As a school administrator, one of the key responsibilities is to observe teachers within the classroom and to provide feedback. As part of these observations, we tend to focus on the classroom environment, lesson preparation, behavior management, assessment and teacher professional responsibilities. Take a moment to think about an observation that you conducted this year and reflect on the following:
During behavioral RTI consultations, some of the most frequently asked questions are about disruptive behavior. Teachers want to know how to prevent calling out, work refusal, the inability to attend to the teacher, or a student constantly being out of his/her seat. They want to know how to address those behaviors with interventions at tier 2 or 3. The secret that I am going to share with you is that 85% of the “behavior” problems named above can be easily resolved by simple changes in the teacher’s behavior. These challenges are actually issues within tier 1 that if appropriately addressed, will increase the student’s ability to be successful.
During a one-on-one consultation, I ask the administrator if I can observe the student presenting with the concerns in class. It is very common for students to exhibit problem behaviors in one classroom setting and not another, though this may be more difficult to isolate at the elementary level due to the one classroom model. Once in the classroom environment, I observe the student and count how many times s/he is actively participating. ASR is defined by an observable and measurable behavior that can be recorded by a basic count, tally or frequency of responses between teacher and student. The more a student responds, the more likely s/he is to remain actively engaged, and this will increase attending or on-task behavior. Conversely, the less the student remains actively engaged, the more likely s/he is to engage in these problem behaviors.
In a typical classroom environment, a teacher has students raise their hands to answer questions. However, when only one student is called upon, the others are not actively engaged. Additionally, when teachers ask questions such as, “Does anyone know the answer to 2+2?” it encourages students who know the answer to respond. The student of concern may be inattentive or may not understand the concept, which leads them to a lower rate of participation. It also increases the likelihood of problem behavior.
Figure 1 provides a visual summary of the research on teachers who ask a question and the students raise their hands to respond. The graph on the left is the model teachers should follow when it comes to the amount of ASRs needed by the “at-risk group.” The graph on the right shows what teachers typically do in the classroom. So, what can we do differently in tier 1 and how can we adapt teaching practices to increase ASR?
Finally, I leave you with this final thought. If you place students presenting with challenging behaviors in a smaller group, why are they more successful? In a small group or pairing, the amount of ASR triples and the student has no choice but to be engaged in positive and proactive classroom-based instruction. Reforming classroom-based instruction at the tier 1 level will not only yield success behaviorally, but academically as well.
As you begin to implement your district’s RTI or multi-tiered system of support (MTSS), the Magnolia Consulting Group can help. Have you conducted a gap analysis of your tier 1 supports? With our resources and experience in RTI implementation, we can conduct your gap analysis and help you create a tier 1 implementation plan to provide the necessary support for students to be successful in general education programs. Contact us at [email protected]!