What is Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports?
Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) is an approach to supporting students to be successful in schools. PBIS was developed from research in the fields of behavior theory and effective instruction. PBIS supports all students through intervention ranging from a school-wide system to a system for developing individualized plans for specific students. School-wide PBIS focuses on the development and implementation of pro-active procedures and practices to prevent problem behavior for all students and improve school climate.
- Be Safe
- Be Respectful
- Be Responsible
Having a few simple, positively stated rules facilitates the teaching of behavioral expectations across school settings because students will be learning through the same language. By focusing on 3 simple rules it is easier for students to remember. It is also important for staff because instruction focusing on a few simple rules will improve teaching and consistency across staff through the use of a common language.
Positively stated rules are important, because research has shown that recognizing students for following the rules is even more important than catching them breaking the rules. By stating rules positively, the hope is that staff will be more likely to use the rules to catch students engaging in the appropriate behavior.
By selecting only a few rules it is important that the rules are broad enough to talk about all potential problem behaviors. With the rules selected, the PBIS team believes that we can then teach all specific behavioral expectations across all school setting according to these simple rules, for example:
Cleaning up your spills in the cafeteria is an example of Being Safe because someone could slip on the spill and get hurt.
You were Being Very Responsible when you asked your classmate to walk in a straight line in the hallway.
Thank your class for Being So Respectful by raising your hands to speak and listening to what everyone else had to say about the story.
It is not enough just to teach expected behavior, we also need to regularly recognize and reward students for engaging in appropriate behavior. Research has shown that recognizing students for engaging in expected behavior is even more important than catching students breaking the rules. In fact, research on effective teaching has found that teachers should engage in a rate of 4 positive interactions with students to every 1 negative interaction (4:1 ratio). As staff it is very easy to get caught up focusing on catching students engaging in negative behavior. The goal of an acknowledgment system is to increase the number of positive interactions that all school staff have with students.
At Mark Twain and Copperopolis we use PBIS to acknowledge students for appropriate behavior. Through this program we hand out tickets to students for following the school rules.
When recognizing students with a ticket it is important to identify specifically what behavior the student engaged in and link it to the appropriate school rule. For example:
“Cita, I wanted to thank you for helping pick up the books someone knocked on the floor, you were being very responsible and it really helped me out. Here is a Badger/Cougar Ticket.”
Ideally, students should be given tickets immediately following the behavior and be told exactly why they received the token. In order to promote expected behavior it is important that students know when and why they are being acknowledged.