Changing Behaviour

I’ve been taking an ed. psych. class this past month.  Its focus is on functional behavior assessments and positive behavior support plans, and in amongst the lectures and assignments and reading, this is one of the things that has stuck out for me:

The plan’s effectiveness is determined by the extent to which it results in change in the behavior of the staff and family implementers; and to which those changes in the behavior of staff and family result in change in the behavior of the person receiving support.  (Functional Assessment and Program Development for Problem Behaviors, O’Neill et al.)

This isn’t new information, but how often do I as a teacher get stuck in the trap of thinking it’s only the student who has to change his or her behavior?  Probably more than I’d care to count.  Its been a good reminder to me that change of behaviour doesn’t start with the student at all.  It is up to me, as the adult, to become pliable and change what I’m doing and saying, my actions and reactions.  My behaviour needs to change before I can consider expecting a student’s actions to become more acceptable.

It reminds me of the Haim Ginott quote I always keep near:  “I’ve come to a frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element in the classroom.”  I must remember to change my behaviour in order for those around me to change theirs.

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