Before implementing a behavior management system, it's imperative to know several different things, such as identifying and developing reinforcers for your students, and what the function of their behavior is. Here are some things about behavior I've learned over the years in my ABA trainings and simply working with students in my classroom.
ALL behavior is a form of communication and serves a function (to get something or get out of something). There are 4 functions of behavior, and you can easily remember them with this simple acronym: SEAT...
S-sensory (taps the pleasure zone in the brain)
E-escape (trying to escape or avoid something)
A-attention (when a student is trying to get your attention or that of his/her peers)
T-tangible (can be a toy/object or power/control).
One behavior that looks the same can have very different functions. Ask yourself: "What is he/she getting from it?" When you figure out the function of the behavior, you'll want to try to be proactive instead of reactive. Here is one example (of many) for how to be proactive vs. reactive for just one example of each function...
Sensory: give a squishy ball vs. "stop it"
Escape: provide a first, then or when, then vs. stopping them
Attention: positive reinforcement/attention before the behavior vs. ignoring the behavior (I know you may be thinking "but ignoring works!", but just think-if a new, appropriate behavior is fragile and not reinforced, the likelihood of it being maintained is decreased.)
Tangible: for an item--teach them to ask for the item vs. take it away from them; for power--give them an amount of control that is acceptable by you (for example, I had a kid who was bossy, so I gave him the job of picking who got to go line up first from our whole group activity...solved that problem!)
Every behavior that you experience will fit into one of these 4 functions, and knowing the function will allow you to figure out how to modify the behavior, if needed. Think about some of your own behaviors!...What are the functions of your behaviors?!?!?
For a little poster to remember SEAT, click here!
For more behavior management ideas, you may also be interested in reading our posts on Walk, Talk, Rock and Seat Cushions for motivating students.