A great deal of energy goes into controlling and eliminating problem behaviors. Positive Behavior Support systems can create an environment that minimizes if not eliminates the need for punishment or negative consequences, which tend to compromise a teacher’s future success with difficult students.
The foundation of a Positive Behavior Support system is made of the rules and procedures. Token systems, lottery systems, and school-wide recognition plans reinforce the behavior you want to see from the kids. Truly effective behavior management depends on reinforcing “replacement behavior,” the behavior you want to see.
1. Classroom Rules
Classroom rules are the foundation of classroom management. Successful rules are few in number, written in a positive way, and cover a number of different situations. Choosing rules is not an activity for the children–rules are one place where a little autocracy comes into play. There should be only 3 to 6 rules, and one of them needs to be a general compliance rule, such as “Respect yourself and others.”
Keep the number of rules down, and depend on routines and procedures for a successful and well run classroom.
3. Positive Peer Review — “Tootling” not “Tattling”
Positive Peer Review teaches students to watch their peers for appropriate, pro-social behavior. By teaching students to find something good to say about their peers, “tootling” rather than reporting when they are naughty, “tattling.”
Establishing a systematic way for children to learn to identify positive behavior, you harness the whole class to support positive behavior in your most difficult children, supporting positive social status for these often troubled children, and create a positive class environment.
4. A Token System
A token system or token economy is the most labor intensive of the Positive Behavior support systems. It involves assigning points to certain behaviors and using those accumulated points to purchase items or preferred activities. I means establishing a list of behaviors, assigning points, creating record keeping systems and figuring out how many points are required for different rewards. It requires a lot of preparation and rewards. Token systems are used extensively in Emotional Support programs, often designed and implemented by a psychologist and part of student’s Behavior Intervention Plan. School wide or class wide, a token economy gives you lots of opportunities to talk about the behaviors you are reinforcing.
5. A Lottery System
A lottery system, like both a token economy and the marble jar, is a whole-class or whole-school Positive Behavior Support plan. Students are given a ticket for a drawing when they complete work, get into their seat quickly, or whatever particular behavior you wish to reinforce. You then hold a weekly or bi-weekly drawing, and the child whose name you pull from the jar gets to choose a prize from your prize box.
6. The Marble Jar
The Marble Jar becomes a tool for encouraging appropriate behavior when used to reward the class for the cumulative behavior of both individuals and the whole class. The teacher puts a marble in the jar for specific targeted behavior. When the jar is full, the class gets a reward: perhaps a pizza party, a movie and popcorn party, or perhaps extra recess time.