Academic journal article Education & Treatment of Children

The Impact of Universal Teacher Practices and Function-Based Behavior Interventions on the Rates of Problem Behaviors among At-Risk Students

Academic journal article Education & Treatment of Children

The Impact of Universal Teacher Practices and Function-Based Behavior Interventions on the Rates of Problem Behaviors among At-Risk Students

Article excerpt

Abstract

The call for effective instructional and classroom management is frequent within the professional literature. However, type, amount, and sequence of strategies sufficient to impact rates of problem behavior are often missing or listed with limited guidance on differentiation based on student pattern of problem behavior. The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of universal teacher practices on general education students exhibiting problem behaviors, and the impact of such practices on specific students given the function of problem behavior. Specifically, this study was interested in exploring the extent to which universal teacher practices, when applied for all students in the classroom, impacted student behavior in general education settings. Additionally, this study was interested in examining the additive effect of combining both targeted classroom supports in the form of universal teacher practices and functional behavioral assessment-based interventions through a multiple-baseline design. Results indicated that when universal teacher practices are applied, rates of problem behaviors decrease based on the function of behavior. Implications for practice and research are discussed.

Keywords: Positive Behavior Support (PBS), functional behavior assessment (FBA), classroom universals, at-risk students, problem behaviors

Three-Tiered Approach

Rooted in the Positive Behavior Support (PBS) literature is the effectiveness of implementing a three-tiered approach to the prevention and intervention of problem behaviors. The three-tiered approach begins with universal practices (Tier 1) that are applied to all students. Tier 2 focuses on students not responding to universal practices and need more specialized support (Fox, Dunlap, Hemmeter, Joseph, & Strain, 2003). Tier 3, or individual interventions, is intensive, functional behavior assessment (FBA)-based interventions designed for individual students (Horner, Albin, Todd, Newton, & Sprague, 2010). There is a growing body of literature that supports the impact of universal teacher practices (Tier 1) on the overall classroom environment, specifically student behavior. Research has demonstrated that teacher practices directed toward all students influence the feasibility of implementing consistent, quality interventions for individual students (Bradshaw, Mitchell, & Leaf, 2010; Conroy & Stichter, 2003; Kamps, Kravits, Rauch, Kamps, & Chung, 2001; Reinke, Herman, & Stormont, 2013). Further, research has demonstrated that the combination of universal teacher practices and individually designed function-based interventions are effective in reducing problem behaviors (Trussell, Lewis, & Stichter, 2008). Previous literature has provided sufficient evidence that the FBA process yields information that can be used to design effective individual behavioral interventions (Tier 3) (Gage, Lewis, & Stichter, 2012; O'Neill et al., 1997).

Although the literature has demonstrated that both universal and individually designed interventions reduce problem behaviors, previous research has tended to focus separately on either individually designed interventions or universal practices. There is a need to further explore the relationship and effectiveness of universal teacher practices and individual behavior interventions when applied separately and in conjunction.

Universal Teacher Practices

Research on effective classrooms has identified universal teacher practices that promote student achievement and appropriate social behavior (Conroy & Stichter, 2003). Universal teacher interaction practices have been shown to have strong impact on the academic and social development of students (Brophy & Good, 1986; Kern & Clemens, 2007; Sutherland, Adler, & Gunter, 2003; Sutherland, Wehby, & Yoder, 2002). Universal teacher interaction practices can be conceptualized as a balance between instruction, prompts, and feedback (Ferkis, Belfiore, & Skinner, 1997). …

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