Problem Behavior

Is the Honeymoon Over? Responding to Problem Behavior
Posted on 10/05/2016

Students have been in class for several weeks and the honeymoon period of compliant behavior may be over. With all the positive supports and interventions you have in place, you still may start noticing some challenging behaviors bubbling up to the surface. Students spend a good amount of their school day in our classrooms and data shows most disciplinary incidents start in the classroom, so you are not alone. These misbehaviors sometimes result in students removal from their instruction. Feelings of helplessness can overwhelm educators when faced with student misbehavior. There are ways to manage anxiety about these misbehaviors and provide supportive, positive environments for students.

There may be school system questions that need to be answered: What does your school data, over time, say about the incidents in your classroom and on your campus? What should your response be when your students have a minor incident? What happens when they have a major incident and how do you respond? There are certainly ways to respond to challenging behaviors without creating a power struggle or removing students from their learning environment. Knowing answers to the questions above will help your overall climate, but having tools at your fingertips NOW will be helpful while maintaining your positive classroom environment.

Supporting and Responding to Behavior: Evidence-Based Classroom Strategies for Teachers is an interactive guide that features an interactive map with corresponding tables, tips, and tools with content to support the implementation of the classroom strategies that will be most useful to you! The decision-making flow chart will help to guide you as you make decisions about adjustments needed for your specific classroom. The guide also provides a self-assessment tool and videos.

One strategy recommended in the guide is “using brief, contingent and specific error corrections to respond to problem behavior.” This strategy has the following four critical features:

This table is focused on the Critical Features, Elementary Examples, and Secondary Examples
Critical Features Elementary Example Secondary Example
An informative statement, typically provided by the teacher, is given when an undesired behavior occurs. It states the observed behavior and tells the student exactly what the student should do in the future “Please raise your hand before you call out an answer.” After a student has not started working within one minute, “Please begin your writing assignment.” Later, “Thank you for being responsible and starting your writing assignment.
Delivered in a brief, concise, calm, and respectful manner, typically in private “Please walk and keep your hands to yourself when we are walking to the library.” Later, “Thank you for using your walking feet and for keeping your hands to yourself.”

“Please keep the lab equipment on the table and use it for the experiment I just explained only”

Later, “Thank you for being safe with the lab equipment.”

Pair with specific contingent praise after the student engages in appropriate behavior    
Disengage at end of the error correction and redirection – avoid a “power struggle”    


Supporting and Responding to Behavior; Evidence-Based Classroom Strategies for Teachers

Kahoot – is a free game-based learning platform that makes it fun to learn – any subject, in any language, on any device, for all ages! Sign up for free, try these two as examples, and/ or make your own to help your class!

  1. Kahoot Example #1
  2. Kahoot Example #2

PBIS in the Classroom