Glossary of Terms & Links
Glossary Terms: Behavioral Intervention
Behavioral Contracts. A behavioral contract
is a written document between an instructor and student which specifies:
(a) expected behaviors; (b) positive and negative consequences; and
(c) time frame of the contract with review dates. The contract is then
signed by the instructor, student, and others who participate in the
contract. Behavioral contracts are a practical and creative way for
instructors to help students of all ages improve various problematic
behaviors, such as: Classroom and social behavior, substance abuse,
and school attendance.
Curriculum: Appropriate and Motivating.
An appropriate and motivating curriculum challenges students while enabling
them to achieve success. It is a curriculum that is neither too difficult
nor too easy for the functioning level of the student.
Daily Schedule. A structured daily schedule
is a daily outline of classroom activities designed to maximize student
learning. Structuring time through a planned daily schedule of specific
activities and transitions maximizes "on task" (i.e., engaged)
behavior and minimizes students' inappropriate behavior. The daily schedule
must be followed, and a sufficient number of staff must be present to
make high rates of on-task behaviors feasible.
Data Collection. Data collection is collecting
specific information about a student's academic or behavioral performance.
Collecting data helps an instructor determine a program's effectiveness.
By collecting and analyzing data on a systematic basis, an instructor
knows when to make changes in both academic and behavioral programs.
Data collection has two critical components: information gathering and
decision making. Information gathering may involve curriculum-based
assessment, observing classroom behavior, grading papers, or parent
interviews. The more structured and systematic the process, the more
valid the information. Once the data is collected, the instructor must
then make decisions based on that information. Decisions might be made
regarding changes in curriculum or the management of specific classroom
Differential Reinforcement. Differential
reinforcement is the reinforcement of one form of behavior and not another,
or the reinforcement of a response under one condition but not another.
Differential reinforcement uses positive reinforcement to differentiate
or separate appropriate student behavior from inappropriate behavior
by increasing one while decreasing the other.
Environmental Engineering. Environmental
engineering is a formal term for the process of arranging the physical
environment of the classroom to enhance student learning and behavior.
The physical environment of the classroom serves as a complex set of
stimuli that may significantly influence appropriate or inappropriate
behaviors. Instructors can positively affect student performance by
paying careful attention to such factors as the basic layout of classroom
space, wall displays, traffic patterns, and other more subtle aspects
of the physical environment.
Functional Behavior Assessment. A functional
behavior assessment is a comprehensive and individualized strategy to
identify the purpose or function of a studentís problem behavior(s);
develop and implement a plan to modify variables that maintain the problem
behavior; and teach appropriate replacement behaviors using positive
Group Reinforcement Response Contingency.
A group reinforcement response contingency reinforces an entire group
when particular members meet the arranged condition or contingency.
The contingency can be evaluated on the performance of a specific individual,
the average of two or three random students' performances, or the average
of the high and low student's performance.
Home Notes. A home note is an informational
note that provides communication between an instructor and parent and
is an effective method for improving a student's academic and social
behaviors. Home notes can be a powerful tool for improving a student's
behavior because they regularly inform parents of their child's progress
and allow the use of consequences that are rarely available to the teacher.
Instructional Pacing. Instructional pacing
is the speed or rate at which an instructor presents the task in a lesson.
Pacing may also refer to the speed at which progress is made through
a particular curriculum or instructional program. The pace of instruction
is an important consideration in reading, spelling, math, and social
skills curricular areas. Students learn more when their lessons are
conducted at a brisk pace. A brisk pace of instruction enhances student
attention and increases the number of response opportunities-two factors
that are strongly associated with increased learning. Some research
also suggests that a brisk pace of instruction may actually decrease
disruptive classroom behavior.
Parent Conference. Parents must be notified
of student difficulties and attempts made to involve them in problem
resolution. A parent conference is also an excellent opportunity to
discuss a child's success. Parents may be involved via on-going phone
calls and /or school visits.
Positive Reinforcement. Positive reinforcement
is a procedure whereby a student, contingent upon performing a specific
behavior, is immediately rewarded to maintain or increase that behavior.
(Nondefinition): Are we suggesting that you bribe students? No!
Most of the time when we hear the word "bribery," we think
of people being bought off to do something illegal, corrupt, or unethical.
Instead, positive reinforcement increases the chances that a student
will do something appropriate that will benefit him in the future. We
are suggesting that you use procedures that encourage, support, and
empower students to achieve positive outcomes in school and in the community.
Positive Responses. Positive responses are
positive comments or actions to students who demonstrate favorable behavior.
A high rate of positive responses is typically defined as 4:1, that
is a minimum of 4 positive responses to every 1 negative response. Instructors
create a positive environment by frequently responding positively to
students for appropriate and correct responding or performance. Instructors
who provide more positive responses to students than negative ones have
students who want to remain in the classroom rather than be moved to
Precision Commands. A precision command,
sometimes referred to as a precision request, is a precise verbal statement
made by staff to enhance student compliance. Student compliance is typically
defined as following directions within 10 seconds.
Specialized Equipment. Specialized equipment,
or assistive technology, refers to any item, piece of equipment, or
product system that is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional
capabilities of students with disabilities. This may involve such items
as large print material, a typewriter, a computer with specialized software,
or augmentative communication devices. For students with disabilities,
specialized equipment means increased independence, productivity, self-worth,
and integration at home, at school, or in the workplace.
Staff Training. Implementing effective
behavioral interventions requires that all those involved in the intervention
are thoroughly knowledgeable about and competent in the use of specific
intervention techniques. Thus, staff training development is an essential
preliminary strategy to avoid problems through proactive planning. This
may involve formal and informal inservice training, individual consultations,
and teacher support groups.
Token Economy. A token economy is a system
of individual reinforcement of target behaviors in which tokens are
administered and exchanged later for backup reinforcers. To be successful,
a person must be reinforced for increasing or decreasing existing behavior
as well as successive approximations of the behaviors we wish to establish.
Common forms of tokens are plastic or metal circular chips, marks on
a blackboard, points marked on a paper point card, stars, holes punched
in a card, stickers, paper clips, beans in a jar, happy faces, and play
money. Token systems may not deprive students of their individual rights.
Individual program plans rather than group token systems must be used
for management of problem behaviors.