This week, ED311 was thrilled to sit down with Padmaja P. Sarathy and Ann-Bailey Lipsett, authors of our new P.R.E.V.E.N.T. Problem Behaviors Guide, to discuss how this product will serve educators everywhere.
Q: Tell us about the P.R.E.V.E.N.T. Problem Behaviors guide. What is the goal of the guide and why did you decide to write it?
A: Our combined personal professional knowledge and experience (Padmaja who has written multiple books has provided educational consulting across the US and overseas; and Ann-Bailey consults and offers on-site coaching to educators in Virginia) gained through guiding teachers in managing problematic behaviors have taught us a common lesson. The key take-away has been that positive behavior changes in students occur only when proactive, preventive strategies were actively pursued and diligently implemented by educators.
The goal of our guide is to give schools a blueprint in creating a culture of proactive supports to benefit the entire school team (teachers, administrators and support staff) and ultimately leading to positive behavioral and academic outcomes for students.
Q: What current challenges exist in classrooms when it comes to educator responses to student behavior issues? How does this guide help educators overcome those challenges?
A: Educators face multiple demands on their time during their work day and beyond creating lessons, grading papers, analyzing data, and conferring with parents, etc. Caught in the heat of the moment when confronting a challenging behavior, educators tend to respond reactively using a punitive, “get-tough” approach. In the long run, these consequences create more work for teachers without solving the behavioral issues. Students continue to repeat these problematic behaviors resulting in a negative impact on both the educator and the student.
This quick reference guide, rooted in research-based systems of positive behavior supports and restorative discipline practices, provides teachers and support staff with a coordinated framework augmented with what-to-do and how-to-do strategies to prevent problem behaviors. Furthermore, the same student case study is woven throughout the seven P. R. E. V. E. N. T. steps which makes it easy-to-follow and facilitate immediate implementation. Also, multiple student-specific scenarios are included to enable greater understanding of how to teach students to practice appropriate and constructive behaviors.
Q: Why are personalized solutions so important when it comes to addressing behavior issues?
A: Each child we work with enters school with a unique set of strengths, interests, preferences and needs. When we shift our lens toward asking the question, “How can I support this specific student?” instead of “Why can’t this student behave like everyone else?” we can often find strengths-based personalized solutions.
Problem behaviors occur in the context of instruction. We spend a great deal of time and energy trying to get a child to comply with the requirements that we ask of the larger group in the classroom. Instead, a simple, student-centered personalized solution will be far more effective in getting the student to engage during instruction, control impulses, regulate their emotions and persevere with the task in front of them.
Q: Anything else you’d like to add?
A: This guide offers practical solutions with easy-to-understand steps to respond to challenging behaviors. The visual graphics depicted in this guide further illustrate how a system of preventive behavioral approaches can be pursued by educators to shape appropriate behaviors in students experiencing behavioral difficulties.
We love listening to educators react to the P.R.E.V.E.N.T. strategies listed in this guide. It is clear that educators want to be proactive, and are looking for resources that are easy to follow and implement. It is exciting to be able to enable educators to gain skills in building a culture of proactive supports in their classrooms and achieve meaningful learning and behavioral outcomes for their students.
Padmaja P. Sarathy (Author and Educational Consultant, www.infinitepossibilities-sped.com)
Ann-Bailey Lipsett (Special Education Teacher/Consultant, Lipsett Learning Connection, LLC)