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Positive Behaviour Support

What is PBS and what does it mean to be a staff member in our PBS school?

PBS is a research-based process that, when correctly implemented, is proven to create safer and more effective schools. PBS relies on organisational change strategies to improve the social culture, learning and teaching environment in schools, and to provide the individual behaviour supports needed to achieve academic and social success for all students.

Students in our school come from many different backgrounds and cultures that view “behaviour” differently thus we cannot assume that students know how to behave appropriately when at school. CBPS has a higher number of students in care of the Department for Child Protection and Family Support than ANY other school in the state. We have a high number of students who have not been taught school behaviours at home, and who therefore make mistakes at school.

We view behaviour infractions as errors requiring teaching, rather than character faults to be fixed by punishment.

Many of our students are making poor choices when confronted with a conflict. This may be because the behaviours that are taught to them at home are not the same as those we would like them to use at school. Consequently, we must teach our students how to behave at school to ensure that they do make better choices. PBS views inappropriate behaviour in the same manner that problems in reading or math are viewed…as a skill deficit. When a skill deficit exists, we must teach the appropriate skill.

The science of human behaviour has taught us that students are not “born with bad behaviour,” and they do not learn better ways of behaving when given aversive consequences for their problem behaviours (Alberto and Troutman, 2001; Sulzer-Azaroff and Mayer, 1994; Walker et al., 1996). Successfully addressing problem behaviour requires an increased emphasis on proactive approaches in which expected and more socially acceptable behaviours are directly taught, regularly practised in the natural environment, and followed by frequent, specific, skill focussed positive reinforcement.

Some core beliefs about behaviour and how we change it in a PBS school:

A Starting Point

  • We can’t make students learn or behave.
  • We can create environments that increase the likelihood that students will learn and behave.
  • Environments that increase this likelihood are guided by a core curriculum which is implemented with consistency and fidelity.

Classrooms where students behave appropriately do not happen by accident – the adults in them have cleverly designed the physical environment, explicitly taught students appropriate behaviour, have excellent classroom management practices and constantly modify their own behaviour to get the response they want from students.

Beliefs about inappropriate student behaviour in a PBS School:

Behaviour is a form of communication and some students learn that problem behaviour is the best way to get their needs met. As adults, we need to recognise that recurring misbehaviour occurs for a reason and take this into account when determining how to respond to misbehaviour. When we are able to identify the function or purpose of the behaviour, we can more effectively intervene.

If a student repeatedly engages in problem behaviour, he/she is most likely doing it for a reason – it is ‘paying off’ for the student. Therefore the behaviour is functional and serves a purpose for the student.

Behaviour is functional; it is not good or bad. It is functional because it pays off in some way and the student is encouraged to repeat the behaviour.

In PBS there is a strong focus on Antecedents, the things we can do as adults to support students to be successful in achieving behavioural outcomes.

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