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What Works Clearinghouse: Reducing Behavior Problems in the Classroom Michael H. Epstein, Ed.D. University of Nebraska-Lincoln

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Presentation on theme: "What Works Clearinghouse: Reducing Behavior Problems in the Classroom Michael H. Epstein, Ed.D. University of Nebraska-Lincoln"— Presentation transcript:

1 What Works Clearinghouse: Reducing Behavior Problems in the Classroom Michael H. Epstein, Ed.D. University of Nebraska-Lincoln

2 Why a Practice Guide on Behavior Gallup poll results 20% of children at risk of behavior problems Relationship between behavior and academic performance Principals (70%) believe teachers illprepared to maintain classroom order Less than 15% of staff development is devoted to behavior management

3 Panel Members Mike Epstein (Chair) – University of Nebraska-Lincoln Marc Atkins – University of Illinois-Chicago Doug Cullinan – North Carolina State University Krista Kutash – University of South Florida Robin Weaver – Harmony Hills Elementary School Principal (Silver Spring, MD)

4 SRI Staff Michelle Woodbridge (Study Director, author) Mary Wagner (Senior Consultant, author) Jennifer Yu (Researcher, author) Carl Sumi (Researcher)

5 Practice Guide: Scope Primary audiences include: – General education elementary school teachers who will implement practices – Elementary school/district administrators who will promote practices Final product is “more like a consensus panel report than a meta-analysis” in terms of breadth and complexity of topic addressed.

6 Practice Guide: Production Steps Select chair and panelists Achieve consensus on recommendations and justify with supporting evidence Draft document within prescribed time period (approximately 3 mos.) Receive feedback from IES and a rigorous external peer review process; revise document as necessary Total project timeline = about 8 months

7 Overall Format/Content Overview – Behavior problems in the classroom Recommendations – Summary of evidence – Implementation guidelines – Roadblocks and solutions Appendix – Technical information on studies   Designs, sample sizes, effect sizes References

8 Recommendation 1 Identify specifics of problem behavior and conditions that prompt and reinforce it. – Level of Evidence: Moderate – Implementation Guidelines Concretely describe the behavior problem and its effect on learning. Observe and record frequency and context of the problem behavior. Identify what prompts and reinforces the problem behavior.

9 – Potential Roadblocks and Solutions Cannot collect data and teach at same time – Keep it simple, number of behaviors, time, and frequency Class has too many problems – Focus on one priority behavior – Record antecedents and consequences I tried and failed – Give the interventions time to work Behavior travels into my classroom – Teachers monitor “trouble spots” – Calm and focus students

10 Recommendation 1 Level of Evidence Why Moderate? – Multiple single-subject research studies demonstrated effectiveness of interventions tailored to antecedents and consequences of behavior problems – Only emerging evidence on feasibility of general educator applying assessment- based approaches (Gresham, 2004; Gresham et al., 2004)

11 Recommendation 2 Modify the classroom learning environment to decrease problem behavior. – Level of Evidence: Strong – Implementation Guidelines Revisit, re-practice, and reinforce classroom expectations.

12 Guidelines Needed in These Situations Arriving at and leaving the classroom Distributing materials and turning in assignments Requesting help form the teacher Transitioning to new activities or settings Experiencing interruptions in routines, such as fire drills or substitute teachers Working independently and in groups Returning from recess or another class (art, music, or P.E.)

13 Recommendation 2 Modify the classroom learning environment to decrease problem behavior. – Level of Evidence: Strong – Implementation Guidelines Revisit, re-practice, and reinforce classroom expectations. Modify the classroom environment to encourage instructional momentum

14 Recommendation 2 Modify the classroom learning environment to decrease problem behavior. – Level of Evidence: Strong – Implementation Guidelines Revisit, re-practice, and reinforce classroom expectations. Modify the classroom environment to encourage instructional momentum Adapt or vary instructional strategies to increase opportunities for academic success and engagement.

15 – Potential Roadblocks and Solutions Teachers do not want to disrupt routines – Time used to practice new routines will increase quality of instructional time in the end – Prepare students well for change; ask students to model new behaviors as reward for appropriate behavior Do not have time to rethink classroom – Make one change in one setting

16 Recommendation 2 Level of Evidence Why Strong? – 3 RCTs, 1 QED, and 6 single-subject research studies demonstrated empirical support for: Preventive classroom management Direct and differentiated instruction Peer tutoring Ialongo et al. (2001); Everston (1989); Webster-Stratton, Reid & Hammond (2004)

17 Recommendation 3 Teach and reinforce new skills to increase appropriate behavior and preserve a positive classroom climate. – Level of Evidence: Strong – Implementation Guidelines Identify where the student needs explicit instruction for appropriate behavior. Teach skills by providing examples, practice, and feedback. (McGinnis & Goldstein,1997) Manage consequences so that reinforcers are provided for appropriate behavior and withheld for inappropriate behavior. (Akin-Little et al., 2004; Brophy, 1982)

18 Instructional Strategies Explaining the appropriate behavior so that students develop a thorough understanding of school norms. Breaking each behavioral skill down into concrete, teachable steps. Modeling the skill and providing a variety of examples of its appropriate use. Offering opportunities for guided and independent practice. Prompting and cuing the student about the use of the behavioral skill. Giving specific feedback, being sure to praise successful approximations and to encourage complete mastery. Diminishing gradually the external prompts and rewards. Reinforcing the use of the behavioral skills over time.

19 Using Rewards Use small rewards frequently, rather than large rewards infrequently. Deliver rewards quickly after the desired behavior is exhibited. Reward behavior, not the individual, and communicate to students the specific behavior that led to the reward. Use several different kinds of rewards selected carefully to ensure that they are reinforcing students. Gradually begin to reduce and then eliminate rewards.

20 – Potential Roadblocks and Solutions Teachers fear extrinsic rewards undermine student motivation (Akin-Little et al., 2004; Cameron et al., 2001) - Tie reinforcement to student competence - Reward students with behavior-specific praise Teaching behavior is beyond my responsibilities - Integrate behavior skill building into curriculum

21 Recommendation 3 Level of Evidence Why Strong? – 5 RCTs and 3 single-subject research studies demonstrated effectiveness of teaching and reinforcing replacement behaviors to reduce inappropriate behaviors Attention seeking Social skills Problem solving Self management Self control

22 Recommendation 4 Draw on relationships with colleagues and families for guidance and support. – Level of Evidence: Moderate – Implementation Guidelines Collaborate with other teachers for continued guidance and support. Build collaborative professional partnerships with school,district, and community behavior experts who can consult with teachers when problems are serious enough to warrant help from outside the classroom. (Martens & DiGennaro, 2007; Hughes, Lloyd, & Buss, 2007) Encourage parents and other family members to participate as active partners in teaching and reinforcing appropriate behavior.

23 – Potential Roadblocks and Solutions Faculty meetings can be a waste of teachers’ time – Administrators should encourage a culture of professional learning – Use time together productively to joint problem-solve Behavior consultants expect too much – Focus on what is doable Parents won’t participate – Communicate regularly with parents

24 Recommendation 4 Level of Evidence Why Moderate ? – 1 QED and 1 single-subject study demonstrated peer teacher relationships (i.e., coaching) improved student social skills and engagement – 1 RCT confirmed effectiveness of teachers’ consulting with behavioral experts Limitation: study conducted specifically with ADHD population – 2 RCTs confirmed positive effect of teacher-parent partnerships Limitation: study conducted with specific teacher- parent program

25 Recommendation 5 Implement schoolwide strategies to reduce negative and foster positive interactions. – Level of Evidence: Moderate – Implementation Guidelines Address schoolwide behavior issues by involving a school improvement team Collect information on the hot spots throughout the school, such as the frequency of particular schoolwide behavior problems and when and where they occur

26 Identifying “Hot Spots” Completing teacher surveys that provide general impressions of hot spots in other areas of the school. Allotting time during staff meetings to discuss schoolwide behavior problems and identify specific times and locations when those behavior problems most often occur. Organizing teachers and other school personnel in charge of common areas, to observe and document behavior problems throughout the school. Collecting and analyzing office referral data.

27 Recommendation 5 Implement schoolwide strategies to reduce negative and foster positive interactions. – Level of Evidence: Moderate – Implementation Guidelines Address schoolwide behavior issues by involving a school improvement team Collect information on the hot spots throughout the school, such as the frequency of particular schoolwide behavior problems and when and where they occur Monitor implementation and outcomes using an efficient method of data collection and allow ample time for the program to work. If warranted, adopt a packaged intervention program that fits well with identified behavior problem(s) and the school context.

28 Adopting a Schoolwide Program What are the types of behaviors we want to promote or reduce in our school? Is our school willing and able to spend money and time to implement a packaged intervention program? Are we looking for an intervention that is administered by outside consultants or do we prefer to train existing school personnel? What are the unique features of our school and how will the intervention fit these features? How will an intervention fit into our current school schedule and curriculum?

29 – Potential Roadblocks and Solutions Packaged programs may be too costly – Consider evidence-based programs that meet school needs – If too costly, encourage school staff to observe patterns of problem behavior to assist in formulating an intervention Nothing will work in our school – School administrators involved and support effort – Secure 80% staff commitment

30 Recommendation 5 Level of Evidence Why Moderate? – 1 QED study demonstrated positive effects of schoolwide changes e.g., structure, organization) on student social relationships and acceptance – 4 RCTs and 1 single-subject study documented impact of schoolwide intervention program on reduced problem behaviors Limitation: RCTs support only specific schoolwide program, not all components of recommendation

31 Principles Trusting and supportive relationships lay the foundation for positive behavior. There is increased need for building cultural competence among school communities. Collecting data is critical in targeting resources and changing strategies to improve behavior.

32 To download and print publications/practiceguides/ publications/practiceguides/

33 Implications for Practice

34 General Education Teachers Implement IES Practice Guide recommendations Develop positive teacher-student relationships Be data driven Work in teams with other teachers

35 Special Education Teachers Implement IES Practice Guide recommendations Work with general education staff Be good consumers of research

36 Psychological & Counseling Staff Be knowledgeable of recommendations Collaborate with school personnel as partners

37 School Administrators Support comprehensive staff development programs Facilitate positive teacher-teacher relationships Support schoolwide behavior programs Use schoolwide data systems

38 Parent/Family Members Alert teachers to practice guide recommendations Become active partners with school personnel

39 University Faculty Implement scientifically-based preparation programs Contribute to evidence base Enhance research skills in leadership preparation programs

40 Doctoral Studies at the University of Nebraska Contact Michael H. Epstein


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