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Maximizing Effectiveness Using Positive Behavior Support Methods in the Classroom: Basic Principals of Behavior (Extended Version). Objectives. Identify basic principles of behavior Understand the ABC’s of behavior Understand the functions of behavior. Truth or Myth Activity.

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Maximizing Effectiveness Using Positive Behavior Support Methods in the Classroom:Basic Principals of Behavior(Extended Version)

  • Identify basic principles of behavior
  • Understand the ABC’s of behavior
  • Understand the functions of behavior
truth or myth activity
Truth or Myth Activity
  • T/M Behavior plans that primarily focus on extinguishing problem behaviors are most effective
  • T/M Behavior can be interpreted as functional, (often communicative), purposeful, and meaningful for the person
  • T/M Children usually know what’s expected of them; they just choose not to do it
  • T/M Behavior changes as people mature and develop new competencies
  • T/M Problem behavior can fulfill a need or serve as a form of communication for the person
  • T/M Problem behaviors are caused by a child’s disability
  • T/M Behavior is affected by factors outside its immediate context
  • T/M Labeling behavior as manipulative or aggressive is useful in designing behavior interventions
  • T/M When developing a behavior plan, family involvement is only needed when problem behaviors at school are extreme
behavior defined
Behavior Defined
  • Anything we SAY or DO
  • It is HOW WE REACT to our environment
  • Behaviors are often LEARNED and continue because they serve a PURPOSE or FUNCTION
  • We engage in behaviors because we have learned that a DESIRED OUTCOME occurs
behavior principles
Behavior Principles
  • Behaviors occur because they are signaled by an event in the environment (antecedent) and reinforced by consequences
behavior principles1
Behavior Principles
  • Behaviors that lead to satisfying outcomes are likely to be repeated; behaviors that lead to undesired outcomes are less likely to be repeated
children and behavior
Children and Behavior
  • Some children use problem behavior to communicate their wants and needs
  • Problem behavior often interferes with learning
  • PBS helps us understand the PURPOSE/FUNCTION of the problem behavior and teaches children the necessary or appropriate skills to replace the problem behaviors
the abc s of behavior
The ABC’s of Behavior:
  • A = Antecedent
  • B = Behavior
  • C = Consequence
the abc s of behavior1
The ABC’s of Behavior:
  • Understanding the function of behavior is the first step in changing the behavior
  • Understanding comes from repeated observation of:
  • A– Antecedent (stimulus/trigger before the behavior)

B – Behavior (the observable and measurable act)

C – Consequence (occurrence after the behavior that serves to maintain or increase frequency of behavior)

how to describe antecedents
How to Describe Antecedents?
  • Antecedents are events that happen before the behavior
  • There are two types of antecedents:
    • Slow triggers
    • Fast triggers
slow triggers
Slow Triggers
  • May happen in or out of the classroom
  • Conditions that increase the likelihood that behavior will occur
    • Oversleeping
    • Medication or lack of medication
    • No breakfast
    • Conflict with…
examples of slow triggers
Examples of Slow Triggers
  • On the week of standardized testing, it will be more likely that fights will occur in the cafeteria.
  • If Casey gets less than four hours of sleep the night before, it is very likely she will throw herself on the ground and cry as soon as she gets off the bus.
fast triggers
Fast Triggers
  • Examples:
    • Changes to regularly scheduled events due to bomb threats, fire drills etc…
    • Teasing/sarcasm/threats
    • Challenged by other
  • May be consistent
    • Special Assembly Days
  • May be unique to one situation
    • Field trips to the zoo
examples of fast triggers
Examples of Fast Triggers
  • If 7th graders are asked to participate in an assembly with the 8th graders, it is more likely that major disruptions will occur.
  • If Jeff sits next to Stuart during small group activities, it is very likely Jeff will shout profanities and leave the classroom.
what is the consequence of the behavior
What is the Consequenceof the Behavior?
  • What is the pay-off?
  • What does the student get?
  • What does the student avoid?
behavior principles2
Behavior Principles
  • Behavior is affected by its consequences
    • EX: Emily raises her hand. Emily’s teacher calls on her to share for show and tell.
  • Behavior is strengthened or maintained by reinforcement
    • EX: Adam correctly completes his assignments. He is allowed extra time on the computer.
behavior principles3
Behavior Principles
  • Behavior is weakened by withholding consequences (usually social) that have maintained it
    • EX: Rylee constantly fidgets and taps her pencil to get the teacher’s attention. Instead of scolding her, the teacher gives positive attention to another student sitting quietly.
behavior principles4
Behavior Principles
  • Consequences must consistently and immediately follow the behaviors they are meant to control
    • EX: Jacob holds up his break card while sitting at his desk. Within 5 seconds, Jacob’s teacher gives him permission to take a break.
behavior principles5
Behavior Principles
  • Also, behavior can be strengthened, weakened, or maintained by modeling
    • EX: Jenny’s mom says “thank you” every time she pays for lunch at McDonald’s. Jenny says “thank you” every time she pays for lunch at school.

What Is the Consequence of the Behavior?


Reinforcement: Likely to continue

Likely won’t reoccur in same situation

No reoccurrence (usually), called extinction




functions of behavior
Functions of Behavior
  • The purpose or reason the behavior occurred
  • Why is it important for us to know the function/purpose of the problem behavior?
    • To understand why the behavior is occurring
    • To find an appropriate replacement behavior
    • To develop the best behavior support plan
    • To target the appropriate antecedents and consequences
functions of behavior1
Functions of Behavior
  • Behavior has two major functions:
    • To get something
      • To get a preferred task or activity
      • To get the attention of an adult or peer
      • To get a specific item or object
    • To get away from something (avoid)
      • To get away from a specific task or activity
      • To get away from an adult or child
      • To get away from a specific item or object
functions of behavior2
Functions of Behavior





(objects & activities)


functions of behavior3
Functions of Behavior
  • One behavior can have multiple functions
    • Example: John can hit at home in order to get out of cleaning his room and other times he can hit in order to get adult attention.
functions of behavior4
Functions of Behavior
  • Several behaviors can have the same function
    • Example: John can use multiple behaviors such as hitting, screaming, and running away in order to get out of cleaning his room.
functions of behavior5
Functions of Behavior
  • Remember, the goal is to understand the function or purpose of the problem behavior in order to develop an effective behavior support plan


Mrs. Do Onto Others’ class is outside preparing to play a game of T-ball. The students were told to go behind home plate. “Okay, let’s all take turns hitting the ball,” she says. All of the children except Larry scrambled for a place in line so they could have a turn. Larry is somewhat overweight, has poor motor skills, and wears thick glasses for nearsightedness. When the teacher noticed that he had left the group, she looked around frantically before spotting him stacking bats against a shed. “Larry, if you can’t be a team player, go back inside with Ms. Johns.” Larry hurries into Mrs. Johns’ class.



Demi and several other students were told they couldn’t play with the play dough because there wasn’t enough to go around, and they needed to color instead. As the other children were playing with their play dough, Demi walked over, took the play dough from another student’s hand, and put it in her desk. Then, using her fist, she bashed the play dough figures of the classmate sitting next to her. When the student protested, the teacher came over and told Demi to apologize to the student. She allowed Demi to keep the play dough.