You are on page 1of 5


Chapter 10: Developing Individual Behavior Change Plans

Behavior Management in Perspective
Some teachers have viewed behavioristic methods as complex, time
consuming approach that nevertheless held the answer to their
discipline problems; while other teachers have viewed behaviorism as
a manipulative, overly repressive approach to working with struggling
Behaviorism can be used to help teachers better understand students
behaviors and assist students in developing more responsible
classroom behavior.
Basic Assumptions Underlying Behavioristic Interventions
Behaviorism is based on three major assumptions
1. Behavior influenced by the antecedents and consequences
associated with the behavior.
o Students cannot be reinforced for producing a behavior unless
they possess the ability to perform the behavior. Therefore,
we must create positive environments in which students will
risk trying new behaviors and must systematically provide
students with assistance in gradually developing new skills
2. Behavior change programs must focus on specific, observable
o Focusing on observable behavior that can be counted is the
first step in developing a program for systematically altering a
students behavior.
3. Data collection is necessary in order to alter behavior thoughtfully
and systematically.
o Effective teachers base their academic instructional program
on assessment activities that indicate the specific skills their
students possess.
o Data collection allows us to evaluate an intervention designed
to change a students behavior.
o By collecting new data, we can notice small but significant
changes in a students behavior.
Understanding What Cases Student Behavior: Conducting A Classroom
Behavior Assessment
When a student experiences behavior problems, rather than blaming
the students, educators will be more effective in helping students
develop productive behaviors if they carefully examine school and
classroom environments to determine factors that may be contributing
to the students anxiety, frustration, and unproductive behavior.

Creating a supportive learning environment, it is imperative that

educators determine any social skills the students may lack that are
essential to functioning effectively in the school environment.
Completing a functional behavior assessment process involves four
o A functional assessment
o A positive behavior change plan
o The implementation of this plan
o The ongoing monitoring and adjustment of this plan
Collecting information to determine why the undesirable behavior is
occurring is the first step in conducting a classroom behavior
assessment. A classroom behavior assessment will always involve
direct observation to collect data regarding events or factors that are
associated with the behavior to be changed.
May also include indirect methods such as interviews with the
students, parents, and other teachers who work with or have taught
the students, counselors, administrators, and instructional assistants.
It is extremely valuable to analyze a students classroom behavior
systematically and specifically.

Strategies for Helping Students Develop New Behavior Skills

Self-monitoring, helps students count and record their own behavior
Social skills training, involves teaching students new skills for meeting
their needs
Developing a form of agreement or contract to help motivate them to
use skills that are in their repertoire but which they find difficult to use.
Students have a basic need to be viewed positively and to
demonstrate their competence and power by controlling their own
Self-monitoring involves assisting a student or a group of students
establishing a system for monitoring and recording their own
Self-monitoring has been reported in the literature for more than 30
years and has been found effective in changing a wide range of
specific unproductive behaviors with a diverse population of students,
including students with ADHD, learning disabilities, emotional and
behavior disorders, autism spectrum disorders, and in both general
education and special education settings.
1. Ensure that the students can accurately describe the behavior.
2. Develop a method for tallying the data

3. Implementing and self-monitoring

4. The student meeting with an adult to assess the progress the student
is making.
5. Providing students with some form of reinforcement
Although self-monitoring can provide excellent results by itself, it is
often combined with strategies such as self-instruction, self-evaluation,
and self-reinforcement.
One approach to helping students respond more effectively to
frustration and stress is to teach them to give themselves verbal
instructions that cue them to behave more appropriately.
According to the principles of rational-emotive therapy, students
behaviors can be changed by helping them make positive, thoughtful
internalized statements in place of the negative, unproductive
statements they often make.
Another approach to self-instruction involves teaching skills in selfrelaxation. This can be accomplished by the teacher or counselor
initially providing direct instruction in how to relax.
Relaxation can be also used in association with cognitive rehearsal.
Before beginning an activity that might evoke anxiety or inappropriate
students behavior, we can have students close their eyes and go into
a relaxed state.
Social Skills Training
Social skills training is currently being used in many formats. First,
school staff may implement social skills training in all classrooms as
part of a school-wide plan to provide students with pro-social skills.
Some schools have grade-level teams develop social skills specifically
needed by their students.
Many schools provide small-group social skills instruction for students
who appear to be lack specific social skills
School staff uses social skills training to provide individual children with
one-on-one assistance in developing skills they will need to more
effectively respond to specific situations in which they have
experienced serious or persistent behavior problems.
Developing Contracts
A behavior contract is an agreement between two or more parties
indicating the manner in which one or more of the parties will behave
in a given situation.
Behavior contracts provide a specific, often written, agreement
designating the exact behavior(s) each individual will display.

Frequently indicate the specific reinforcement or consequence

associated with performing or failing to perform the behaviors listed in
the contract.
Behavior contracts help students commit to demonstrating a specific
behavior, it is important to realize that this behavior must already exist
in the students repertoire.

Negotiating a Contract
An effective behavior contract includes a statement about each of
these variables:
1. What is the contracts goal? Why has the contract been developed?
2. What specific behaviors must the student perform in order to
receive the rewards or incur the agreed-on consequences?
3. What reinforces or consequences will be employed?
4. What are the time dimensions?
5. Who will monitor the behavior and how will it be monitored?
6. How often and with whom will the contract be evaluated?
Behavior contracts can be presented to students in many forms. Shortterm contracts with elementary school students need not to include
each of these six components.
The important factor is that the student clearly understands the
Travel Cards as a Form of Contract
Travel card usually involves a students carrying a card throughout the
day and having it signed or initialed by each teacher with whom the
student works during that day.
The card most often have a set of behaviors the students is attempting
to improve across the top of the horizontal axis and the setting/classes
where the behaviors will be monitored down the vertical axis.
Selecting Reinforcement Procedures and Consequences
Just as problem-solving approaches should be implemented before
using behavioristic methods, you should begin your contractual
interventions with the least restrictive and most natural types of
reinforces and consequences.
Teachers should initially use social and activity reinforces that are a
normal part of the school day and are available to all students.
Token reinforcers that are a normal part of the school life since we
frequently provide token reinforcers in the form of grades, points
earned on tests, or promises to provide a reward if students behavior
appropriately for a designated period.
Social Reinforcement

Social reinforcement refers to behaviors of other people that tend to

increase the frequency with which a student emits a behavior.
When systematically using social reinforcement as a method for
improving students behaviors, you should develop skill in employing a
wide range of reinforcers, learn how to give reinforcement, and learn
when to use it.
Be careful to reinforce specific behaviors.

Activity Reinforcement
Because social reinforcement is not powerful enough reinforcer to bring
about prompt or significant change for all students we need to use
other forms of reinforcers.
First step in activity reinforcement is to list activities that students find
reinforcing. Students enjoy being involved in this process and often
offer creative and surprising ideas.
The second step is to develop a contract stipulating what the student
must do to obtain the activity reinforcer.
The problem of delay gratification that is frequently associated with
activity reinforcers can be dealt with by gradually extending the time a
student must wait in order to receive the award.
A Team Approach to Developing a Positive Behavior Change Plan
Developing a Positive Behavior Change Plan
The teams responsibility is to create a behavior intervention plan that
will assist the student in meeting his or her needs without using the
behaviors that have been violating others rights and harming the
students ability to learn.
An effective process includes these seven steps:
1. Determine the specific student behaviors that need to be changed
2. Conduct a functional behavior assessment
3. Determine changes that need to be made in the school environment
in order to support the student
4. Determine the strategies to be used to assist the student in
developing new behavioral skills
5. Assign responsibility to staff for implementing each intervention
6. Determine the data to be collected for the purpose of assessing the
effectiveness of interventions
7. Set a date to review the program.