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Models and Theories of Behavior Management. Danforth S., Boyle, J.(2000) Cases in behavior management Columbus: Ohio. Merrill Publishing. Social Systems Theory ( Ecological theory). No individual truly lives or stands alone.

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Models and theories of behavior management

Models and Theories of Behavior Management

Danforth S., Boyle, J.(2000) Cases in behavior management

Columbus: Ohio. Merrill Publishing

Social systems theory ecological theory
Social Systems Theory (Ecological theory)

No individual truly lives or stands alone.

  • People develop by adjustments between an individual and their changing social and physical environments.

  • People live within a number of ecological systems (contexts) classroom/school, family system, peer network, etc.

  • Persons behavior operates in congruence or harmony with their environment

  • Deviant behavior happens when there is a lack of congruence or lack of necessary behaviors and understanding from the child.

5 levels of an ecological context
5 Levels of an Ecological Context

  • The Individual- the changing and growing personal characteristics

    2. Interpersonal Relationships- patterns of personal interaction and communication.

    3. Relationships between systems-The interrelations between home and school, or home and a social service agency.

    4. Group Interaction- The manner in which systems relate to one another. If a parent loses a job, may influence a child to feel anxiety and fear.

    5. Society- What is bad behavior vs. good behavior? Each day institutions and settings are making and remaking cultural norms. Cultural norms reflect the belief and value system of dominant groups… alternative norms are constructed by persons and groups that disagree with dominant and socially mandated ways

Thinking like a social systems theorist ecological
Thinking like a Social Systems Theorist (Ecological)

  • Goal to help children improve their behavior and gain greater control over what they do.

    • Student has negative and disruptive behaviors

      • Individual- teacher teaches student what anger is.

      • Interpersonal relationships- teacher plans a number of times during the week to spend personal time.

      • Relationship between systems- teacher talks with mother extensively, shares ideas and concerns

      • Group Interactions- teacher arranges for mother and student to meet with guidance counselor.


  • Scientific modification of observable behaviors.

  • Behaviors are viewed as responses that occur in relation to specific stimuli in the environment.

  • Environmental factors dictate an individual’s behavior

Thinking like a behaviorist
Thinking like a Behaviorist

  • 1. What is the specific behavior that is problematic?

  • 2. Under what conditions does this behavior occur?

  • 3. What are conditions or events that tend to occur in conjunction with this behavior?

  • 4. What is available that is viewed as rewarding by the individual?

  • 5. Who can systematically and consistently provide the rewards and how can this be arranged?

The reason behavior happens

The reason behavior happens…

the behavior is rewarded


the behavior has failed to be rewarded


the behavior has been punished

The function of a behavior is a response to stimuli
The function of a behavior… is a response to stimuli

  • Interventions are designed to modify/ change behavior by promoting or discouraging a behavior.

  • We do this by carefully studying the stimuli. We use the principles of reinforcement.

Five basic principles of reinforcement
Five basic Principles of Reinforcement

  • Reinforcement must only be presented when the target behavior is exhibited.

  • Reinforce immediately after the target behavior is exhibited.

  • Target behavior must be reinforced every time it is exhibited.

  • Once target behavior has been increased to the desired level, reinforcement occur on an intermittent level.

  • Tangible reinforcers should be accompanied by social reinforcers.

Psychodynamic model
Psychodynamic Model

  • Looks primarily inside the individual

  • Daily priority of building trustful relationships

  • Neo-freudian, Long, Redl, Wineman, George, Morse

  • Foster the development of self-esteem, personal insight, self control and social skills

Psychodynamic continued
Psychodynamic (continued)

  • Focuses on developing the individual’s insight and how feelings are acted out in their behaviors. Individuals have options in understanding their feelings and find ways of having them that are healthy.

  • Trusting relationships- adults able to give support to help individual become more self-determined.

  • Behaviors are the “’tip of the iceberg”, pieces of the surface evidence that must be interpreted to find the emotions beneath.

Thinking in a psychodynamic manner
Thinking in a Psychodynamic manner…

  • 1. What difficult feelings is the child or adolescent experiencing (anger, sadness, frustration) when they misbehave?

  • 2. Why is the child or adolescent feeling this? (What is going on the moment or in the person’s life that stirs these feelings?)

  • 3. Is there a way to arrange for the child or adolescent to move away from the situation and cool down at the time these difficult feelings rise up?

  • 4. Is there a way to arrange for an adult, that the adolescent views as caring and trustworthy, to provide support and talk privately with them?

  • 5. Is there a way to increase the number and quality of trusting, caring relationships with adults in this individual’s life?

Surface interventions behavior influencing techniques redl wineman
Surface Interventions- behavior influencing techniques (Redl/Wineman)

  • Planned ignoring

  • Signal interference

  • Proximity control

  • Tension reduction through humor

  • Program restructuring

  • Support from routine

  • Direct appeal

  • Removal of seductive objects

  • Physical restraint

Environmental model
Environmental Model

  • Behavior is described as a function of the individual within the environment.

  • Focuses on the development of specific aspects within an individual’s immediate environment (home, school, neighborhood) that provide structure, support, vitality and regularity.

  • What a person does cannot be separated from the context in which it happens.

Thinking like an environmentalist
Thinking like an environmentalist…

  • For each of the recent incidents of misbehavior/conflict, describe the physical setting, time of day, activity and participants.

  • Are there any repeated patterns pertaining to the incidents/conflict?

  • Does the group/individual experiencing the behavior problems have any discomfort with the setting, time schedule, activity or participants?

  • Are there any patterns in how certain settings, times of day, activities or participants provoke or promote the problematic behavior?

  • What is your own role(teacher) as a powerful element of the social context in contributing to or improving upon this problem situation?

Models and theories of behavior management

  • Are activities of the day,(week, month, year) arranged to promote emotional comfort, cooperative behavior and personal fulfillment?

Physical space
Physical Space

  • Are physical objects(chairs, tables desks,lighting, etc.) arranged to promote bodily comfort, emotional ease, concentration to task, constructive communication and positive relationships with others?

Patterns of human interactions
Patterns of Human Interactions

  • How do the current habits and rules of the group/individual promote or not promote the desired behaviors (cooperation, attention to task , etc.) ?

    • Daily sequences of behaviors that are often maintained within habits or rules.

    • Habits are patterns that are usually repeated each day.

    • Rules

      • Explicit-posted in class, authority figures enforce

      • Implicit-informal/unofficial, cultural codes, manners, student created,society created, etc.

Constructivist model
Constructivist Model

  • Children are active constructors of personal and social meaning, not passive receptacles.

  • Constantly constructing personal knowledge about themselves and the world.

  • Emphasizes development of moral autonomy.

  • All behavior, appropriate/inappropriate is meaningful and important.

  • Persons in a common culture or subculture(classroom) borrow ideas,beliefs and words from each other.

Thinking like a constructivist
Thinking like a constructivist…

  • Describe the qualities of (dis)connectedness, (dis)unity and (un)caring within the community/classroom/group where the problem behavior occurs.

  • How do you think the lack of (dis)connectedness (dis)unity and (un)caring within the community/classroom/group has encouraged or precipitated this behavior problem?

  • Does the individual(s) feel respected and loved with in the community or group? Why not?

Models and theories of behavior management

  • How is the power distributed (equally? Unequally?) and used (respected, disrespected)?

    How could power distribution and use influence behavior?

  • How can the sense of connectedness, unity and caring be improved in such a way as to provide better support for the person(s) experiencing behavior problems?

Three ways to develop the class 1 moral autonomy
Three Ways to develop the class: 1. Moral Autonomy

  • An individual’s ongoing sense of self as a responsible moral agent, a concerned evaluator of what is good and what is bad in each life situation.

    • Reciprocal respect- people treated with respect often reciprocate with respect.

    • Related consequences or punishments must be logically related to the misbehavior, then the student is more likely to learn a desirable lesson.

    • Effective Communication- open, free of judgments, shaming. Uses active listening and collaborative problem solving.(psychodynamic)

2 caring
2. Caring

  • The one characteristic of the gifted teacher was that they cared.

  • Caring is a quality of ethical, human connection in which each person is genuinely invested in the well-being of the other(s)

    • Power over”- Top down, authoritarian control relies on coercive rewards, punishments and threats, coercion=short term compliance

    • “Power with”- adults share decision making with children, they are invited to an ongoing and open dialogue. Decisions are based on what is best for the group.

3 community building
3. Community Building

  • Social cohesion that fosters many forms of human diversity.

  • Can not be mandated by rules.

  • Teacher reflects on distribution of power and quality of all interactions.

  • Goal to lead the group to become caring equals, collaborators who are personally involved in creating the community.

  • Creation of a “classroom covenant”- a solemn agreement that is gradually discussed and negotiated by all participants.