Needed: School-Wide Support…

Mar 20, 2016

When it comes to creating positive behavioral change, individual attention is the way to go. Unfortunately, given most teachers’ class size, providing this type of attention is a challenge. In a whole-group setting, teachers control, channel, subdue and maintain, but rarely do they change behaviors. This is because behaviors mainly occur in a relationship, and it is difficult, if not impossible, to build individual relationships “en masse.”
Interestingly enough, when academic concerns arise, educators find a way to schedule more individualized support. Students are divided into small groups; skills are targeted, taught, reinforced and assessed. The most current label for this process is called Response-To-Intervention. This service is provided based on an overwhelming academic need. Mother necessity, where would we be? (That was a Schoolhouse Rock reference for all you youngsters who didn’t clue in.)
Administrators must acknowledge we have another overwhelming need that must be addressed – discipline. Given the large numbers of students with behavioral concerns, individual teachers can’t adequately target, teach, reinforce and assess. A school-wide approach is needed. Some districts are beginning to provide this type of support in the form of behavioral Response-To-Intervention time; however, this seems to be the exception, rather than the norm.
Until behavioral needs in schools are proactively addressed in a systematic way, affording more individualized time and teachable moments, teachers will continue to simply control behaviors in whatever whack-a-mole manner they are able. Hang on, teachers. Be it ever so slowly, summer approaches.

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