Behavior is Learned and Can be Taught

Published: 10/19/2012 8:50 AM

Two Major Types of Behavior with Special Population Students
To most people's surprise behavior in students is learned from some experience in their life.  This behavior may be positive or it may be negative.  All inappropriate behaviors that occur in the classroom fit into one of two categories:

Inappropriate Classroom Behavior (classroom conduct problems)
Examples of this type of behavior are talking out, fighting, arguing, out of seat, or swearing.
Poor Study Skills
Failure to complete tasks, poor attention span, or failure to follow directions.  By identifying what category the student's behavior falls under will help in the strategies to minimize or reduce the occurrence of that behavior.
Typical Needs of Special Need Students  (see below for document) This document is a chart that lists major categories of special population students, and some negative characteristics this type of population commonly has.  This chart may help you better understand the categories related to the disability.
Helpful Procedures to Change Behavior (see below for document) This document gives suggestions on ways to reduce a negative behavior and increase a desired behavior in the classroom with simple procedures.  The chart demonstrates four learning concepts explaining the effect on the behavior it will have, and how you can obtain that behavior with examples.
Using Reinforcement in Your Classroom Effectively
Reinforcement can be an easy and effective way to take control of a situation/behavior in your classroom.  This is just one suggestion that may help students who have no drive, to initiate the learning process themselves. 

To the right is an attachment that is used in determining and maintaining a reinforcement system.  First you have the students complete the Reinforcement Inventory so that you can better understand your students likes and dislikes, as well as what may motivate them in class.  The next activity is to come up with a Reinforcement Menu for your classroom.  This menu gives point values to various tasks, projects, or behaviors you desire to have in your classroom (example: turning project on time 2 points or No tardies for 2 weeks are given 5 points).  If a student completes the desired behavior (not all items on a daily basis are given points just special/random to continue interest) they are given a set number of points.  These points can then be used to obtain some item from the Reinforcement Menu.  The menu lists various rewards/privileges with point values next to them.  A student may cash in their good points received towards any item on the menu they can afford.  Students have the option of spending their points right away or saving up for bigger prizes.  The point of the exercise is to create a positive classroom, and reward those students doing what they are suppose to be doing, and to decrease the amount of times negative criticisms are the focus.  One tip is to make sure the menu is listed in a place where students can see it.