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Changing Behaviors

In: Philosophy and Psychology

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Cracking the Behavioral Code – The FLAIR Plan

The article introduced an approach that could be helpful to change the behavior of challenging students. The FAIR Plan has successfully altered the behavior of multiple students and it even opens up new perspectives for educators.

The FAIR Plan provides simple steps for changing the behavior and the instructions how to approach children with steps of FAIR Plan.. In everyday life teachers can only control the environment of their classroom and their own behavior so that´s why every step in FAIR Plan is based on these two elements. Experts who created FAIR Plan named it FAIR Plan for reason because every letter stands for an advice or step. F stands for ”understanding the function of the behavior which helps us to make the decision how to intervene to the challenging behavior. The A stands for accommodations that are the methods how to change the behavior. The I stands for interaction strategies, that tell us how to approach and convey the message to the students in a way that it doesn´t upset them. Lastly the R stands for responsive strategies that help educators to answer tricky questions students may ask or things they may say.

What´s the Function of the Behavior

According to a behavioral analyst Mark Durand (1990), there are four ways of challenging behavior among children which are to escape (when a students wants to avoid certain task situation or person), to obtain a tangible thing (means that if a student decided that he/she wants something then he/she continuously attempts to get it) , to engage in sensory activities (when student is motivated by sensory input, everything feels good but it might disrupt learning of the student or other students), and to get attention (student behaving badly for attention of an adult or peers).

Negative is Better than Nothing

Sometimes teacher make a mistake in lecturing, redirecting or reprimanding students because it might just reinforce the challenging/negative behavior. However, the negative behavior is better than no behavior because if the student doesn´t react in anyway then the student might be depressed or withdrawn.

Taking ABC Notes

Taking ABC Notes means that teacher will record all behavior incidents in their personal notes, in order to follow the behavior and find out possible patterns in the behavior. ABC Note Taking was adapted to the article from S. W Bijou´s, R. F Peterson´s and M. H Ault´s (1968) study “A Method to Integrate Descriptive and Experimental Field Studies at the Level of Data and Empirical Concepts”. The notes need to be specific, including what happened before the incident, description of the incident and the consequences so the teacher knows what triggers the behavior. Once teacher knows what triggers the behavior, then he/she can work on changing it into better behavior by choosing the right accommodations for the behavior. For example, if a student is acting aggressive or has a learning disorder then teacher could apply 20-5 Schedule which means that a students works 20 minutes on school work just like other students but after 20 minutes he/she will get a 5 minute break from school work, in order to keep him/her focused on school work as much as possible. The breaks help students to take a deep breath, calm down, prevent undesired behavior and direct their focus back on schoolwork after 5 minute break.

Which Accommodations Should We Use?

Once the teacher has figured out the trigger then the plan based on the accommodations can be designed. The idea of accommodations is to reduce the triggering aspects of the environment plus teach other way of behavior and underdeveloped skills at the same time. The accommodation you want to pick depends on the behavior of the student. If the student is behaving aggressive then good options for accommodation would be 20-5 Schedule, Calming Corner Technique or Self-Calming Exercises.

Replacement Behaviors

Children always take their time to improve in underdeveloped skills so there is a chance to teach them how to get satisfaction and what they need in a more subtle way than throwing things or walking out of classroom. This can be done through replacement behavior, which means that if a child posses aggressive features then teacher needs to introduce him/her to a replacement behavior, which makes things go much more smoothly. For example, if an aggressive child is about to loose his/her temper then all he/she needs to is a hold up a “break card” which means that he/she can go sit in the corner to calm down and everybody are spared from the bad behavior. This is a good technique because it doesn´t require any language or permission waiting which are the features aggressive children don´t have when they are angry.

Teaching Self-Regulation

Teaching Self-Regulation is basically teaching a child how to calm her/himself down. The first step is to identify their feelings. The teacher needs to name specific things the students does when he/she is misbehaving so the students can recognize the attributes of bad behavior and learn from them. For example, teacher could tell the student “You get pretty loud” which maybe makes the student realize the features of bad behavior. Over time students will learn the Self-Regulation and will be able to avoid misbehavior.

Which Interaction Strategies Work Best?

The best way to implement Interaction Strategy is to praise students when they do something right or their behavior is appropriate. Through that method they won´t understand the message wrong. If a teacher praises the students too often just for fun and because he/she likes them that might turn against the teacher and won´t change the challenging behavior. Good Interaction Strategies are to praise only for a reason and in a low-key way, to avoid power struggle and avoid yes-or-no questions when making a demand.
What Response Strategies Should We Use?

Response Strategies mean how to answer to a restless student. Firstly, the teacher needs to be careful not to reinforce the behavior because then it might escalate and become a explosive situation and it is very likely that the student will do the same thing again next day. So you don´t want to give any extra attention to a restless student but you do want to avoid one-on-one talks, to set clear and simple limits, to use incremental rewards and consequences and also avoid over helping a student in order not to make him/her feel helpless or useless which would cause more restless behavior.

It´s FAIR

By understanding what the students are trying to say, discovering the replacement behavior and building a strong relationship, teachers can control challenging behavior and make the students successful academically and behaviorally.

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