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Chapter 10 Meet Needs of Students with Challenging Behaviors. Positive Strategies for Difficult Situations. Sights to See Solving Social Problems. Resolving Conflict Smart Hearts: Social and Emotional Learning Overview

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chapter 10 meet needs of students with challenging behaviors

Chapter 10 Meet Needs of Students with Challenging Behaviors

Positive Strategies for Difficult Situations


Sights to See

Solving Social Problems

Resolving Conflict

Smart Hearts: Social and Emotional Learning Overview


These Kids Are Driving Me Crazy and I Don’t Know What to Do!!

  • Some Common Problems in Classrooms
  • Student is off task.
  • Talks during instruction.
  • Won’t sit still.
  • Attracts others’ attention and gets them off task.
  • Is unprepared for class.
  • Makes excuses to leave class.
  • Hits other students or the teacher.
  • Insults other students.
  • Acts belligerent.
  • Withdraws and does not want to participate.

Teachers on Dealing with Problem Behaviors

  • What Works?
  • Give students attention.
  • Encourage cooperative learning and play groups.
  • Teach in fun and engaging ways.
  • Study culture or “difference” of the week in the room to promote understanding and acceptance of differences.
  • Have students help make rules and structure learning activities in the classroom.
  • Have students help other students—use peer mediation, peer buddies, circles of friends.
  • Institute sharing time to talk about events in life.
  • Show concern and care.
  • Stop till student gets under control.
  • Emphasize group work. Ask “Do you need to . . . ?” Give options.

Teachers on Dealing with Problem Behaviors

  • What Does NOT Work!
  • Boring, unengaging teaching.
  • Extra assignments.
  • Yelling.
  • Lack of respect—lashing out rudely, nagging, pleading, begging.
  • Intimidation—misuse of power.
  • Punishment.
  • Detention and suspensions.

Quincy: A Student out of Control

  • I can’t do anything with him. He hits other students all the time!
  • When I took over the class I made it fun and inviting
  • He’s afraid and angry at home, treated with disrespect at school.
  • “The other teachers wanted to get rid of Quincy. Not my student!”
  • I built on his interests and gave him choices.
  • Quincy’s behavior began to change.
  • He began to do his academic work, and to learn.
  • The most improved award for Quincy

Creating a Positive, Student-Centered Approach


  • Use Punishmentand Rewards


  • Meet student needs: promoting learning and relationships
  • Do we try to control students through rewards and punishments?
  • Do we label them disturbed and get them out of our classes and into special education?
  • Or do we work to build relationships, care, and respect?

What do we know about punishment?


  • eliminates behaviors in the short run….if sufficiently strong and remains in place.
  • does not address underlying needs
  • allows distancing from the person punished
  • reduces or eliminates guilt, ensuring reliance on external force for change

Technical Understandings :

Rewards and Reinforcers

A reinforcer is a stimulus that results in a strengthening or reduction of a behavior

A reward is a stimulus that is used by someone in authority to attempt to control the behavior of another person

(Exception - we can give rewards to ourselves).


What do we know about


They . . .

  • punish
  • rupture relationships
  • ignore reasons for behavior
  • discourage risk taking
  • undermine intrinsic interest and motivation
  • encourage mediocrity
  • must be strongly desired
  • are effective only in the short run

Rewards and


‘work’ only with

continued use.

They don’t



Creating a Student-Centered School

Proactive Strategies

  • Positive rules (small #): like (1) Try, (2) be safe, (3) be kind, (4) work hard, and (5) be respectful
  • Understanding that problem behaviors reflect a need of a child.
  • Contracts to find new ways to act
  • Adults who can act as mediators and supporters to help children learn to develop solutions

Creating a Student-Centered School

Key School-wide Strategies

  • Building community in the school
  • Peer mediation and conflict resolution
  • Teaching students how to support one another through peer buddies and circles of support
  • Professional support—individual and group counseling, support groups
  • Mentors through such programs as Big Brothers and Big Sisters
  • A building support team
  • Interagency support and intervention for families

School Patterns In Dealing with

Behavioral Challenges

  • Chaos - reactive responses
  • Punishment and expulsion
  • Staff control
  • Rules and rewards
  • Community and positive behavior support

A Few Practical Tools

  • Daily emails to parents on progress
  • Weekly progress report
  • Mini conversations with students
  • A safe place that the student can work
  • Thinking about WHY the student is doing what he / she is doing
  • Circle of support
  • Hourly Progress Report

Key Strategies: The Foundation

  • Appreciation
  • Celebrations
  • Learning Social Skills in Community
  • Restorative Justice - Healing Hurt

Challenging Behaviors in the Classroom

What behaviors do we see?

  • Underachieving
  • Isolating
  • Distracting
  • Disruptive
  • Dangerous

What do they mean?

Behaviors communicate legitimate needsfor:

  • Survival
  • Love and Belonging
  • Power
  • Fun
  • Freedom

Traditional Behavior Management

Versus Positive Behavioral Support


. . . feel angry, confused,bored, hurt and may . . .

Teacher punishment& control

I am controlled,don’t understand,unstimulated so I . . .

. . . hurt myself or others, yell,cry, run around . . .

This works!! I express my anger, am less bored, express my hurt.

Vicious Cycles in Behavioral Challenges


Children With

Emotional & Behavioral Challenges

  • Need:
  • Care and love
  • Sense of belonging
  • Attention
  • Respect
  • Help learning positive ways to get needs and desires met
  • Encouragement
  • But often get:
  • Rejection
  • Clinically labeled
  • Segregation
  • Anger and punishment
  • Humiliation

BEHAVIORAL CHALLENGESKey Elements for Effective Practice

  • School-wide and classroom based, intentional strategies
  • Information more than power
  • Meet needs of children rather than control their behavior.
  • Build community & children’s resilience to PREVENT problems.

Journey to the Classroom

How Could We Not Try?

  • Wesley would hit, scream, and curse defiantly (a 1st grader!)
  • The whole school staff was pulling for Wesley!
  • Goal - keep him in school
  • Paraprofessional support
  • Fear of losing Wesley to segregated programs
  • Supported other children interacting with Wesley
  • Wesley re-entered the classroom and was doing better

Proactively Meeting Needs Of Students With Behavioral Challenges

  • Survival
  • Love
  • Power
  • Fun
  • Freedom

Information Power

Balancing Information and Power in Relationships


Communication Based on Respect or Control:

Philosophies at War in Practice


A Time for Power and Control

  • Understand and communicate our ‘non-negotiables’
  • When we must use our power do so respectfully:
    • Use caring, respectful tone of voice
    • Provide a reason why something is non-negotiable
    • Be respectful - “I know this is important to you”

Engaging the Classroom Community in Problem Solving

  • Classroom meetings - teacher facilitates students in discussing the problem and creating solutions
  • Circle of friends - students provide support to a student who is having difficulty
  • Peer and conflict mediation - students are trained to help other students work through conflicts under teacher supervision
  • Peer support - students act as peer buddies and supporters

Giving Students and Ourselves a Break

  • Students go to classrooms of other teachers
  • Ask assistance from a specialist - psychologist, special education teacher, etc.
  • Create a safe place within the classroom where a student can go and cool down
  • This is NOT the same thing as ‘time out’ or sending students to the office

Professional & Community Supports

  • Support groups for students - death in the family, drug abuse, pregnancy, etc.
  • Consultation - psychologist, social worker, special education teacher
  • Individual counseling
  • Group counseling

Engaging Parents in Partnership

  • Understand history of the family and child
  • Tell parents of challenges and ask opinion
  • Identify and build on strengths in the family (understanding all families have problems)
  • Communicate positive student attributes as well as problems
  • Be aware of family dynamics and potential for abuse

Selected Proactive Approaches to

Social and Behavioral Challenges


Individualized DifferentiationThe Behavior Intervention Plan

Step 1. Identify social and behavioral problems

Step 2. Develop a student-centered theory

Step 3. Develop and Implement the Plan

Step 4. Evaluate the Outcomes Together


Bumps in the Road

Suspensions and Detentions Don’t Work

  • Challenging students and negative educators yelling and disrespectful
  • In-school suspension is chaotic
  • Problem behaviors increased
  • Suspension is simply a vacation
  • If we treated students with respect and tried to help them it could be different. It was in my old school!

Behavior Challenges and IDEA…

  • Behavior plans considered in IEPs as needed.
  • Positive behavioral support encouraged
  • Up to 10 days suspension is allowed; can remove a child who brings a dangerous weapon to school up to 45 days if substantially likely to result in injury
  • Services to support progress in the general education curriculum must be provided after 10 days.

Behavior Challenges and IDEA…

  • Requires that a Behavior Intervention Plan based on a Functional Assessment be developed if the behavior is related to the disability.
  • A ‘manifest determination’ meeting is held to determine if this is the case. If not, a student with a disability may receive the same response that other students do.

Back Pack

Positive Approaches to Behavior Challenges

Reclaiming Youth Network

Research Center for Positive Behavior Support

Center for Effective Collaboration and Practice