This week has had it’s up and down for me, and my students in my classroom. I had a student who was going through a medication change and getting adjusted to a new routine. I had another student who was missing his dad. The other students were still getting adjusted to their routine after Winter Break.
My goal for the week was to make sure that challenging behaviour never occurred in the classroom. The first thing that I did was to make sure that the classroom environment was organized and engaging. By engaging, there was a mixture of developmentally appropriate activities for each of the students to participate in.
By engaging students in activities at materials that are developmentally appropriate and for their individual academic level, they are less likely to participate in challenging behaviours. If I am working with a student on a challenging task, like fractions, the next task that I am going to give them is going to be easier so they can feel accomplished.
The second thing that I do, was to make sure that my agenda was finalized for the team meeting that I was having to make sure that everyone was on the same page for supporting the diverse needs of the students and using more functional language in the classroom.
Finally, I began working on a student’s detailed schedule, so he could be more successful.
The most difficult thing of the week, was the schedule because not everyone was on the same page, and they liked how things were done previously.
Students excel with predictability when everyone is saying and doing the same thing. This student also tests every member of the team to see if they are going to be consistent and he always finds a loophole if the team is not tight and consistent.
In order to prevent challenging behaviour in your classroom, you need to make sure that you are doing the following. I have implemented these things, in my classroom and I have seen a change in my most challenging students.
I know that it is hard at times because things are constantly changing, but in order to fully support our students and prepare them for independent living, future employment and post-secondary education we need to implement these five things.
Recognizing behaviour as a communication. Find and understand the intent of the behaviour and teach the student appropriate ways to communicate.
Communicate expectations. I do a lot of front loading so the student understands what is about to happen. This is helpful when he becomes anxious when I leave the classroom or there is a change in his routine.
Offer choices and provide the student with some control. Even if the student does not have a true choice, he can feel that he has some input and is not told what to do every minute of the day.
Utilize breaks as a way to return to a calm state, but be watchful of how a break is given. When the student in my classroom walks away from his independent work area and begins pacing. I know that he needs a break. I wait until he is back in a calm state and then give him two choices.
Establish a classroom plan, that includes a schedule, behaviour plan and make sure that everyone is consistent with the plan.
The only way all of these things are going to be effective is if we continue to evaluate a students behaviour and analyze what was going on in the student’s environment before the behaviour occurred. Work with your classroom team, and related service team to continue to develop an understanding of the function of the behaviour and continue to teach replacement behaviours and keep the lines of communication open.
Do you need assistance with understanding your student’s behaviour? Do you have the right tools to assist your most challenging student to become more independent and prepare them for employment and/or post-secondary education?