Affecting Behavior Change, LLC

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Applying OBM in Schools

Posted on January 14, 2019 at 12:00 AM

Working in schools for over 20 years, many staff are engaged in "putting out fires."  How do we move from this ineffective practice to creating lasting change on a classroom, school and district-wide level? 

Organizational behavior management, a sub-discipline of Applied Behavior Analysis, offers solutions.  Effectively pinpointing or targeting behaviors of students and staff and identifying influences on staff and student performance, can lead to results such as improving performance and decreasing I&RS referrals.  Proactively putting interventions in place to support students and staff can offer sustainability across school years.

"With any strategy, bringing out the best performance in school staff ensures maximum effectiveness towards achieving school improvement goals." -Gavoni, 2016

Maher, 1981, used OBM interventions to expand the range of functioning of school psychologists through performance feedback, trained special service teams to develop valuable individual education programs (IEPs) with a behavioral, in-service training program and ensured the implementation of a special education resource room program.  All interventions were carried out by school staff with OBM consultation.

Codding et al., 2008 utilized performance feedback, one OBM intervention technique,  for teachers implementing classwide behavior plans.  Treatment integrity (implementing the classwide plan as written) improved across all teachers.  This suggests that performance feedback was responsible for reported behavior changes in students.

Petscher & Bailey, 2006 utilized classwide interventions of prompting and self-monitoring with accuracy feedback for classroom instructional aides.  Classroom management procedures (specifically token economies) were improved after the interventions were implemented.

So how did I make the jump to decreasing I&RS referrals?  I have seen it in action.  When a school district implements positive behavior supports class and district wide, teachers are trained on the principles and procedures of ABA.  They have a tool kit (and have been trained on use) of procedures to utilize and are more equipped to handle Tier 1 challenging behaviors.  Having systems in place allows teachers to implement strategies without needing the support of the I&RS team.  Please do not mistake this post as the end all be all.  It is not this simple.  But it is also not rocket science.  A lot of planning needs to go into this type of behavior support as does the approval.  The intervention may take months to begin and even longer to sustain.  However, using OBM in School Districts can have tremendous effects on performance and decreasing referrals.

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Daniels, A. C., & Bailey, J. S. (2014). Performance management: Changing behavior that drives organizational effectiveness (5th ed.). Atlanta, GA: Aubrey Daniels International, Inc.

Codding, R. S., Livanis, A., Pace, G. M., & Vaca, L. (2008). Using performance feedback to improve treatment integrity of classwide behavior plans : An investigation of observer reactivity. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 41, 417–422.

Maher, M. (1981).  IMPROVING THE DELIVERY OF SPECIAL EDUCATION AND RELATED SERVICES IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS, Journal of Organizational Behavior Management, 3:1, 29-44, DOI: 10.1300/J075v03n01_03

Petscher, E. S., & Bailey, J. S. (2006). Effects of training, prompting, and self-monitoring on staff behavior in a classroom for students with disabilities. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 39, 215–226.

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