Recent draft: Topic- School-Wide Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS)

Topic: School-Wide Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS)

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Type: Essay
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Volume: 5 pages

Behaviorism and Psychology: The Foundation of Positive Behavioral Support (PBS)
The information provided by Sailor (2009) suggests that problem behaviors including self-injury, hostility, outbursts, and property destruction have been persistent obstacles to successful education, socialization, and adaptation to learning environments. To curb these problems, the application of behavioral principles through positive behavioral supports (PBS) has been implemented in schools. These supports are purposed to establish suitable behaviors to attain long-lasting change. While Sailor (2009) points out the behavior that needs modification Sailor et al. (2009) have explained the fact that behavior can be modified and therefore they explore the factors that present the need to implement PBIS. Sailor (2009) argues that from the need to improve children’s lives with severe behavioral problems through application of principles of behavior, PBS was founded. As new information and challenges emerged in student’s behavior PBS also evolved quickly. According to Kincaid et al. (2016), the dynamism of PBIS is what has made it grow tremendously in the last 2016. Although there has been tremendous growth as discussed by Kincaid et al. (2016), Welch (2015) points out the fact that the challenges surrounding PBIS stem from the fact that there is insufficient research that can be relevant to re-direct bad behavior in schools. For this reason, the basis for PBS in accordance with the sentiments of Sailor (2009) is the premise that the priced elements of individuals’ lives which make them feel important depends of their ability to project competent behavior.
Some scientists took it upon themselves to make attempts to establish the various factors that can lead to modifying behavior. According to Sailor et al. (2009), the basis of the arguments and the theories presented by the likes of Pavlov and Skinner lies in the fact that behavior can be modified. This discovery led to the coining of various methods which has proved to be relevant over time in understanding and rehabilitating students to make them more adaptable in their schools.
Classical Conditioning
Classical Conditioning as described by Pavlov who used dogs has his test subject. According to Kappel, Dufrense and Mayer (2012), Pavlov linked external stimuli to the behavior of his test subjects. Pavlov’s classical conditioning theory was coined by observing that after frequently associating the sound of a bell with food, the dogs would automatically salivate. Rescorla (2014) describes this finding by Pavlov as associative learning. Kappel, Dufrense, and Mayer (2012) go ahead to explain that behavior management and modification are based on the teaching of new ways which is more or less like an adaptive response. This argument by Kappel, Durfense and Mayer (2012) merely emphasize the sentiments out across by Rescorla (2014). Associative learning demands the introduction of a stimulus which the subject can identify with and adapt to the changes that come with having that stimulus around. These findings were the basis of Pavlov’s classical conditioning. Similarly, Sailor et al. (2009) put into perspective the fact that it is possible to judge responses to intervention and this possibility goes a long way in facilitating effective change. Fanselow and Sterlace (2014) noted that Pavlov introduced pain as one of the stimuli to alter behavior. Based on this study by Pavlov, Fanselow and Sterlace (2014) settled on the fact that rewards and fear are some of the modalities that can be altered to effect a learning process. This finding by Fanselow and Sterlace (2014) come a long way in complementing the thoughts by Sailor et al. (2009) and those by Kappel, Dufrense and Mayer (2012). On the contrary, Eysenk and Martin (2013) point out that although the behavioral approach as presented by Pavlov was entirely accurate, other scientists discovered some loopholes that were yet to be analyzed. Eysenk and Martin (2013) pointed out the fact that there were some factors such other external stimuli that determined the change of behavior. In agreement, Rescorla (2014) was keen to point out the fact that the circumstances under which the learning is executed determine the success of associative learning. Although these arguments by Rescorla (2014) are correct, it is these situations and environments that determine the response to behavior. Sailor et al. (2009) described them as interventions that modify behavior. Classical conditioning is one of the theories that have influenced the dynamism of behavioral studies, and the findings have come in handy to determine the course of implementing PBIS in schools.
Operant Conditioning
Pavlov’s Classical Conditioning Theory was not the only one that was coined in an attempt to explain behavior. The likes of Skinner and Thorndike looked at behavior from a different from a point of view. The law of effect as discussed by Thorndike is one of the subjects that is considered in high regard when learning is the topic of discussion. According to Power (2012), Thorndike discovered that many times the behavior that received rewards was likely to recur compared to that which punishment was accorded. Power (2012) explains that Thorndike linked responses to situations associated with similar responses in the past. In the agreement, Olson (2015) discusses the fact that Thorndike’s law of effect is focused on the fact that a bond is established between a stimulus and the response, for this reason, a response is likely to recur if the same stimulus is applied. This discussion by Power (2012) and Olson (2015) take the center stage when looking at the approach used in schools especially when there is a need for behavior modification. Power (2012) is keen to highlight the fact that the operant conditioning theory is one that is highly regarded when addressing matters to do with behavior in schools. He continues to emphasize on the fact that by understanding the findings of such theories it is possible to reinforce the appropriate behavior or prevent inappropriate ones where necessary in schools. Behavior is the primary focus of PBIS hence the arguments by Power (2012) are highly considerable.
According to Keller and Schoenfeld (2014), Skinner’s approach is mainly centered on acclimatization. They present the fact that Skinner was more concerned with the rate at which a conditioned reflex was developed. Keller and Schoenfeld (2014) continue to explain that contrary to Skinner’s approach, Thorndike’s law of effect was a correlation between stimuli and effect. Keller and Schoenfeld (2014) present arguments similar to those presented by Power (2012). Both authors are on par with the fact that the law of effect as discussed by Thorndike is entirely based on the learned response towards a stimulus. On the same note, Power (2012) goes a little further to explain the fact that the effects of behavior, which can be either reward or punishment determine whether a given behavior will be repeated or not. According to Welch (2005), there is a need to assess the effects of implementation of PBIS in schools where emotionally disturbed African-American male students have been identified. On the other hand, Putnam and Kincard (2015) describe PBIS as a multifocal and multicentre approach towards providing improved behavior in schools. Based on these discussions by Welch (2005) and that by Putnam and Kincard (2015), the importance of understanding behavior theories comes alive. This discussion is with particular reference to the concept of reward versus punishment about Thorndike’s law of effect. This argument is also about the arguments put across by Power (2012) and Keller & Schoenfeld (2014).
Token Economies (Systematic Re-enforcement of Behavior)
Token economies ideas initially described b Watson is one of the approaches that can be adopted in order to teach positive behavior. According to Kazdin (2012), token economies is based on the operant conditioning tor as described by Skinner. Kazdin (2012) continues to discuss the fact that the systematic approach to behavior modification is based on the established relationship between behavior and its consequence. These ideas presented by Kazdin (2012) go hand in and with those by Keller and Schoenfeld (2014) who pointed out the fact that there is a connection between a behavior and a response. The response towards behavior determines whether the behavior is learnt or not.
Token economies is based on rewards and Kazdin (2012) highlights the fact that positive re-enforcement can either be primary or secondary. He continues to explain that primary re-enforcement is unconditioned while secondary re-enforcement is conditioned. Based on the concept of Token economies, Secondary re-enforcement makes more impact on behavior.
Carret et al. (2014) looks at the fact that token economies is an approach that can be used to modify behavior of children in schools. Carnett et al. (2014) continue to explain the fact that based on token economies an interest centered approach can be used to award tokens and hence enhance effectiveness of interventions put in place to modify behavior. Similarly, Martin and Pear (2015) explain that the token based approach can be used in a variety of settings. On the other hand, Skinner (2014) presents the fact that this methods are useful in creating the novel behavior. Ryan (2015) presents similar sentiments to those of Martin & Pear (2015). He agrees that the token approach is useful in a variety of settings and he goes further to explain that the link between target behavior and rewards.
Applied Behavior Analysis (Behaviorism)
Behavioral studies have transformed the approach to education over the years. The basic concepts surrounding understanding and conceptualizing human behavior have brought a new dimension in teaching and learning. It is for this reason that such measures such as School Wide PBIS have taken effect and are transforming the learning capabilities of students, particularly those with disabilities or those with disciplinary issues. According to Pierce and Cheney (2013) analysis of behavior is focused on understanding the parameters that surround the regulation and control of habits and behavior at large. Pierce and Cheney (2013) continue to explain that applied behavioral analysis is refers to the use of principles of behavior, learnt through research, to solve most of the practical problems. Research conducted by the likes of Pavlov and Skinner have formed the basis of Applied Behavioral Analysis. The interventions put in place in order to ensure that PBIS transforms lives are grounded on the research findings of these scholars of behavior. According to Horner and Sugai (2015), School-wide PBIS is one of the best of examples of how useful Applied Behavioral Analysis can be. Horner and Sugai (2015) continue to explain that PBIS has made impact when judged at the level of social importance. Similarly, Johnston et al. (2006) focused on making comparisons between PBIS and Applied Behavioral Analysis. From the findings presented by Johnston et al. it emerges that in order to adopt PBIS fully it is important to incorporate Applied Behavioral Analysis. On the contrary, Johnston et al. (2006) go ahead and highlight the fact that although Applied Behavior Analysis plays a significant role in the implementation of PBIS , it is important to note that there are other external factors that also have a part in influencing the effectiveness of PBIS.
All the others have been keen to present the fact that the usefulness of Applied Behavioral Analysis in learning cannot be taken for granted. Horner and Sugai (2015) take it a notch higher by presenting the relevance of Applied Behavioral Analysis as a means of creating social change through effective implementation of PBIS. For this reason, Applied Behavioral Analysis forms the basis of learning and behavior modification approached. Theories like the operant conditioning by Skinner and Pavlov’s Classical conditioning have been used to study human behavior and laying down strategies to help manage students in schools. This is a perfect example of the importance of Applied Behavioral Analysis.
History of Positive Behavioral Interventions and Support.
Positive Behavioral Intervention and Support dates way back to the 1980s. According to Sugai and Simonsen (2012), the need to improve the selection, documentation and effectiveness of behavioral interventions in school bred the idea of PBIS. Johnston et al. (2006) explain further that PBIS emerged from the controversies that surrounded aversive consequences when dealing with people with disability. Johnston et al. (2006) go ahead to explain that the sole reason behind having a common framework to manage behavior was to place an emphasis on values. The values highlighted by Johnston et al. (2006) include, Commitment, respect to individuals, meaningful outcomes, dignity and social validation. These values would go a long way in ensuring that people with disability learnt adaptable behavior in order to survive in society.
While Johnstone et al. (2006) are keen on the founding values surrounding PBIS, Sailor et al. (2008) give a clear framework of PBIS. Sailor et al. (2008) note that the inception of PBIS dates back to 1998 when the Office of Special Education Programs gave a mandate to the University of Oregon to come up with a system to help schools manage students with behavior. Similarly, Sugai and Simonsen (2012) point out the fact the main purpose of developing PBIS was to enhance academic and social behavioral outcomes among all students. On the other hand, Sailor et al. (2008) point out the fact that PBIS was meant to bring diversity in the approach to behavior with the focus being on values and technology. Sailor et al. (2008) bring out the fact that certain behavior such as aggression, self injury, withdrawal, non-compliance and disruption were the barriers to social success hence the need to address these issues. According to Morris and Horner (2016) PBIS has been centered on a problem solving approach. Based on the behavior pointed out by Sailor et al. (2008), one would understand why in the older days aversive consequences were used to modify behavior. For this reason, Morris and Horner take note of the fact that PBIS was designed to foster adaptive behavior.
Following the official inception of PBIS in 1998, Sugai and Simonsen (2012) point out the fact that there was need to re-define PBIS in the early 2000s. This change was meant to make PBIS suitable for both tech assistance and professional development. According to Sugai and Simosen (2012), PBIS was now fully equipped to enhance the adoption and implementation of evidence based interventions to achieve behavioral and academic outcomes. The main advantage was that this new framework was suitable for all students. Morris and Horner (2016) share the same sentiments as those of Sugai and Simonsen (2012). Morris and Horner (2016) agree that PBIS brought a non-aversive approach to behavior modification which was the best approach particularly towards people with disability. This kind of non-aversive approach uplifts the values that were discussed by Johnston et al. (2006).
Lewis et al. (2013) noted that the increasing number of disciplinary cases in schools posed as a challenge to positive learning among students. They explain that the school wide system that is now in place is an extension of the original PBIS that was set up in 1998. Lewis et al. (2013) explain that the current systems are focused on reducing disruptions in schools and increasing the capacity which has also seen students with behavioral problems benefit in a positive way. Johnston et al. (2006) highlight the fact that PBIS is based on antecedent control and manipulation of behavior and this explains why PBIS has been effective in re-enforcing positive behavior in schools.
According to Kincaid et al. (2016) PBIS has been dynamic and there has been remarkable growth over the last 25 years. Horner and Sugai (2015) go ahead to point out that PBIS has seen an emphasis on the social cultural aspects and all tiers linked to behavioral support. Horner and Sugai (2015) explain further that PBIS has improved educational and social outcomes of all students. These improved outcomes mentioned by Horner and Sugai (2015) are in line with the values described by Johnstone et al. (2006). It is important to appreciate the dynamic nature of PBIS as a framework and a tool for behavior modification. As discussed by Kincaid et al. (2016), the changes in PBIS have seen transformation of the education sector and ultimately the lives of the students who need behavior interventions. While Sailor et al. (2008) presents the behavior that needed modification, Johnstone et al. (2006) were keen on the values that would prove beneficial to the learners. The approach by Johnstone et al. (2006) brings out the true historical intentions of setting up PBIS.
1980s and the Need for Student Behavior Intervention
From its inception in the 1980s PBIS has emerged as one of the most effective behavioral intervention strategies put in place. According to Hehir (2009), parents raised a concern over the issue of segregating the children with mental retardation. Hehir (2009) notes that this move by the parents compelled the educators to effect intervention strategies such as PBIS. Contrary to the ideas presented by Hehir (2009), Sugai and Simonen (2012) are clear on the fact that the compelling need to improve selection, implement and monitor progress of behavioral intervention led to the development of a framework that could be used as a intervention for students with behavior modification. Although the argument by Sugai and Simonen are valid, Sugai and Horner (2009) focused on a different angle with regards to the need for PBIS. Sugai and Horner (2009)’s primary focus is the benefits of PBIS to the schools. Sugai and Horner (2009) categorically explain that the focus of implementing PBIS was so that schools could maximize the academic and social accomplishments of the learners. While Hehir (2009) brings out the fact that PBIS emerged out of the need to address the parents’ concerns, Sugai and Horner (2009) point out the need for PBIS came from a desire to improve the learning environment in schools. On the other hand, Sugai and Simonen (2012) present the fact that PBIS was focused on ensuring that the individual students gained maximally from the education system. This observation by Sugai and Simonen (2012) presents a different need from those pointed out by Hehir (2009) and Sugai & Horner (2009). Even though the authors share different ideologies, the common understanding is that PBIS was designed to make the learning experience by all students favorable.
According to Martin (2013), the implementation of PBIS in the 1980s presented the need to identify and implement effective behavioral interventions particularly for the benefit of students with behavior disorders. This finding by Martin (2013) goes hand in hand with the discussion by Sugai and Simonen (2012). D’Incan and Director (2014) present the fact that the primary focus since the 1980s has been making the school environment more adaptable by implementing and conceptualizing PBIS through implementation of positive behavioral practices. Although the PBIS stemmed from the desire to improve behavior there are a number of social cultural factors are yet to be addressed.
School Violence and Behavioral Challenges in Schools
The basis of the inception of PBIS was the need to avert negative behavior in schools. Flannery et al. (2014) point out the fact that statistics show an increase in the incidence of behavioral challenges in schools. On the contrary, Na and Gottfredson (2013) attribute this rise to the involvement of the police officers in matters to do with bad behavior. Although Flannery et al. (2014) look into the fact that interventions have come a long way in reducing the number of incidences of bad behavior in schools, the finding by Na and Gattfredson (2013) point to the fact that the nature of the intervention matters most. According to Flannery et al. (2014) School Wide PBIS has come a long way to reduce office referrals. On the other hand, Farrel, Henry and Bettencourt (2013) are keen on the fact that behavioral interventions and behavioral supports are the key to violence prevention. Although there are great prospects when it comes to averting school violence and behavioral challenges, Sage and Eitzen (2013) present the fact that the most common problems experienced in this day and age range from drug abuse to school violence. While Sage and Eitzen (2013) attribute these issues to the increasing demand to performance in Sports, Na and Gottfredson (2013) categorically point out that the use of police officers to enforce the law and prevent school violence has seen an increase in the use of drugs and the non-serious violence. Horner et al. (2005) outline the fact that the most effective measures that can be undertaken to prevent school violence include social skills training. This ideas presented by Horner et al. (2005) are congruent with those outlined by Franklin, Harris and Allen (2013) who explore the dynamics involved in taking an individual approach when it comes to behavioral interventions. Flannery et al. (2014), place an emphasis in the fact that School Wide PBIS have significantly reduced the cases of office referrals attributed to behavioral challenges. It is important to note that part of School Wide PBIS is the individualized training that is meant to transform behavior. For this reason, the argument presented by Flannery et al. (2014) are in line with those put across by Franklin, Harris and Allen (2013). According to Richard, Schneider and Mallet (2012) one of the behaviors that is unacceptable in schools is bullying. Horner et al. (2005) focus on the fact that schools are meant to provide safety and that the environment should be conducive enough for learning. It is behavior such bullying that Simonsen and Sugai (2013) classify as aggressive, antisocial and violent. While Simonsen and Sugai (2013) focus on branding the bad behavior, McCann (2014) prevents the fact the challenging behavior should be averted and anticipated. Even though School Wide PBIS has brought a dynamic shift when it comes to behavior management, McCann (2014) highlights the fact that it is important to identify the students who have the potential of turning violent. The students that McCann (2014) is talking about are those with the characteristics discussed by Simonsen and Sugai (2013). The issue of school violence can be averted and it can be resolved through individualized approach courtesy of PBIS and other interventions.
Disproportionate Representation of African-American Students with Behavioral Challenges
Behavioral challenges are experienced among people of diverse groups. McKenna (2013) presents the fact that there has been unequal when it comes to the eligibility of certain students for programs that are designed for those with emotional disturbances. In agreement with the ideas presented by McKenna (2013), the Vincent et al. (2012) focuses on the fact that there are more African American students who have disciplinary referrals. Vincent et al. (2012) is keen on the fact that the disproportion is based on racial and ethnic grounds. Williams et al. (2014) explain the findings by Vincent et al. (2012). William et al. (2014) put into consideration the fact that most of the African American students comes from under privileged back grounds particularly those of low incomes. Even though the arguments by Vincent et al. (2012) are founded on true concerns with regards to discrimination, it is true that hardship as presented by Williams et al. (2014) has a significant role in making them passive aggressive. The circumstances put forth by Williams et al.(2014) explain the reasons why most African American students have aggressive, antisocial and violent behavior as described by Simonsen and Sugai (2013). Although the facts put across by Williams et al. (2014) are true, it is impossible to over look the concerns by Vincent et al. (2012). Racial and Ethnic discrimination are at the center of the disproportionate representation of African American students particularly those with behavioral challenges. Caton (2012) looks at the fact that the application of zero tolerance approach have made schools intolerable. In most cases the executers of the zero tolerance policies are the police officers and this explains why Na and Gottfredson (2013) attribute increased violence to police. Caton (2012) also highlights the fact that there is a tendency to apply such policies on black males compared to those from other backgrounds. Invariably it is important to admit that although Williams et al. (2014) is right in explaining why African American are truants, the subject of racial discrimination and ethnicity as put across by Vincent et al. (2012) are very significant. Williams et al. (2014) outlines the need for the African American males to thrive academically in order to eradicate poverty simply because poverty can be attributed to the circumstances surrounding the harsh judgment that they receive. In line with these findings by Williams et al. (2014), McKenna (2013) looks at the fact that the emotionally disturbed African American students are at the risk of social stigma explaining the disproportion in representation. The social stigma limits the interventions that need to be put in place to make them more sociable.

The Introduction of PBIS in the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA, 1997)

Original PBS Focus on Students with Behavioral Disorders

Emerging Definition of PBIS/PBS for All Students

Basic Elements of PBIS (e.g., Levels of PBIS)

PBIS Implementation in Public Schools Settings – Birth of School-Wide PBS (SWPBS)

Levels in SWPBS

Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary Intervention Strategies

General Implementation of Positive Behavioral Supports
Implementing School-Wide PBS in Elementary Schools
Effectiveness of PBS: Impact and Outcomes

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