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Q. Can you recommend a simple, evidence-based program for African American middle school students to keep them happily engaged in school? A program that one paraprofessional could implement for a group of students?
A. That’s a tall order! Although more research is needed to reach the standard of being evidence-based, programs designed to improve school engagement for African American students typically are not simple, not implemented by a paraprofessional, and usually involve staff development, training, and systems-level changes in schools and school districts. Mentoring and tutoring are activities that trained paraprofessionals or other individuals can do that have some evidence of being helpful for African American students and other students, although these often are one on one interventions. I do not know of a program that fits your description perfectly. If you find one, please tell me! Programs known to enhance school engagement for students of any ethnicity or race should be considered. These would not be implemented by one paraprofessional acting alone. However, with training and support from others on the school staff, a paraprofessional could be a key person in the implementation. Here are some to consider:
Check and Connect
- Dropout prevention: http://checkandconnect.org
- In middle school: http://www.ncset.org/publications/essentialtools/dropout/part3.3.03.asp
- With African American students: http://evidencebasedprograms.org/wordpress/?page_id=92
A replication study (Sinclair, Christenson, & Thurlow, 2005) conducted with primarily African American males examined the outcomes of high school students with emotional disabilities for up to 5 years. When compared with the outcomes of a comparison group, students in C&C had fewer dropouts and more participation in post high school transition plans.
Check, Connect, and Expect – A version developed in the NW
Check-in, Check-out (also known as the Behavior Education Program)
Crone, D.A., Hawken, L. S., & Horner, R. H. (2010). Responding to problem behavior in schools, Second Edition: The Behavior Education Program. The Guilford Practical Intervention in the Schools Series. New York: Guilford Press.
Hawken, L. S., Pettersson, H., Mootz, J., & Anderson, C. (2006). The Behavior Education Program: A check-in, check-out intervention for students at risk. Video or DVD. New York: Guilford Press.
Q. Do you know of any reviews of research looking specifically at the role of role-plays in social skills instruction?
A. No. However, a recent article about Aggression Replacement Training® in Reclaiming Children and Youth, 19(2), pp. 47-50, by Mark Amendola and Robert Oliver (2010) might be of interest. They talk about recent revisions of the work of one of my favorite researchers in the field of social skills: Arnold Goldstein. He worked with Ellen McGinnis and she has made some videos about how they recommend using role play: http://www.srpublications.com/juvenile/Skillsstreaming.htm
Q. Can you recommend some videos related to classroom management?
A: Yes, here are a few:
What Works in Schools from the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development: Set of 3 – school, teacher, and student factors & note-taking guide to use as an activity.
Defusing Anger and Aggression from Iris Media – http://www.lookiris.com This is an excellent, excellent video – features Geoff Colvin & illustrates the right way & the wrong way for teachers to handle problem behaviors. Shows how teachers can make things better or worse by what they do.
Aggression Replacement Training from Research Press – http://www.researchpress.com
Discipline Strategies: Tough Times for Teachers from American Guidance Service, Inc. & the Bureau for At-Risk Youth. Call 1-800-328-2560. Set of 5. Have a discussion about what people agree -- or disagree with -- on these and why.
Catch ‘Em Being Good from Boys Town (for parents but relevant as teachers need to talk with parents and also can talk about how the negative coercive patterns – as well as positive skills – can generalize across settings)
"Positive Behavior Support in Schools" Videotape. Produced by the OSEP Center on Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports. Available from ECS here at the U of O -- http://www.uoecs.org
The BK4K Video "Not My Friends-Not My School" Ribbon of Promise – see http://www.ribbonofpromise.org/bk4k/video.html
Making Inclusion More Successful Bureau of Education and Research, Bellview, WA. Actually two – also has neat handouts that go with it.
Early Screening Project from Sopris West -- http://www.sopriswest.com – has video that illustrates (and trains data collectors) operational definitions and what it means to measure duration of a problem behavior.
Improving Classroom Behavior: Solutions for Inattentive, Withdrawn and Aggressive Children from NPR – http://www.nprinc.com – This is a dvd and it is one that is good for a discussion about which of the suggested solutions might work and which might not in different situations.
Q. Does the use of response cost cause teachers to punish more than they praise or changes in the positive to negative ratio of teacher-student interactions?
A. I could not find any research study indicating that the use of response cost causes changes in the positive to negative ratio of teacher-student interactions. A great deal of research is available on response cost in terms of how to use it most effectively to change STUDENT behavior. I did not find any research on how it affects TEACHER behavior. However, we do know that teachers would do well to be more positive than negative. Most research on teachers’ classroom management methods indicates that, although a 4:1 positive to negative ratio is what experts recommend (see Lori Newcomer, “Universal Positive Behavior Support for the Classroom” at http://www.pbis.org/common/pbisresources/publications/PBIS_newsletter_V4I4.pdf), in reality, for most teachers the opposite is typical (see http://etd.library.vanderbilt.edu/available/etd-04152010-074602/unrestricted/TaraMoorePartinDissertationVUformat.pdf ). Studies are available on ways to increase teachers’ use of praise. One is to teach children to prompt teachers to give them positive feedback and here is a reference for how to do that: Todd, A., Horner, R., & Sugai, G. (1999). Effects of self-monitoring and self-recruited praise on problem behavior, academic engagement and work completion in a typical classroom. Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, 1, 66-76. Another way would be to set up a school system for “positive referrals” where teachers send to the principal notes when kids do well. For other types of positive procedures recommended in connection with school-wide positive behavior support, see the PowerPoint, “Acknowledgement Systems: School Examples” at http://www.pbis.org/common/pbisresources/presentations/B7_SGoodman.pdf
Q. Can you provide me with a classroom activity for students that I could give to teachers to use that would combine psychodynamic problem solving processes for students, to improve their attitudes, with school wide positive behavior support (SWPBS)?
A. No, I don’t have a classroom activity like that. If you find one, I would like to see it. I am interested in the concepts you brought up and think they are worth exploring. Let’s sort them out. First, SWPBS as a three-tiered approach is described in many resources on http://pbis.org and it is fundamentally a systems level behavioral approach. That is, initial responsibility for prevention of problem behavior at all three tiers, all levels (primary/universal, secondary/targeted, and tertiary/intensive individual) rests on the adults – teachers, administrators, all school staff, and, when needed, district specialists. Further, these adults are to work as a team to assess the behavioral functions of problem and of appropriate behaviors, to collect data over time (before, during, and after intervention and on fidelity of adults’ implementation of planned interventions as well as changes in students’ problem behaviors) when engaging in problem solving. Certainly, students do need to learn problem solving methods. However, it is important to understand the essential differences between behavioral and psychodynamic approaches to addressing problem behaviors.
With the behavioral approach, the focus will be on the antecedents and maintaining consequences for problem and appropriate behavior and what adults in a school system can do to prevent problem behavior and to increase appropriate student behavior because the basic assumption is that future behavior will occur in response to past and current sequences of antecedent-behavior-consequence (where the word “consequence” can refer to positive reinforcers as well as punishments). Here are four recent books on this approach: Defusing DISRUPTIVE BEHAVIOR in the Classroom (2010, by Geoff Colvin, Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin, A SAGE Company) is described in the foreword by Robert H. Horner as "a book for experienced teachers who already use the basic prevention and reward practices . . . In this text Geoff Colvin takes us through that next level of more difficult interactions [and] how we can create schools where more students succeed" (pp. viii-ix). I like the diagrams and examples that illustrate specific situations. The 2nd edition of The Behavior Education Program will probably be even more popular than the first, especially when combined with the new online system for "Check In - Check Out" (see http://www.swis.org/index.php?page=news;n=10157) and the use of self-management strategies: Crone, D., Hawken, L., & Horner, R. (2010). Responding to problem behavior in schools, Second Edition: The Behavior Education Program. The Guilford Practical Intervention in the Schools Series. New York: Guilford Press. Developing schoolwide programs to prevent and manage problem behaviors: A step-by-step approach, by K. L. Lane, J. R. Kalberg, & H. M. Menzies, is an excellent resource for administrators, teachers, school psychologists, behavior specialists, and school teams, especially ones just getting started with SWPBS but would be of value also for those needing a refresher, a book for new staff, or wanting to move from the universal, primary prevention level to setting up systematic secondary and tertiary prevention level programs. It is published by Guilford (New York, 2009). Another new book (2009), the Handbook of Positive Behavior Support (edited by W. Sailor, G. Dunlap, G. Sugai, & R. Horner; published in New York by Springer), is a comprehensive reference on all aspects of the SWPBS approach, including up-to-date information on how it is being implemented in a variety of settings and locations, including alternative schools, community-based mental health settings, and juvenile justice settings (pages 461-492).
With the psychodynamic approach, the focus will be on the child’s cognitions – thoughts – and how presenting information, discussing, and talking about values, goals, character, responsibility, courage, self-esteem, etc., may cause the child to decide to improve his or her behavior. This approach assumes that future behaviors are not necessarily occurring in response to external, environmental antecedents and consequences but rather, are occurring in response to internal cognitions, beliefs, attitudes, and the child’s “worldview.”
It might be possible to combine these two approaches but typically, they would lead to very different activities. For example, when a child misbehaves in an extremely disruptive way, such that he or she might even be restrained for safety, with the psychodynamic approach, one might decide that is the time to have a life-space interview where the adult would try to get the child to think about how his or her future and resolve to improve. With the SWPBS approach, the adult would need to consider what data, information, or evidence exists that would indicate the function of the child’s misbehavior and the action to be taken would be based on that. If any possibility exists that adult attention maintains misbehavior for this child, a life-space interview certainly would not be done immediately after misbehavior. Instead, adult attention would be kept at a minimum during and immediately after misbehavior and would be given when the child behaved appropriately. Or, if evidence and reason indicate that the child’s misbehavior functioned to make it possible for the child to escape or to avoid something, then a variety of alternatives to meet that need would be considered. A considerable body of research and literature has developed around such alternatives and other fine points of successful use of applied behavior analysis when implementing three tiered SWPBS. The following list includes a few key ideas and resources that may be helpful for social workers, teachers, parents, and others interested in combining SWPBS with cognitive behavioral interventions:
I. Positive peer pressure / peer-mediated interventions / social skills instruction / interpersonal problem solving / cooperative learning:
(a) SEARCH Institute http://www.search-institute.org/Great+Group+Games
(b) “Use of Classroom Assistants and Peer-Mediated Intervention to Increase Integration in Preschool Settings” by Keith Storey, Deborah J. Smith, Phillip S. Strain; (Exceptionality, Vol. 4, 1993)
(c) http://www.cast.org/publications/ncac/ncac_peermii.html This web site has lots of information on these topics – lots!
(d) “Youth action research for prevention: A multi-level intervention designed to increase efficacy and empowerment among urban youth” By Berg, Marlene; Coman, Emil; Schensul, Jean J. (American Journal of Community Psychology, 43(3-4), Jun 2009, 345-359).
Youth Action Research for Prevention (YARP) is a multilevel intervention designed to reduce and/or delay onset of drug and sex risk, while increasing individual and collective efficacy and educational expectations.
II. Person-centered Planning
This can be adapted to meet the needs of different types of students. Here are a few examples:
http://www.pbis.org/common/pbisresources/presentations/feemanpcppbs.pdf (on this one, scroll down until you come to “Person-centered Planning and Wraparound)
III. Functional behavioral assessment (FBA)
“Proactive Functional Behavior Assessment as a Collaborative Team Process” by Terrance M. Scott, C. Michael Nelson, and Carl J. Liapusin, retrieved from http://www.pbis.org/pbis_newsletter/volume_1/issue3.aspx
Building Connections Between Individual Behavior Support Plans and Schoolwide Systems of Positive Behavior Support” by Lori Newcomer & Tim Lewis, retrieved from http://www.pbis.org/pbis_newsletter/volume_1/issue4.aspx
“Behavior Function: Staying Close to What We Know” by George Sugai and Rob Horner, retrieved from http://www.pbis.org/pbis_newsletter/volume_1/issue1.aspx
“Parent’s Guide to Functional Behavioral Assessment, 3rd ed.” by Tary Tobin, retrieved from http://uoregon.edu/~ttobin/Tobin-par-3.pdf
This has many, many variation and can be used with the above interventions and other SWPBS interventions. It is important for the adults involved in initiating any SWPBS intervention to think about how, and when, to eventually fad out their actions while gradually teaching and reinforcing self-management and other generalization and maintenance strategies. Below are a few related references:
Buethe, M. (2009). C-O-U-N-T C-A-R-B-S: A 10-step guide to teaching carbohydrate counting. The Diabetes Educator, 34, 67-74.
Clark, L.A., McKenzie, H. S. (1989). Effects of self-evaluation training of seriously emotionally disturbed children on the generalization of their classroom rule
following and work behaviors across settings and teachers. Behavioral Disorders, 14, 89-98.
Gunter, P. L., Miller, K. A., Venn, M. L., Thomas, K., & House, S. (2002). Self-graphing to success: Computerized data management. Teaching Exceptional Children, 35, 30-34.
Sasso, G. M., Melloy, K. J., & Kavale, K. A. (1990). Generalization, maintenance, and behavioral covariation associated with social skills training through structured learning. Behavioral Disorders, 16, 9-22.
Smith, S. W. & Gilles, D. L. (2003). Using key instructional elements to systematically promote social skills generalization for students with challenging behavior. Intervention in school and clinic, 39, 30-37.
Stokes, T. F., & Baer, D. M. (1977). An implicit technology of generalization. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 10, 349-367.
Stokes, T. F., & Osnes, P. G. (1986). Programming the generalization of children's social behavior. In P. S. Strain, M. J. Guralnick, & H. M. Walker (Eds.), Children's social behavior: Development, assessment, and modification (pp. 407-443). Orlando, FL: Academic Press.