9 Proactive ABA Methods to Redirect Student Behavior

During the 2020-21 school year, almost a third of all public school teachers agreed that student misbehavior hindered their teaching goals. These numbers were higher for both middle school and elementary schools. This is at schools where respondents say the teachers and principals manage to enforce the school rules.

This means that the problem isn’t with how the school operates but with how the teacher controls the classroom. This isn’t to say that a teacher with misbehaving students is bad at their job. It just means they Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy techniques.

Here are nine ABA methods that can help redirect disruptive student behavior.

The Importance of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)

ABA strategies are based on the science of learning and behavior. These techniques help understand how behaviors work and how they’re affected by their environment. They also take into account how children learn best and what may not work for all students.

Applied Behavior Analysis is meant to serve as a flexible treatment option that can be adapted as needed. You can utilize these techniques at home, in the classroom, and community environments.

The “A-B-Cs” help educators teach and understand behaviors:

  • Antecedents are what occurs before a target behavior
  • Behaviors are the response or lack of response
  • Consequences are either positive reinforcement or inappropriate responses

Nine Proactive ABA Methods

There are a variety of ways to introduce Applied Behavior Analysis methods into the classroom. Which ones will work depends on your students and your capabilities. You may also need to change up your daily structure.

1. Create Routines

The first tip for classroom management is to create clear routines and present them to your students. Never assume that they’ll understand your expectations. You also shouldn’t write it on the board in the hope that they look at it every morning.

Give students multiple opportunities to practice these routines and provide ongoing support. Reinforce expected behaviors and explain any negative consequences in advance.

2. Factor in Breaks

A key part of creating routines is also factoring in breaks. Students aren’t able to work for hours at a time without losing focus or getting distracted. Their brains will start to flag if they don’t have a chance to recover.

Brain breaks are one option to consider. You give students 2 to 5-minute periods to stretch, relax, and refocus. Do this every 10 to 20 minutes, depending on their ages and how you’ve set up your curriculum.

If you have any students with ADHD, brain breaks will help them avoid getting burnt out.

3. Visual Strategies

Many students respond better to visual stimuli than to verbal instructions. A few ways to incorporate them into your classroom include written words, pictures, symbols, and environmental setups.

For example, it can be difficult for a child to track how well they’re doing in class. You can help them understand their actions’ consequences with something like a token board. The students who pay attention and follow along will earn more tokens than those who don’t.

Teachers can also use a combination of books, videos, and presentations to hold a student’s attention. These work even better when you promote active discussions about the topic.

4. Meet Their Needs Beforehand

Once you’ve gotten to know all of your students, you can adapt your teaching plan to meet their needs. This should come before your lesson so that it goes uninterrupted.

Students arriving in the morning may not be fully awake yet. You could always try giving them a few minutes at the beginning of the day to stretch and tell you about their night. This helps to wake up their bodies and their minds.

If you know your students come back hungry from recess, it may help to let them have a little snack break before you begin teaching. That way they won’t run low on energy or complain about being hungry.

5. Sterilize the Environment

Along the same lines, you’ll want to remove any distractions from your classroom. Many behavioral problems come from a response to external stimuli. If you limit these stimuli, you can help your student focus on the lesson at hand.

6. Silent Signals

Yelling in the classroom should be avoided at all costs, especially coming from the teacher. Instead of verbal discipline, try using silent signals to keep students focused. This is helpful if your students are in the middle of a test and you need to remind one of them to stay on task without distracting everyone else.

7. Stay Close to Them

Proximity is another key factor when instructing students who are easily distracted. By getting physically closer to them, you can redirect their attention without verbal instructions. In addition, your presence can encourage them to remain focused and stay on track with their goals.

8. Create Special Tasks

When a student finishes their schoolwork, they may start to behave in ways that distract other children in the classroom. Instead of letting them sit and wait, try giving them a special task.

For example, maybe you can let them help another student with their assignment. You could also send them to another classroom to deliver something to another teacher.

9. Positive Reinforcement and Phrasing

One of the most important ways to manage your classroom is to avoid negative reinforcement. Threatening your classroom with punishment only creates tension and stress. In certain cases, it may encourage misbehavior as a way of standing up to your assumed authority.

Instead, what you want to do is lead by example with positive reinforcement, and phrasing.

Reward students for their successes instead of punishing them for every wrong move. Use positive language during your instruction to encourage your students rather than make demands.

Improve Your Classroom Management

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) methods are an invaluable way to better control your classroom and educate your students who would otherwise find themselves easily distracted. Analyze their behaviors and find out what makes them tick. Adjust your teaching goals to work with their patterns rather than against them.

Insights to Behavior provides the software and tools your school needs to empower teachers and specialists. Track, manage, and modify student behaviors better than ever with our strategies and plans. Contact us today to learn more and schedule a demo.

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