Classroom Behavior, Contexts, and Interventions: Volume 25


Table of contents

(18 chapters)

Several questions guide our analysis of behavioral concerns. First, are there in fact differences in children that predispose them to difficult behavior in school? For example, are there endogenous learning or behavioral characteristics, or learned behaviors that children bring to school, which make some children more likely to succeed in navigating the complex social and academic environments they will encounter? If so, can these characteristics be altered, can behaviors be changed, or can their impact be ameliorated through intervention? Reid (this volume) addressed many of these questions in his chapter on Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), especially as the questions relate to academics. Using Barkley's (2006) theoretical work as a framework, and recent descriptive and longitudinal data, Reid discusses the academic status and trajectory of students with ADHD. Looking closely at possible causal factors for academic problems, Reid identifies and describes promising interventions, such as computer-assisted instruction, peer tutoring, and strategy instruction.

Self-monitoring has become one of the most widely employed self-control procedures in special education for students with learning disabilities and emotional or behavioral disorders. Although its success has been documented across age groups, settings, and diverse applications, researchers have continued to study the question of whether focusing self-monitoring on certain target behaviors – particularly attention to task or academic performance – will yield superior outcomes for students. We review 11 available studies that have examined this issue, classifying each study according to the ways in which the researchers had students monitor their own behavior. The results show only small differences among the different methods and indicate a need for teachers to continue exercising professional judgment in planning the use of self-monitoring.

Social skills deficits characterize a large proportion of students with or at risk for social, emotional, and behavioral disabilities. Social skills are viewed as academic enablers in that they are attitudes and skills that enable students to benefit from academic instruction. Alternatively, problem behaviors are viewed as academic disablers because they compete with the acquisition and performance of academic and social skills. Students lacking social skills and exhibiting competing problem behaviors are in need of systematic social skills interventions to remediate their social skills deficits. This chapter describes what is currently known about the efficacy of social skills interventions using data from both narrative reviews and meta-analyses of the social skills training literature. Based on these reviews, social skills interventions are effective with approximately 65% of students receiving these interventions. Randomized studies produce higher effect sizes, with 82% of students showing improvement compared to only 58% of students in nonrandomized studies. An example of a social skills instructional model using the Social Skills Improvement System-Intervention Guide concludes the chapter.

Students with emotional and behavioral disorders (EBD) who display aggression necessitate effective interventions for reducing highly disruptive behavior, while keeping learning environments safe and secure for all students and staff. In this chapter, we describe the merits of cognitive-behavioral interventions (CBIs) in school settings to reduce student aggression and other destructive and maladaptive behavior and to promote student success and lifelong learning. To that end, we first explore three theoretical frameworks for aggression: the general aggression model, social learning theory, and social information processing, each of which examines the role of environment, cognition, and behavior as foundational to the occurrence of aggression. Synthesizing these theories assists in the development and implementation of CBIs in classroom settings. We then describe the CBI approach to teaching students cognitive and behavioral strategies to reduce problematic behaviors and increase the use of more pro-social alternatives, and ultimately generalize learned skills to a variety of social situations. A brief history of CBIs is explored, followed by a discussion of several meta-analyses establishing CBI's effectiveness in decreasing aggression across a variety of venues and populations. We then focus on social problem solving as an example of a cognitive-behavioral approach and describe the Tools for Getting Along curriculum as an example of a school-based CBI. At the end of the chapter, we explain some limitations of CBIs in schools and delineate future research needs.

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is the most commonly diagnosed psychological disorder of childhood. Prevalence of ADHD currently is estimated at 5% among school-age children making it a serious concern for educators. One aspect of ADHD, however, that has received comparatively little attention is the academic difficulties that are commonly associated with ADHD. This chapter provides an overview of the extent and nature of academic problems of students with ADHD. First, a theoretical perspective on academic deficits of students with ADHD drawn from Barkley's (2006) theoretical work is presented. Second, the academic status of students with ADHD is discussed. Third, drawing on longitudinal studies, the academic trajectory of students with ADHD is examined. Fourth, possible causal factors for academic problems and core deficit areas of working memory and executive functions are discussed. Next, progress in academic interventions for ADHD is assessed and promising interventions are noted. Finally, some possible directions for future intervention research are provided.

In this chapter, we begin by exploring the lessons learned from studies of teachers’ expectations for student behavior, being with early inquiry conducted following the Education for All Handicapped Children Act (P.L. 94-142) of 1975. Next, we explore the expanding knowledge base following reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA, 1997), the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEIA, 2004), and No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB, 2001) as the field increasingly emphasized inclusive programming and supporting access to the general education curriculum, called for academic excellence for all students, and focused on systems-level perspectives for teaching behavioral expectations. We summarize lessons learned from these bodies of knowledge, focusing attention on key findings and existing limitations of the studies conducted to date. We conclude with implications for educational research and practice, with attention to how lessons learned regarding teacher expectations for student performance can (a) facilitate inclusive programming for students with disabilities, (b) support school transitions, (c) inform primary prevention efforts and targeted supports, and (d) inform teacher preparation programs.

Although a large body of research has focused on young children with learning disabilities (LD) and behavioral disorders (BD) in preschool and elementary school settings, there is considerably less information about this population during adolescence. Recent work suggests that youth with these disabilities experience challenges in areas such as social skills, increased depressive symptoms, and involvement in the juvenile justice system. In addition, for a small percentage of the population, negative outcomes experienced during early childhood appear to persist in adolescence and early adulthood suggesting the need for additional interventions. Two primary aims guide the current chapter. First, we review key domains of adolescent development (social, emotional, and behavioral) and highlight ways in which development differs for students with LD and BD. Second, we introduce the field of social and emotional learning (SEL) and the accumulating body of research that suggests that this approach could have numerous benefits for this population. We describe the results of recent meta-analytic reviews of SEL programs to indicate the current state of the field, highlight a few evidence-based universal and indicated SEL programs for secondary school settings, and describe important areas for future research.

During the past decade, amid the current context emphasizing educational standards and accountability, the practice of grade retention has increased. The call for an end to social promotion has generated a variety of recommendations and legislation regarding promotion policies. This context has served as a catalyst for numerous debates regarding the use of grade retention and social promotion. In an era emphasizing evidence-based interventions, research indicates that neither grade retention nor social promotion is a successful strategy for improving educational success. Meta-analyses of studies during the past 100 years reveal deleterious outcomes associated with grade retention. Moreover, research also reveals prevention and intervention strategies that are likely to promote the social or academic competence of students at-risk of poor school performance. It is essential that educational professionals are familiar with the research when implementing interventions to promote student success. This chapter provides a brief synthesis of contemporary concerns and empirical studies examining student outcomes associated with grade retention, and also describes alternatives to grade retention. Particular consideration is given to implications for students with learning and behavioral disabilities, and the importance of focusing empirically supported strategies to promote student social and cognitive competence. Overall, educational professionals are encouraged to incorporate evidence-based programs and policies to facilitate the success of all students.

School-wide positive behavior support (PBS) is a systems approach to prevention and intervention involving multiple levels of support. At the universal level (all students), prevention of behavior problems involves four very basic steps that are repeated with smaller numbers of students and greater intensity as directed by data. The first step is the prediction of problems or failures. To the extent to which we can predict a problem by time, location, student, and other contexts, we have the information to prevent. Prediction leads directly into the second step, which involves the development of effective prevention practices. The key to effective prevention is to approach all problems from an instructional perspective by considering what needs to be taught and how the environment can be arranged to increase the probability of success. The third step involves creating consistency with prevention efforts. Instructional efforts that are inconsistent are not effective in teaching new behavior. The last step involves development of the simplest way of monitoring performance so that those students who are not responding (i.e., are falling through the screen) may be quickly identified. This chapter describes the key features of effective universal systems as they are specifically related to the prevention of behavior problems and provides an overview of how such systems are developed, implemented, and sustained.

Of the many serious challenges confronting schools today, bullying and harassment perhaps pose the most deleterious and persistent long-term outcomes for students. The effects of bullying are not limited to the students targeted by these behaviors, but also negatively affect the bullies and bystanders who witness the events. An array of factors influence, or even perpetuate, school bullying. The factors are related to individual characteristics of the students, social relationships in school, family support, neighborhood influences, and community systems. In this chapter, we describe the effects of bullying and harassment and, provide a current perspective of the magnitude of the problem. We also discuss effective responses to bullying and harassment in schools and approaches for prevention. School-wide implementation of programs is highlighted.

Successful implementation of Response to Intervention frameworks in schools requires general and special education teachers to have well-integrated knowledge bases for providing instruction and intervention in reading and behavior. Implementation-focused approaches to changing teacher behavior, favored traditionally in special education, however, are unlikely to help teachers acquire such knowledge. In this chapter, we discuss the knowledge and practice that defines expert teachers in reading and behavior and how such expertise might be achieved through practice-focused approaches to initial teacher education and professional development.

Although we have improved identification of and access to evidence-based interventions for addressing student problem behavior, teacher use of these practices remains low. In this chapter, we examine teachers’ causal attributions for student problem behavior and their implications for use of effective school-based behavioral interventions and supports. Attribution theory and research suggest that causal attributions strongly influence how individuals (e.g., teachers) perceive and respond to the problem behavior of others (e.g., students). Teacher perception regarding problem behavior and appropriate responses to it can be a significant barrier to the adoption and sustained implementation of empirically supported practices. In light of these factors, causal attribution theory and research can be used as a framework for better understanding and even changing teacher beliefs related to acceptance, implementation, and sustained use of effective behavior management practices. In this chapter, we make the case for cultivating an understanding of teachers’ causal attributions of student problem behavior and considering implications of causal attributions in future research. We explore how such research endeavors can potentially positively impact teacher implementation of effective school-based behavioral interventions and supports.

Treatment integrity (TI; also known as fidelity of implementation, treatment fidelity, and procedural reliability) refers to the degree to which an intervention is implemented as intended. TI data provides evidence of the internal validity of a study; without TI data, one cannot attribute observed effects to an intervention or distinguish whether interventions that fail do so because of problems with the intervention, its delivery, or both. Unfortunately, the field of intervention research has seen limited progress in the assessment and reporting of TI over time. This chapter describes the development of models of TI across fields, options for measuring TI, and important issues yet to be resolved.

Publication date
Book series
Advances in Learning and Behavioral Disabilities
Series copyright holder
Emerald Publishing Limited
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