Positive Behavior Intervention and Support: Words of Unity

What does Positive Behavior Intervention and Support (PBIS) sound like in the classroom? What can we say to our students to create a positive classroom climate of unity and collaboration? What Best Practice Language (BPL) can we use?

PBSEverythingElem5Teachers should consider using Words of Unity when they want to create a positive classroom climate of unity and collaboration. Words of Unity transform a group of individuals into a team culture. These words encourage a “sense of belonging” and make it clear to all students that their presence and participation in classroom activities is valuable to the team. They also establish and promote a network of support in the classroom and beyond. When we use Words of Unity and work together to create a community, we emphasize and model to our students the importance of helping one another and appreciating one another. In this environment students learn to respect others and experience the sense of belonging to something bigger than themselves. This culture of unity encourages students to make positive behavior choices. Below are examples of Words of Unity.

“In our classroom we are a team—we support each other—we motivate each other.  We see things through others’ eyes—we hear things through others’ ears—we respect one another.”

“In order for us to be successful we’ve got to work together and stay together as a team…I can’t be every eye so I need your help to encourage each other to behave.”

PBS shoot 251Classroom meetings can also promote a culture of unity. Classroom meetings give us an opportunity to open the floor for discussion of class behavior issues, individual student concerns, and ideas for improvement in the classroom. These meetings give students an opportunity to express their opinions and listen attentively to the opinions of others as they work to reach a solution through consensus. We advocate the use of classroom meetings to produce a unified effort toward positive behavior in your classroom. The following BPL examples offer concrete community building language that can be shared with the whole class.
“Let’s talk about the expectations and rules for our classroom this year. What rules and expectations do we need for our classroom? Once we all agree on these rules and expectations I will ask your parents to sign that they agree with them. Then we will all be on the same page.”

“We’re here to learn and it’s not just learning reading, writing, math, or science, but it is learning how to respond and to interact with others, how to address people, how to share your thoughts, how to share your concerns, how to raise questions, and how to be a part of a team.”

“This problem has gone on long enough… it’s time that we have a class discussion about it. Let’s be considerate of others so that everyone’s opinion can be heard.  For example, we will wait until someone has finished talking before we begin to talk.”

This post is part one in a series of posts on what Positive Behavior Intervention and Support (PBIS) “sounds like” in the classroom. The original post can be found at: