Emotional Behaviors

The Importance of Bonding with Students

Emotional issues can play out in undesired behaviors in the classroom if evidence-based classroom management strategies are not employed.  We recommend developing clubs, mentoring situations, and consistent connections with key adults to ensure students feel connected to the school.  Here are some articles on the importance of bonding and building relationships with students:

The Importance of Bonding to School for Healthy Development: Findings from the Social Development Research Group
Richard F. Catalano, Kevin P. Haggerty, Sabrina Oesterle, Charles B. Fleming, J. David Hawkins

Effects of Teacher Greetings on Student On-task Behavior    Allan Allday and Kerri Pakurar

Effects of a School-Based Mentoring Program on School Behavior and Measures of Adolescent Connectedness
Janet Gordon, Jayne Downey, and Art Bangert

Whatever it Takes: How Professional Learning Communities Respond When Kids Don’t Learn                                                                                                                   Richard DuFour, Rebecca DuFour, Robert Eaker, and Gayle Karhanek

Student Council, Volunteering, Basketball, or Marching Band: What Kind of Extracurricular Involvement Matters?
Jacquelynne S. Eccles and Bonnie L. Barber

Aggressive Behaviors

I worked with a school that averaged over 40 aggressive acts per day. This was a school for students with severe emotional behavior disorders. We had great data for the previous year prior to my beginning. We drilled the data down and found that almost every aggressive act (physical or verbal) occurred within five minutes of a high energy transition (class changing period, recess for the younger students, cafeteria, recreation therapy, etc.).  There were only 45 students in the school, so a universal plan needed to be implemented. We knew the first two parts of the summary statement: the trigger (high energy transition) and the target (aggressive behaviors).  Each individual student would have their own impact feeding the behavior; however, we could implement some environmental changes, replacement behavior teaching, and response modifications to feed the replacement behavior and extinguish the targeted behavior.

Environmental Changes

  • Because eye-strain can cause headaches and headaches can cause behaviors, we dimmed the lights in the room upon entering. We put 60-watt lamps in the room. This made for a calmer experience as students entered the room
  • We played 60 bpm music as the students entered the room paired with nature pictures (www.behaviordoctor.org– click materials- click calming videos)
  • We put a thought provoking question on the board (We asked questions like: “Yesterday, we learned about the main export of Peru. What could you make out of the main export of Peru?”  This way there are various answers and many times this started some interesting discussions that were based on the correct topic.)

Replacement Behaviors

  • Students were taught to enter the room, sit down, take out white boards, answer a thought-provoking question
  • Students were taught breathing techniques to help self-regulate their emotions
  • Students were given power cards with a reflective sentence on the back:  I feel _______________, when _________________. I need ____________ to be successful

Reframing Adult Responses

  • Adults were trained to give behavior specific praise for students who were following directions
  • Adults were trained to ignore as many inappropriate behaviors as possible

Results: We were able to decrease aggressive behaviors by over 90%

Recognize Alternatives to Use of Seclusion

Recognize Alternatives to the Use of Seclusion  Sped Law for Kids Blogspot

Riffel, L. (2012). Recognize Alternatives to the Use of Seclusion. Special Ed Connection

Riffel, L. (2013).Recognize Alternatives to the Use of Seclusion. Today’s School Psychologist

Fluorescent Lights

Research also suggests that fluorescent lights set off behavior in some students. Installing the light panels has shown a decrease office discipline referrals.

Read more about the link between fluorescent lights and behavior:

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