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Teaching Positive Social Behaviors

Why is it so important to focus on teaching positive social behaviors?

Frequently, the question is asked, “Why should we have to teach kids to be good? They already know what they are supposed to do. Why can we not just expect good behavior?” In the past, school-wide discipline has focused mainly on reacting to specific student misbehavior by implementing punishment-based strategies including reprimands, loss of privileges, office referrals, suspensions, and expulsions. Research has shown that the implementation of punishment, especially when it is used inconsistently and in the absence of other positive strategies, is ineffective. Introducing, modeling, and reinforcing positive social behavior is an important step of a student’s educational experience. Teaching behavioral expectations and rewarding students for following them is a much more positive approach than waiting for misbehavior to occur before responding. The purpose of school-wide PBIS is to establish a climate in which appropriate behavior is the norm.

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 *  Outcomes: academic and behavior targets that are endorsed and emphasized by students, families, and educators. (What is important to each particular learning community?)

 * Practices: interventions and strategies that are evidence based. (How will you reach the goals?)

 * Data: information that is used to identify status, need for change, and effects of interventions. (What data will you use to support your success or barriers?)

 * Systems: supports that are needed to enable the accurate and durable implementation of the practices of PBS. (What durable systems can be implemented that will sustain this over the long haul?)