Behavioral Tips from Randy Sprick

Task 4: Ability-Type Misbehaviors

When a student misbehaves because she is physiologically unable to exhibit the appropriate (goal) behavior, your only alternative is to make modifications to the student's environment and adjust your expectations.

On the other hand, when a student misbehaves because she does not know how to exhibit the desired behavior, teach the behavior. To do this, we suggest the following four-phase intervention plan:

1) Provide lessons to the student on the goal behavior.

Do this at a neutral time during the day, at least three days a week. Model the goal behavior and have the student practice it several times during the teaching session.

2) Correct errors in a manner that provides instruction.

Use a correction strategy such as proximity, gentle reprimands, a cueing signal, or redirection. (Refer to Awareness-Type Misbehaviors for more information about these strategies.)

3) Make accommodations to increase the student's chance of success.

Consider rearranging the daily schedule, the class structure, the physical organization of the classroom, and your interactions with the student—whatever you feel would help her succeed.

4) Provide positive feedback.

When the student is successful (or makes improvements), give her positive feedback. Set up reward-type incentives if simple positive feedback seems insufficient to motivate her.

— Excerpt from CHAMPs: A Proactive and Positive Approach to Classroom Management