model, and reinforce our schoolwide expectations. These standards should be clearly and explicitly communicated to children by their teachers, and they should be rewarded often for their good behaviour with praise and rewards. The application of consistent consequences and positive reinforcement should be available to all students.
By detailing expected behaviour, educators can provide a common language for all pupils and will maintain a school community in which all members feel safe to learn and do their personal best. Bullying behaviours should be clearly addressed in school standards and behaviour matrices, as well as strategies for providing a safer school atmosphere and allowing for more educational activities.
With this system, all students learn essential academic and school-wide behavioural objectives by benefiting from several structured and individualized techniques. By employing fundamental strategies, this method assists learners in accomplishing crucial social and academic goals. School-wide procedures and collective objectives based on data strengthen school culture therefore enhancing student’s attitudes on motivation toward academic achievement. When effective instruction and good behaviour are combined, pupils achieve greater success in their academic development.
If you would like to learn more about how Behaviour Help can support and assist teachers in schools and colleges, please visit our support for educators page. You will find a range of positive behaviour support resources geared towards education professionals.