This is the third in a series I’m calling The Behaviour Files, in which I explore ideas, strategies, and experiences educating students identified with behaviour exceptionalities.

I feel very fortunate to have someone like Tricia-Lee Keller in my PLN. I recently asked her if she could recommend some resources or books on practical methods for helping students with behavioural problems/exceptionalities. I discuss one of them below.

The Book: Prevent-Teach-Reinforce: The School-Based Model of Individualized Positive Behavior Support

Authors: Glen Dunlap, Rose Iovannone

Published: Brookes Publishing, December 18 2009

Summary: An easy to read handbook for using research-based behaviour interventions in K-8 schools.

Prevent: Changes made to activities, settings, circumstances, people.
Teach: Teaching new skills for student to learn
Reinforce: Effective motivators are selected and used

Five steps in Prevent Teach Reinforce process:

  1. Teaming
  2. Goal Setting
  3. Assessment
  4. Intervention
  5. Evaluation

Step 1: Choose to use 1 of 3 Teaming approaches:

  1. A Multidisciplinary Approach, in which professionals involved are assigned and complete tasks independently, usually due to time constraints to meet.
  2. An Interdisciplinary Approach, in which team members are responsible for their particular areas of expertise and relevance, and meet regularly. Parents are incorporated into the process as active team members.
  3. A Transdisciplinary Approach that is similar to the previous one, yet has team members working across all areas of expertise and experience, includes regular meetings, and relies on parents as significant role players.

At our school, we are mostly limited to using the multidisciplinary approach due to staffing and time constraints.

My Thoughts on the Book:
I was able to read this book within a matter of days. I decided to tackle it first because it seemed very practical. The book is well laid out, and it clearly provides rationale and steps to take in a concise, clear manner. We have decided to implement the PTR approach with some students at our school, and many of us feel relieved that we are basing our strategy on, well, a strategy that is tried and tested, rather than one that we make up on the fly in a reactionary manner. We want to be proactive and intentional in our methods.

One thing the book has shed light on for me is the extent to which our resources are strained in our system. I really wish we could help all of these children with a true transdisciplinary team approach, where professionals from many disciplines could collaborate and meet on a regular basis to help child, teacher, school, and family.

With that in mind, we are already in the midst of using PTR with a couple of students and are starting to see positive changes already. The students are responding well to the Teach and Reinforce steps, and it has been wonderful to ground our professional conversations in a framework, as opposed to only anecdotal and personal discourse.

If you or your school are feeling lost in your work with students who need behavioural supports, I highly recommend PTR as a great entry point for behaviour modification theory and practice.