Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS)

There’s little need to discuss the fact that student discipline can often require the constant attention of teachers and can unfortunately detract from learning in the classroom. However, learning and adopting Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) can go a long way toward ensuring classroom discipline while enhancing learning outcomes for all students.

What is PBIS?

PBIS is a prevention-oriented way for school personnel to (a) organize evidence-based practices, (b) improve their implementation of those practices, and (c) maximize academic and social behavior outcomes for all students.

It is not a packaged curriculum, scripted intervention, or rote strategy.

Seven Important Concepts for Understanding PBIS

As you learn how to implement PBIS in your own schools and classrooms, these seven core principles will help you ensure success and ease the transition. (Credit: pbis.org)

  1. Know you can effectively teach appropriate behavior to all children. All PBIS practices assume that all children can exhibit appropriate behavior. Thus, it is our responsibility as educators to identify the events and conditions that enable this appropriate behavior. We then must determine how to provide those resources.
  2. Intervene early. It’s best to intervene before targeted behaviors occur, as this makes interventions much more manageable. Highly effective interventions are informed by time sensitive continuous progress monitoring and enjoy strong empirical support for their effectiveness with at-risk students.
  3. Use a multi-tier model of service delivery. Behavioral instruction must be differentiated in both nature and intensity. PBIS uses tiered models of service delivery to facilitate this.
  4. Use research-based, scientifically validated interventions to the extent available.  This ensures that students are exposed to teaching that has demonstrated effectiveness for the type of student and the setting. This offers the best opportunity for implementing strategies that will be effective for a large majority of students.
  5. Monitor student progress to inform interventions. This is the only method to determine if a student is improving. Assessments that can be collected frequently and that are sensitive to small changes in student behavior is recommended. Determining the effectiveness of an intervention early is important for maximizing the impact of that intervention for the student.
  6. Use data to make decisions.  Decisions in PBIS practices are based on professional judgment informed directly by student office discipline referral data and performance data. This requires that ongoing data collection systems are in place and the resulting data is used to make informed behavioral intervention planning decisions.
  7. Use assessment for three different purposes. In PBIS, three types of assessments are used: 1) screening of data comparison per day per month for total office discipline referrals, 2) diagnostic determination of data by time of day, problem behavior, and location and 3) progress monitoring to determine if the behavioral interventions are producing the desired effects.

Music: Just One Strategy for Implementing PBIS

There are  a multitude of ways to make PBIS fun and engaging for all students. These can include nonverbal cues, promptings, and even music.

To see how one class uses songs to reinforce expected behavior and prevent discipline problems, watch the video above.

This video is just one of a 12-part program on Edivate that can help you and your colleagues become familiar with real-world ways to implement PBIS in your own classes and schools, and see improved student discipline across the board.

To learn more, check out the video’s downloadable guidebook that offers additional resources as well as reflection questions.

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