New Course – Managing Challenging Behavior Part 3 – Tier 2 Strategies

New Course – Managing Challenging Behavior Part 3 – Tier 2 Strategies

The positive behavior support framework is a three-tiered system that can be applied on a schoolwide, classroom, or individual basis. In applied behavioral analysis the science that guides the positive behavior support framework is traditionally referred to as functional behavioral assessment. At the tier 2 level, it’s more commonly referred to as function-based thinking. So, what does this mean? Simply put, you’ll be looking not only at what behaviors are challenging the learning environment, but also why the behaviors are occurring.

To fully use function-based thinking, it's important for educators to understand three concepts:

  1. setting events
  2. triggering antecedents
  3. maintaining consequences

As you get to know your students, you'll begin to anticipate setting events because the fallout is obvious in the classroom. The day after a break or holiday could always be hard for a particular student or a child is out of sorts when a parent travels for work.

Unlike setting events, triggering antecedents happen immediately before the challenging behavior. Think of these events as the final straw. On the surface it might appear that the problem behavior came out of nowhere but careful investigation will usually reveal the link between the triggering antecedent and a setting event. Common triggering antecedents include difficult tasks, conflict with peers, changes in routine, painful memories, and sensory triggers.

A maintaining consequence is actually the reinforcement for behavior. In other words, what does the disruptive student get out of those actions? For example, certain behavior may lead to time out of class, individualized attention, or a chance to avoid the assignment. The science of applied behavior analysis tells us that behavior doesn’t continue or increase unless it’s reinforced, so our job as educators is figuring out how we’re reinforcing both positive and challenging behavior.

Guiding Questions

If you suspect a student is using challenging behavior to get something, ask the following guiding questions.

  • What’s the student trying to get?
  • What happened after the challenging behavior?
  • Did the consequence reinforce the behavior in some way?
  • How do you need to respond differently so as to stop reinforcing the behavior?

If you suspect the student is using challenging behavior to get away from something, ask the following guiding questions.

  • When, where, and with whom does the behavior occur?
  • What happens before the behavior?
  • Do you think the individual is trying to protest, avoid, or escape these potential triggers? If so, why?
  • Can these potential triggers be removed?
  • If the potential triggers can be removed, should they?

While it can be frustrating when a student doesn't respond to tier 1 interventions in the ways we'd hoped, tier 2 interventions provide opportunities to help students develop lifelong behavior modification strategies.

These tips are from the new course Managing Challenging Behavior Part 3: Tier 2 Strategies. For more courses from author Kaye Otten and other behavior management best practices, visit the Behavior category in your course library. If you're interested in previewing our courses, seeing how our training system works, or learning how we're partnering with other districts, request a demo below. We offer engaging, evidence-based online training to all staff who support diverse learners.

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