Addressing Challenging Behaviors (Part 2, Secondary): Behavioral Strategies
Challenging or acting-out behaviors are student actions that are inappropriate, aggressive, or even destructive. Whether minor (e.g., avoiding tasks, refusing to work, arguing) or more serious (e.g., making threats, damaging property), challenging behaviors can negatively impact the classroom environment through lost instructional time, lowered academic achievement, and educator stress and burnout.
The good news is that educators can often intervene early in the acting-out cycle and prevent challenging behaviors from escalating by implementing low-intensity strategies—easy-to-implement practices that require minimal time and preparation. When these strategies are not enough, an educator may consider implementing differential reinforcement. In general, this type of strategy involves either giving or withholding reinforcement, depending on whether the behavior is desirable or undesirable.
The table below highlights the strategies described in this module.
|Behavior-Specific Praise||Directing a positive statement toward a student or group of students that acknowledges a desired behavior in specific, observable, and measurable terms.|
|Precorrection||Determining when challenging behaviors tend to occur and then making changes to the classroom environment or providing supports for students both to prevent those behaviors from happening and to facilitate appropriate behavior.|
|Active Supervision||Frequently and intentionally monitoring students, during instructional and non-instructional periods, to reinforce behavior expectations and anticipate or prevent undesired behaviors.|
|High-Probability (High-p) Requests||Making a series of requests to which a student is highly likely to respond (high-p requests) before providing a request to which a student infrequently or never responds (low-p request) to increase the student’s ability to meet expectations.|
|Opportunities to Respond (OTR)||Giving students frequent chances to answer questions or prompts in a set amount of time to promote and reinforce student participation and engagement.|
|Choice Making||Providing structured options to facilitate a student’s ability to follow an instructional or behavioral request.|
|Differential Reinforcement of Alternative Behavior (DRA)||Reinforcing a positive alternative behavior that is a replacement for the undesired or challenging behavior.|
Revisiting Initial Thoughts
Think back to your response to the Initial Thoughts question at the beginning of this module. After working through the Perspectives & Resources, do you still agree with those responses? If not, what aspects about them would you change?
What strategies can educators implement to prevent or address challenging behaviors?
When you are ready, proceed to the Assessment section.