By Dr. Harry Tennant


by Harry Tennant
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Entries with keyword: merit points
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Monday, October 2, 2017

Behavior reinforcement: Is it personal?

Two strong principles of PBIS are to provide positive personal feedback for appropriate behavior and to collect data for databased decision-making. Sometimes these two principles are at odds. Recording data must be as unobtrusive as possible. We don't want to take the teacher's attention away from class or seem to diminish her engagement class.

One of the solutions for recording data is to do it all off-line. The teacher counts tick marks or behavior token tickets when the students aren't there. But that takes more time for the teacher. And the more time that's required for collecting data, the less likely it is that the data will be collected. If data collection can be integrated in with the teacher's activity during class, it's much more likely that the data be collected.

To minimize the time requirement for recording positive student behavior, we developed one-click merit points. This allows the teacher to give any of the students in her class a merit point for any of several expectations simply by clicking a box by the students name.

Behavior Manager includes a star chart that can be on display for the class throughout the class period. By viewing the live star chart, students can immediately see that they have been recognized for specific positive behaviors.

Consider an alternative. A teacher could hand a ticket to a student for positive feedback. By walking over to the student's desk and handing him a ticket, possibly along with a word or two of encouragement, the teacher has made a personal contact with that student. The personal contact enhances the positive feedback.

But with the ticket method, there is no record of the positive feedback. To make a record, the students might check in with a teacher at the end of class when the teacher could enter into a spreadsheet the number of tickets that each student received. But it's additional work taking additional time.

Can clicking on a button on a tablet be made personal? Sure. The teacher can do it through eye contact, a smile, a wink, a thumbs up or a positive remark. Or, like a paper ticket method, the teacher can walk over near the student, click the tablet, and pat the student on the back.

Making positive feedback personal is important. But collecting the data is too. Luckily, you can have it both ways.

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Keywords: PBIS, star chart, positive feedback, merit points, Behavior Manager

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