A School-Wide Positive Behavior System
The Backbone of the Positive Behavior Supports Inquiry Group
Whenever we hear the word behavior or the behavior student we don’t usually think of positive behaviors. In fact, the label of behavior student is not generally a compliment. When you think of a child at your school that is labeled as the “behavior kid,” most often we are thinking of a child who misbehaves and presents challenging behaviors. This is because the word behavior has negative connotations. This year The Positive Behavior Supports Inquiry Group worked to take the word “behavior” out of its negative context and focus on positive behavior. It’s been our experience that this has been a very challenging shift in mindsets. This is a completely different way of looking at the loaded word, “behavior.”
As a group we came to realize that the behavior student, or the student who misbehaves, probably lacks skills that we, as educators, need to teach. We wrapped our heads around the idea that children really want to succeed and will do well if they can. We believe that children do not “want” to misbehave, and will display appropriate behavior when they are taught the expectations.
In summary, our inquiry group accepted and worked with these two core ideas around Positive Behavior:
1: Teach the behavior
As educators we need to teach students the expected or desired behavior. We must do so by modeling and reinforcing, just as we teach any academic subject. Behavior needs to become part of our curriculum! For example, instead of asking a student to “stop hitting,” we could teach the student self-regulation skills.
2: Change the environment
As educators we need to be willing to change the environment to promote positive behavior. For example, if a student can not sit still during an entire mini-lesson, we could work a break system into the schedule.
We taught behavior and changed the school environment in order to build prosocial behavior in students. With this said, as a group we were able to build practices across classroom and school-wide settings and build more positive behavioral outcomes in students. The rest of my inquiry will focus on the school-wide positive behavior system I started at my school.