Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS)

Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) is the latest instructional method for classroom management. PBIS is designed to support students in achieving social, emotional, and academic success. It was developed from the idea of behavior analysis and has roots in educational law since the 1997 reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)


PBIS focuses on three areas: foundations, practices, and data systems. In foundations, PBIS focuses on the layout of the classroom, establishing routines, and creating expectations. Many schools have adopted the “Be” rules for the expectations. The “Be” rules are generally three to five rules that establish how the students are expected to behave. Be responsible, be respectful, and be ready are an example of these expectations.  A layout of the classroom should include individual workspaces and paired/group workspaces. In my opinion, there should be no need to move desks or tables around. This costs you valuable instructional time and allows for behavior flare-ups.


For student practices, every teacher knows that there are two angles to this: prevention and response. Ideally, you seek to prevent through supervision, successful opportunities, acknowledgement of good decisions, and prompts. In circumstances where prevention doesn’t work, you focus on the response. Responses are designed to de-escalate the situation and provide a learning opportunity while maintaining the integrity of the classroom. Reward positive behavior with a selection of activities (i.e. an earned break, classroom bucks, or the opportunity to read a book). Also, always make sure that your tone and choice of words is positive. Reiterate directions as needed instead of pointing out the negative aspects of a student’s behavior.


Lastly, data systems record information to see determine severity of behavior as well as what occurs before, during, and after. Many of you may be familiar with Functional Behavior Assessments (FBAs) that assist with this feature.  You will need to observe the student, determine the major behaviors displayed, and then, record how often each behavior occurs. At my school, we actually use a minute-by-minute chart initially. First, we determine the behavior that we will be recording. Then, we mark the time the behavior begins until it ends. This will allow you to establish a pattern. Does the behavior occur only during unstructured activities? Does it occur during math class? A record of behavior helps to figure out possible triggers.


This is just an overview of the ideas behind PBIS and the areas it focuses on. Do you practice PBIS in your classroom or school? Please share your examples of PBIS.


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