What strategies can educators implement to prevent or address challenging behaviors?
Page 3: Precorrection
Precorrection is a strategy that involves determining when challenging behaviors tend to occur and then making changes to the classroom environment or providing proactive supports for students during those times. By doing so, educators can prevent those challenging behaviors from happening and facilitate appropriate behavior. For example, transitions are often a time teachers encounter challenging behavior. Even simple changes to the environment (e.g., instructions, reminders, a visual timer) can help prevent challenging behavior and facilitate a smooth transition.
Precorrection has been proven effective to increase positive behavior and prevent common challenging behaviors:
- Across age groups (i.e., preschool to high school)
- In classroom and non-classroom settings
- When implemented by a variety of educators (e.g., teachers, school staff)
(Evanoich & Kern, 2018, Ennis, Royer, Lane, & Griffith, 2017; Ennis, Schwab, & Jolivette, 2012; Haydon, DeGreg, Maheady, & Hunter, 2012; Haydon & Scott, 2008)
Using the Strategy
To help educators prevent or address challenging behavior, the table below describes the steps to implement precorrection and provides an example.
To prevent a challenging behavior, you must first anticipate the nature of that behavior and identify the context in which it is likely to occur (e.g., activity, setting, time).
The teacher identifies the context in which challenging behavior occurs.
Context: Lining up for recess, lunch, and other transitioning activities.
Challenging Behavior: Anderson consistently pushes other students when lining up and waiting in line.
As part of creating a safe and respectful classroom environment, establish and explicitly teach behavioral expectations—that is, the behaviors you want your students to display.
Classroom: Keep hands to self.
Because Anderson has difficulty keeping his hands to himself when lining up, the teacher establishes the following expectation with Anderson.
Student: Anderson will keep his hands to himself when lining up.
To facilitate student success, make changes to the context that support appropriate behavior, based on your students’ needs.
The teacher hangs a poster by the door that shows different ways that students can keep their hands to themselves while lining up (e.g., hands at side, hands in pockets).
Practice makes perfect—maybe not immediately, but it’s a step in the right direction. To set students up for success, review and practice the expected behaviors. This can include options such as discussion, question and answer, or role play.
Before students line up, the teacher goes over expectations shown on the poster with the entire class.
In addition, she meets with Anderson privately to discuss the importance of keeping his hands to himself as he lines up and waits in line. They role play ways he can meet the expectation.
When students engage in an expected behavior, provide positive reinforcement to increase the likelihood that they will continue to do so.
When Anderson keeps his hands to himself when lining up, the teacher immediately delivers behavior-specific praise.
In addition to the five steps listed above, the three actions below can be helpful when implementing this practice.
Beyond teaching, practicing, and reinforcing appropriate behaviors, you will need to regularly prompt or remind some students of the expected behavior. As part of your plan, anticipate situations in which the student will need support and be prepared to:
- Offer immediate and specific reinforcement when a student engages in the desired behavior (i.e., Step 5).
- Build in prompts and reminders in daily classroom activities.
- Brainstorm how to deliver reminders. These can be in the form of gestures (e.g., finger on lips to signal quiet time), verbal prompts, or environmental prompts (e.g., expectations poster).
Although precorrection has been shown to be effective, you need to determine whether your specific precorrection procedures are effective in preventing or decreasing challenging behaviors and increasing expected behaviors. This can be accomplished by collecting data on the occurrence of inappropriate behavior before and after implementing precorrection. This can be as simple as keeping a record of how often the inappropriate behavior occurs, or it may require different types of data collection (e.g., duration, latency).
Students can be valuable sources of information. Consider asking them whether they find the teacher prompts and reminders helpful and what types of supports they need to be successful.
In this interview, Janel Brown provides an example of how she uses precorrection and highlights the benefits (time: 1:56).
Tier 2 Support
Although precorrection can be used as a Tier 1 strategy, it can also be used as a Tier 2 support for students with moderate levels of externalizing or internalizing behaviors. The steps are the same as when used as a Tier 1 support, but for Tier 2 the educator delivers precorrection with greater intensity (e.g., provides more practice opportunities, reminders). To determine if the strategy is effective, the educator collects and analyzes the data using the following steps:
- Identify the student behavior to be addressed (e.g., student makes off-topic comments during class discussions) during an instructional period in which the behavior typically occurs (e.g., science, math).
- Collect baseline data on the student behavior for a designated timeframe (e.g., first 20 minutes of class) during the identified instructional period. Collect this data across several days (e.g., 3 to 5 days) to see how often this behavior occurs or how long each episode lasts.
- Implement or intensify precorrection and continue to collect data (e.g., same instructional period, same length of time) for 3 to 5 days to determine whether the student’s behavior changes.
- Evaluate the effect of precorrection. Compare the implementation data to the baseline data to evaluate whether the strategy has had the desired effect on the student’s behavior.
To make sure you are using this strategy with fidelity, download this precorrection implementation checklist.
To view our IRIS Fundamental Skill Sheet on precorrection, click the title below.