Say a middle-schooler is cracking jokes in history class every day. When the teacher asks the student to stop, the student responds with insults. The student is sent to the principal’s office almost every day. As a result, the student and their classmates are having trouble learning history.
There are lots of reasons kids might disrupt class like this. They might be restless. They may not understand what’s being taught. They might want attention from the teacher or from other students.
Sometimes, kids don’t know why they do what they do. The school team has to do some detective work to figure out why the student is acting out. This process is called a
functional behavioral assessment
Once the team understands the reason (or reasons), it puts together the plan to prevent it from happening. For example, if the problem is restlessness, the student could take breaks when feeling antsy. The plan may even include teaching the student strategies for staying focused.
Educators refer to these strategies and supports as interventions. This means they’re formal and done for a specific amount of time. The team will also keep an eye on how they’re working.
Learn more about
positive behavioral interventions and supports
(PBIS) for behavior problems.