Positive Behaviour Support in Schools

Learning and teaching occur best in school’s where the climate is positive, orderly, courteous, and safe. Defiant, disruptive, and violent behaviours decrease the effectiveness, efficiency, and relevance of teaching and learning for everyone involved.  There is an increasing trend of schools experiencing behavioural challenges, which includes:

  • General lack of discipline
  • Increasing school violence
  • Inefficient use or loss of teaching time
  • Lack of fluency with specialised behavioural processes
  • Disenfranchisement of families and communities
  • Fragmented, redundant and inefficient efforts

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In response to these challenges, schools traditionally increase their use of negative punishment and exclusionary strategies.  It is believed a “suck it up” approach will demonstrate the school has a zero tolerance policy or the punishment will actually enhance appropriate social behaviours.  However, schools relying on these strategies are associated with an increase in behavioural issues.  While these strategies may sometimes generate change, it is not as successful as would be expected.

It is becoming clear in the educational research literature that the most effective responses to challenging behaviour in schools are within a School Wide Positive Behaviour Support (SWPBS) framework.  This framework is comprised of intervention practices and organisational systems for establishing the social culture, learning and teaching environment, and individual behaviour supports needed to achieve academic and social success for all students in all schools.

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SWPBS is a broad range of systematic and individualized strategies essentially involving school teams developing three critical practices:

1. A three-tiered approach to prevention of problem behaviour is represented in a triangle by the colours green, yellow and red.  These tiers represent levels of service provision.

2. An emphasis on instruction and acknowledgement of desired behaviour whereby specific behavioural expectations and skills are explicitly taught to all students and acknowledged when displayed.

3. A function-based approach to better understand and manage the variables leading to challenging behaviour.

The growing body of local, national and international research related to SWPBS indicates significant reductions in rates of inappropriate behaviour in schools implementing SWPBS with integrity.

Further information about School Wide Positive Behaviour Support can be found at http://www.pbis.org

Shaun Ziegenfusz – Speech Language Pathologist – The Glenleighden School

 

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