The Ten Tenets of Behavior

The Ten Tenets of Behavior

This keynote address focuses on the tenets that drive all behavior. ┬áThese are the ten guiding principles every educator should know. This is part of many of Dr. Riffel’s Seminars and is most often requested to be repeated. ┬áDr. Riffel shares examples of how each tenet plays out in real life and gives solutions.


1. Behavior is learned and serves a specific purpose (Bandura)Educators

2. Behavior is related to the context within which it occurs (Bambara & Knoster)

3. For every year a behavior has been in place, we need to expect one month of consistent and appropriate intervention to see a change (Atchison)

4. We can improve behavior by 80% just by pointing out what one person is doing correctly (Shores, Gunter, Jack)

5. We use positive behavior specific praise about 6.25% of the time (Haydon, et al.)

6. When we want compliance in our students we should whisper in their right ear (Live Science)

7. All behavior has function and falls into two categories: To gain access to or to Escape from (Alberto & Troutman)

8. To Gain Access- see chart below

9. To Escape From- see chart below

10. Your reaction determines whether a behavior will occur again. We have to change our behavior (Alberto & Troutman).


Students have behavior to gain:

  • Attention (attend this training to find out why)
    • adults
    • peers
  • Access to preferred items
  • Access to sensory input (attend this training to find out how we can provide this)


Students have behavior to escape:

  • Attention
    • adults
    • peers
  • Work/Tasks/Chores
  • Pain
    • Physical
    • Emotional
  • Sensory Overload