Positive Behavior and Intervention Support (PBIS) programs will be weakened if educators perceive them as only a “warm and soft” approach to handling discipline in their school. Warmth, care, and encouragement are absolutely essential in dealing with student behavior issues; however, these perceived “softer” social qualities must be combined with a respectful and appropriate measure of accountability.
PBIS is not about ignoring inappropriate behaviors. In fact, the goal is to hold students accountable in a proactive and purposeful manner. We believe the ultimate classroom management goal is have a classroom full of students who want to learn and who choose to manage themselves.
When students become self-managed they learn to check their own behavior without coercion or control from others. When we use our power and authority to coerce students into “doing something” it might provide a short-term “quick fix,” but it doesn’t empower students to manage themselves for a lifetime. Best Practice Language (BPL) sets the stage for an environment that helps students move from a mindset where “the teacher’s making me do this” to “I’m doing this because I want to do it.” It’s important to promote a classroom environment where students understand that they have the freedom to choose their behaviors.
What BPL can teachers use to encourage self-management and personal accountability? Teachers should consider using Words of Accountability. Words of Accountability call for students to render an account for their choices. These words encourage and remind students that they are responsible and answerable for their personal choices. Words of Accountability address problems in the moment hold students accountable along the way.
Listed below are just a few BPL examples to help promote student self-management and personal responsibility.
“It is my job to help you understand that you have choices, and you will have to accept responsibility for those choices.”
“If you are causing a problem in our classroom, I promise I won’t single you out or raise my voice. I will quietly and respectfully make eye contact with you, tap you on the shoulder, or talk to you individually about the problem to help you get back on track.”
“Let’s reenact what just happened. We need to get the truth of what really happened and then decide what we could have said or done to prevent this fight.”
“There might be other stuff going on in your life that we need to discuss—but it should not play out in the classroom that way. Your behavior was very unkind and disrespectful. What do you think you could have said instead? What could you have done differently?”
This post is part eight 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: eyeoneducation.com