Improved Student Behavior:
Step by Step

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Step 4 Teaching expectations, rules and procedures

The key insight behind PBIS is that behavior must be taught.

The most common approach to student behavior before the proactive behavior approach was to assume that students already knew what constituted appropriate. When a student misbehaved, she just needed a correction. To make the correction more memorable it would typically include a mild punishment of some sort. Warnings, time-out, detention, extra school were all intended to make the correction memorable and be sufficiently unpleasant to encourage the extinction of the undesirable behavior.

A proactive approach to student behavior works better. Students are explicitly taught the expectations, rules and procedures. These things are demonstrated. Positive and negative examples are shown. Students practice and get feedback. The material is reviewed. When a student misbehaves, the first consideration is to reteach the expectation, rule or procedure to be quite sure that each student understands it. In other words, the proactive approach to student behavior teaches behavior.

Advertise. Put up posters around school and in classrooms. Drive home the 3-5 expectations so that every student and every faculty member can recite them reflexively. When making corrections, tie the behavior back to the expectation and the rule violated.

An excellent time to teach acceptable behavior is from the first day of school. Many schools devote the first few days to explicitly teach behavior. But another excellent time to teach behavior is whenever it is necessary. If a class is getting disruptive and unproductive in the middle of the school year, go ahead and spend some time teaching or reteaching expectations, rules and procedures. And don't forget the students that arrive in your school mid-year. Have a plan for their orientation to the expectations, rules and procedures.


<< Step 3 Defining procedures Step 5 Providing feedback and rewards >>