We all have those students in our classroom, that challenge us every day in every situation no matter what the circumstance. But did you know that it might also be the learning environment that is impacting their behaviour as well?
The following are 10 tips which can help you change the learning environment and effectively manage your responses to inappropriate behavior.
- Do not set expectations too low: Your student is capable of learning. However, they may learn many essential skills such as functional communication, social skills, and engagement more effectively by using explicit teaching than by picking the skills up naturally.
- Do not set expectations too high: Set goals that are realistic. It helps to break tasks down into separate steps that you prompt and students respond to independently. This encourages success and reduces the frustration and, ultimately, behaviors, that arise when expectations are too high.
- Change activities often and always end with success: It is important to set reasonable expectations. It is important to know when and how to end a teaching session or change activities. When you are teaching your student a new skill, take a break before they become fatigued or frustrated and misbehaviour arises. End the activity at a point where they achieve some success. Plan to end any specific teaching time on a positive note. This will build your student’s positive feelings about their abilities.
- Use things your child enjoys as reinforcement: When your student has done something that you want to encourage, it’s important they see your response as a worthwhile reward. Students with challenging behaviour like to know that they are doing in an awesome job. They should see the reward as a reinforcement for her behavior or work that she has done.
- Allow choices whenever possible: If your student does not feel they have control over their environment, they will be frustrated (and misbehave) as a result. You need to provide the illusion of control by giving choices regarding aspects of the task without lowering your expectations.
- Incorporate structure and routine into the environment: Students who challenge us do not pick up on vague cues that others do to detect changes in rules, expectations or events. You need to build predictability through structure and routine. This encourages appropriate responses and increases the chance of success while decreasing frustration, which might relate to inappropriate behaviors.
- Plan ahead for transitions: Students who challenge us have difficulty with changes or new activities. You can help them by allowing for adequate time and using visual prompts that are effective for your student about the change as it is about to occur.
- Make eye contact: Challenging students may not pick up on verbal cues even though they understand the request or comment. Achieving eye contact in any interaction, spoken or visual, will increase the chance that the student is attending to the interaction.
- Be as concrete as possible: Using abstract ideas, analogies, exaggerations or sarcasm may only serve to confuse a student. They may take your comments literally or misunderstand. Keep your comments simple, clear and concise to encourage the students understanding. Use more than verbal instruction. Use a combination of verbal, visual, modeled and physical prompts to get your point across.
- Be consistent in every way: Your student will be most successful when the environment is predictable in terms of structure, routines and expectations.
Are you ready to use these ideas and methods for instilling your student’s success and encourage appropriate behaviour?
It takes consistency and planning, but it is important in shaping your student’s behaviour. Use these ideas and methods to set the stage for your child’s success and encourage appropriate behaviour. It takes planning, but it is an important part of shaping your student’s behaviour and success.
If you are ready… Schedule a time to talk to me about your top three concerns regarding your student’s behavior. If you are not ready to schedule a time to chat, but still have concerns email me at firstname.lastname@example.org