Effects of Positive BehaviorReinforcement Systems on Student EngagementNational University, Department of Education, Master of Science in Special Education By Carol A. Johnson
Question to the AudienceHow many of you have stood in front of an audience of young people giving what you thought was an awesome lesson and then thought, nobodys listening?
Rationale for Action Research StudyIn classrooms all around America there exists a distinct correlation between motivation and engagement. If students are engaged during lesson time they will more likely know the answers to questions that are asked by the teacher. Because teachers and students are under great pressure to perform well on CST, STAR , CELDT, Benchmark tests, and Exit Examinations, engagement in the classroom becomes more important then ever.The question that will drive this action research study is: What positive behavior reinforcement system (PBRS) practices positively impact and ultimately increase student engagement?
Reflective Question for the AudienceDo you feel like there is too much pressure on you in the classroom to keep academic pace, to meet school objectives, or to prepare students for annual testing?Is there time for remediation?Is there time to have student-driven discussions?
OverviewAction Research is the process where educators can examine a problem that is in close relation to their own teaching practice (Mills, 2009). It entails the identification of a problem and using systematic research techniques to focus on possible solutions. This Action Research study will be conducted over a 9-week period. Data will be gathered in two segments, PBRS1 and PBRS2.
What is a Positive Behavior Reinforcement System A Positive Behavior Reinforcement System(PBRS), employs positive reinforcers to obtain desired behavior outcomes. Behavior expectations are determined by the teacher. Some examples of positive behavior reinforcers are: − Positive notes to students − Verbal Kudos − Report of gains to parents − A choice of preferred activities
Focus on Engagement Engagement is made up of two factors; motivation and engagement. According to Miriam-Websters Dictionary (2012), the definition of “motivate”; is to “impel, coerce”, and the definition for “engage”; is to “to be held”. As one can see from examining these transitive verbs that they are directly related.
Reflective Question to AudienceThink about what motivates you to remain engage during class.
Focus on EngagementThere are several competitors for student engagement in the classroom.1. Students peers2. Technology3. Teachers4. Home Life
Focus on EngagementWere you surprised to see teachers on the list? I was.However, a teachers instructional style delivering teacher active and student passive pedagogy can lead to student disengagement (F. Jones, J. Jones & P. Jones, 2007).Another study conducted by Lee, Robinson, and Sebastian, (2012), surveyed teachers and students in a high school setting. Respondents reported a lack of consistency in curriculum delivery.
Figure 1 – Factors Effecting Student Figure 1. Engagement Student Engagement Technology Teaching Style Students Personal Teacher/Active Home Life,Friends and Phones, Video Games, Student/Passive Hungry,Tirednon- Friends TV, Computers Figure A. Outlines the factors that effect student engagement in the classroom. The four areas that are compromising student engagement in the classroom are: students, technology, teaching style, and personal Issues . Hastings, Karas, Winsler, Way, Madigan, & Tyler, 2009; Jones, F., 2009; McLeod, 2012; NEA, 2011; Graham, 2011.
Review of LiteratureWhen beginning an action research study, one must research prior studies that have been done in the researchers subject.For this study, over 20 peer reviewed studies were reviewed. During the review of literature process, themes evolved that gave the researcher an opportunity to rethink solutions to the engagement problem.
Review of Literature: Key ThemesThe following themes emerged from the review of literature process of the action research study. Focus on Engagement Understanding Reinforcers School-wide Positive Behavior Systems Stand-alone Positive Behavior Systems Teacher Resiliency and Equity Positive Behavior Reinforcement System Tools
Understanding Positive Reinforcers According to Daniels (2000) there are four types of reinforcers: (a) positive, (b) negative, ( c) punishment, and (d) penalty. The two major types of reinforcers used in education are positive and negative reinforcers. Positive reinforcements can increase desired behaviors, while negative reinforcements can increase undesirable behaviors.
Reflective Question to AudienceDo you incorporate any positive reinforcers into your daily classroom practices?What does positive reinforcers look like in your classroom?What does negative reinforcers look like in your classroom?
School-wide Positive Behavior Systems School-wide Positive Behavior Systems use positive reinforcers to encourage positive behaviors on a large scale. According to Bradshaw, Debnam, and Pas, (2012), some of the reinforcers used at schools are: − Catch students being good games − School Wide set of behavioral expectations − School-wide use of positive notes − The Tiered system to offer more intensive services for students who require it. − Mentoring programs
Stand-alone Positive Behavior Systems Stand-alone Positive Behavior Systems are programs that can be used on a small scale. These systems are more in a teachers locus of control. Some example of stand-alone systems are: − Self-monitoring systems − Card Systems − Point Systems − Classroom behavioral expectation instruction − Tangible rewards − Positive reports of student progress
Teacher Resiliency and Equity Teaching in K-12 schools can be very stressful. Working as a Special education teacher can be even more challenging. Many students have behavior issues built into to their diagnoses (Mauro, 2012). This makes it hard for districts to retain good teachers in this high demand area (Shook, 2012). According to Homes, Romer, and Ross, (2012), teachers who taught at Positive Behavior Schools reported less burnout. According to Cox, Nelson, and Young, (2010), in order to sustain any PBRS program, teachers need to be given regular feedback, and be provided with incentives and rewards.
Reflective Question for AudienceBurnout happens to teachers all the time. What steps can you take to prevent this from happening to you?
Positive Behavior System Tools There are some tools that teachers can employ to help them observe, evaluate, and monitor student behaviors. The Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA) and Direct Behavior Rating Forms (DBR) can be used by teachers with practice. For this study the DBR form was chosen. It utilizes a linear graph scale to assist with teacher observations. Teachers simply put a mark on the line to measure the desired or undesired behavior (See Figure 2).
Positive Behavior Intervention The Positive Behavior Intervention chosen for this study was the self-monitoring system (See Figure 3). The system uses a form that students mark at intervals to measure the progress in the teacher inspired domains. The domains chosen for this study were: − Respect − Responsibility − Work Completion − Safety
Data Collection and Analysis Focus on Triangulation Data analysis for the study will be done in two segments. The first segment will be PBRS1 and the other PBRS2. PBRS1 & PBRS2 – Data that will be gathered will be parent surveys, researcher field notes, and student records. The data will be kept in a secure location and students will be given number identifiers to protect their identity. At the end of PBRS2, data will be compared and results will be reported.
Implications for PracticeMost predictors for a successful PBRS program were designs that included: classroom procedures and management, coupled with implementation practices involving goals and incentives.Other practices included: Teaching students social skills, role play expectations, check-ins with students, set routines for everything, report gains to parents, and routinely giving student choices.
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ReferencesAxelson, R., & Flick, A., (2011, January/February). Defining student engagement change. The Magazine of Higher Learning, 43(1), 38-43.Bradshaw, C., Debnam, K., & Pas, E., (2012, July). Secondary and tertiary systems in schools implementing school-wide positive behavior interventions and supports: A preliminary descriptive analysis. Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, 14(3), 142-152. doi:10.1177/1098300712436844Carter, c., Reschly, A., Lovelace, M., Appleton, J., Thompson, D., (2012). Measuring student engagement among elementary students: Pilot of the student engagement instrument-Elementary version. School Psychology Quarterly, 27(2), 61-73. doi: 1011037/t14378-000Cox, G., Nelson, J., Young, E., & Young, B., (2010). Preventing school failure, 54(2) 119-125.Daniels, A., (2000). Bringing out the best in people: How to apply the astonishing power of positive reinforcement. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.
ReferencesHomes, R., Romer, N., & Ross, S., (2012, April). Teacher well-being and implementation of SWPB Interventions and Supports. Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, 14(2), 118-128. doi: 10.1177/1098300711413820Lee, V., Robinson, S., & Sebastian, J., (2012, Feb/Mar). The quality of instruction in urban schools: Comparing mathematics and science to English and social studies classes in Chicago. 95(3), 14-48.Mauro, T., (2012). The ABCs of behavior management. Retrieved from http://specialchildren.about.com/d/behaviorissues/tp/ABCs.htmMills, G., (2009). Action research: A guide for the teacher researcher. (4 th Ed.) Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, Inc.Miriam-Webster. (2012). M-w.com Retrieved from http://search .yahoo.com/search;_ylt=A1HfggoetoTmzvhy69D6d1WbvZx4? p=miriam+webster&toggle=1&cop=mss&ei=UTF-8&fr=yfp-t-701Shook, A., (2012, March). A study of preservice educators dispositions to change behavior management strategies. Preventing school failure, 56. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org.ezproxy.nu.edu/10.1080/1045988X.2011.606440