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By Dr. Harry Tennant

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Monday, November 13, 2017

PBIS for teachers?

PBIS is being widely advocated to improve student behavior in schools. The basic outline is

  • Teach behavior expectations
  • Give frequent feedback on whether the expections are being met
  • Reteach the expectations if they aren't being met
  • Have more intensive interventions for the few students who don't respond to the above steps by exhibiting the expected behaviors

Why should PBIS be limited to students? Why not extend it to teachers, too? For that matter, why not extend it to any organization where behavior expectations exist?

Here are some objections.

But teachers are professionals. They shouldn't be micromanaged.

True, but they should be managed. Some (all?) teachers would benefit from feedback on how they're doing. It mustn't be overdone but it should be done.

New teachers especially benefit from guidance on teaching skills that they never got in their traing. The more common error is that teachers who would benefit from guidance typically get too little of it rather than expert teachers get too much.

But there's no time for all that monitoring and feedback. We've got work to do.

Guess what? That's exactly what you hear about PBIS for students. If the program is effective, time is saved in the long run by more smoothly running classrooms.

But teachers won't respond to rewards.

Oh yeah? Everyone likes to be recognized for their work. And not just during Teacher Appreciation Week. Recognition throughout the year will make a happier workplace and more enthusiatic teachers.

Make the recognition regular and frequent. And just like student recognition, keep track of who is recognized when. Find ways to spread the recognition around.

But what are the expectations?

If you don't know, you're not leading the team. You're just hoping thigs go right. And just as you involve students in defining class rules, it makes sense to involve teachers in setting the expectations for themselves and their colleagues.

But what are the rewards?

There's no reason that teacher recognition cannot be redeemed for teacher rewards in just the same way that student recognitions are. 

But is there that much to learn?

Professional feedback is about two things. One is about the learning and practice of critical skills. The other is about relationships. Relationships are important in any organization and they need constant attention.

The ideas an motivations behind PBIS aren't just for students. The whole school can benefit from them.

Posted at 12:00 AM Keywords: PBIS 0 Comments

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