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Strategies for Reluctant Learners. Heather Peshak George, Ph.D. Carie English, Ph.D. University of South Florida. Topics. Current research Readiness Tools Better preparing schools and districts Successful activities with reluctant to change or low performers Schools Faculty.

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strategies for reluctant learners

Strategies forReluctant Learners

Heather Peshak George, Ph.D.

Carie English, Ph.D.

University of South Florida

  • Current research
  • Readiness Tools
    • Better preparing schools and districts
  • Successful activities with reluctant to change or low performers
    • Schools
    • Faculty
recent research on implementation
Reasons for Attrition

Childs, K., Kimhan, C.K., & Kincaid, D. (2007). Examining Reasons for Attrition from Implementing an Evidence Based Program in Florida’s Schools, Fourth International Conference on Positive Behavior Support, Boston, MA.


Kincaid, D., Childs, K., Wallace, F, & Blase, K. (2007). Identifying Barriers and Facilitators in Implementing School-wide Positive Behavior Support, Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions 9(3), 174-184.

School-Wide Implementation Factors (SWIF)

Cohen, Rachel (2006). Implementing School-wide Positive Behavior Support: Influence of Socio-Cultural, Academic, Behavioral and Implementation of Process Variables. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida.

Recent Research on Implementation
attrition results childs kimhan kincaid 2007
Attrition Results(Childs, Kimhan & Kincaid, 2007)
  • High rates of Turnover in schools
  • Lack of Time
    • Administrator
    • Team
    • Staff
  • Lack of Commitment
    • Administrator
    • Team
    • Staff
barriers kincaid childs wallace blase 2007
Barriers(Kincaid, Childs, Wallace & Blase, 2007)

High Implementing Schools

Low Implementing Schools

Philosophical shifts


Lack of implementation fidelity - demonstration of outcomes


Developing effective reward systems

Administrative support

Consistency of


Collaborating with district & other schools

Teacher Resistance

Knowledge of next steps


enablers kincaid childs wallace blase 2007
Enablers(Kincaid, Childs, Wallace & Blase, 2007)
  • Support from State Project
  • Training staff & students in PBS
  • Support from district, principal, coaches
  • Buy-in (staff, students)
  • A representative/cohesive/committed team
  • Regular team meetings
  • Funding
  • Student input
swif which of these factors predict swpbs implementation cohen 2006
SWIF: Which of these factors predict SWPBS implementation? (Cohen, 2006)

Socio-cultural Factors

SES School size

Ethnicity Teacher: student ratio

Student stability Teacher education

% w/ disability % Out-of-field teachers

Process Variables

Administrative support

Coach’s self-efficacy

Effective team functioning

Behavioral Indicators*

% students who received an:

in-school suspension (ISS)

out-of-school suspension (OSS)

office discipline referral (ODR)

Academic Indicator*

% students

below grade level in reading

*In the year prior to beginning implementation

How People Learn

Average retention rate








National Training Laboratories –Bethel Maine

sources of motivation for adult learners hieneman 2007
Sources of Motivationfor Adult Learners (Hieneman, 2007)
  • Social relationships: to make new friends, to meet a need for associations and friendships
  • External expectations: to comply with instructions from someone else; to fulfill the expectations or recommendations of someone with formal authority
  • Social welfare: to improve ability to serve mankind, prepare for service to the community
  • Personal advancement: to achieve higher status in a job, secure professional advancement, and stay abreast of competitors.
  • Escape/Stimulation: to relieve boredom, provide a break in the routine of home or work
  • Cognitive interest: to learn for the sake of learning, seek knowledge for its own sake, and to satisfy an inquiring mind
  • (From PRINCIPLES OF ADULT LEARNING By Stephen Lieb, Senior Technical Writer and Planner, Arizona Department of Health Services and part-time Instructor, South Mountain Community College from VISION, Fall 1991)
barriers against participating in learning hieneman 2007
Barriers AgainstParticipating in Learning (Hieneman, 2007)
  • lack of time, money, confidence,
  • lack of interest
  • lack of information about opportunities to learn
  • scheduling problems, "red tape"
  • problems with child care and transportation
  • (From PRINCIPLES OF ADULT LEARNING By Stephen Lieb, Senior Technical Writer and Planner, Arizona Department of Health Services and part-time Instructor, South Mountain Community College from VISION, Fall 1991)
optimism training hieneman 2007
Optimism Training(Hieneman, 2007)
  • Situation: Triggers to negative thinking
  • Belief: Unproductive thought patterns
  • Consequences: Results of negative thinking
  • Disputation: Accuracy/Usefulness of beliefs(Distraction: Thought stopping)
  • Substitution: More productive self-talk
  • Reorientation: New overall perspectiveSeligman, M. E. P. (1998). Learned Optimism: How to change your mind and your life. New York: Pocket Books.
preliminary results hieneman 2007
Preliminary Results(Hieneman, 2007)
  • Significant decreases in problem behavior for the children of all participants who complete the sessions
  • No change in pessimism scores, regardless of condition
  • Participants in the optimism condition are more likely to finish, and complete the sessions in less time
next steps
Next Steps
  • Examinations thus far have utilized participants who are to some extent still implementing the program in question.
  • A population still implementing with low-fidelity may be characteristically different from those that fail to adopt all together.
  • So what seems to be working?
district readiness
District Readiness
  • Overview DVD
  • Overview presentations
    • solicit interest
    • build awareness
  • District Readiness Checklist
district readiness checklist
District Readiness Checklist
  • District Coordinator identified
  • Awareness presentation
  • District Leadership Team identified
    • Commit to meet at least annually
    • Commit to attend training
    • Complete district action planning*
  • PBS Coaches identified
  • Funding secured
  • District Strategic Plan
  • Superintendent Letter of Support
  • SWIS III awareness
  • Permission to share data
district action planning
Current Status


Leadership Team/Enroll



Visibility & Political Support

Training Capacity

Coaching Capacity




Three Years

One Year

Three Months

First Steps

District Action Planning
school readiness
School Readiness
  • School Readiness Packet
    • Letter to Administrator
    • School Readiness Checklist*
    • School Commitment Form
    • Initial Benchmarks of Quality
    • New School Profile
    • PBS in Today’s Schools: Frequently Asked Questions
    • Coaches’ Responsibilities
    • Suggestions for Funding Efforts
    • Overview DVD
    • Project Brochure
    • Project Newsletter
school readiness checklist
School Readiness Checklist
  • Awareness presentation
  • Majority interested
  • Team formed
  • Establish ongoing team meetings
  • Pre-assessments completed
  • Principal commitment and active participant
  • School Improvement Plan
  • Secured funding
  • Identified District Coordinator
  • Identified PBS Coach
pre training steps
Pre-Training Steps
  • Administrator must express buy-in
  • Identify volunteers for team
    • May or may not have staff presentation
  • Form team
  • Team identifies areas to target in upcoming year
    • Buy-in, specific setting, parent support
    • Use data
  • Formulate implementation plan
small scale implementation
Small Scale Implementation
  • Have an implementation plan
    • Team meetings
    • Weekly, monthly rewards
    • Least amount of work for faculty
  • Focus on one setting or behavior
    • Use data to determine starting point
  • Small reward component
building staff buy in
Building Staff Buy-In
  • Main focus of activities prior to training
  • May take a year or longer to obtain 80%
  • Ensure involvement of all stakeholders
    • Parents
    • Students
getting keeping and maintaining staff buy in
Getting, Keeping, and Maintaining Staff Buy-In
  • Least amount of work for those not on team
  • Big bang effect—small focus with largest effect
  • Share data and celebrate success
  • Reward staff behavior
  • Survey staff AND make changes based on survey results
student parent faculty input
Student, Parent, & Faculty Input
  • What are the top behavior concerns on campus?
  • What consequences should be used for problem behavior?
  • What expectations and rules should the school focus on?
  • What types of rewards should the school use?
student and parent involvement
Student and Parent Involvement
  • Key stakeholders
  • Get input and make changes based on results
  • Student buy-in will change faculty behavior
  • Parental support will foster relationships between school, students, and faculty
    • Greater support for administrative and faculty decisions
team training
Team Training
  • Throughout year of pre-training, assist team to:
    • Use data
    • Use the problem-solving process
      • Behavior and academics
    • Identify weak system components
    • Learn and use principles of behavior
role of ta provider
Role of TA Provider
  • Must build rapport with faculty
    • Spend time on campus observing, listening to faculty concerns
    • Allow faculty to feel as is “their own”
      • Cannot come in and tell what to do
      • Assist them in seeing problems and identifying solutions
post training
  • Cannot withdraw assistance
  • Will need greater support than other schools
    • Present at team meetings
    • Assistance in implementing, using data, problem-solving process
  • Fade assistance out systematically
florida s positive behavior support project
Florida’sPositive Behavior Support Project
  • Contact:
  • Heather Peshak George, Ph.D.
  • Co-PI & Project Coordinator
  • Phone: (813) 974-6440
  • Fax: (813) 974-6115
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Website: