by Claire Miller
Teachers whose students have emotional behavior disorders encounter a number of difficult situations every day in their classrooms.
College of Education doctoral student Shannon Hawkins and Associate Professor Juane Heflin recently worked with three such teachers to give them feedback on their interactions with students, using an intervention strategy that celebrated teachers for offering students praise.
Hawkins and Heflin filmed teachers in their classrooms and edited the videos to highlight the moments when teachers commended their students for their positive behavior – a method known as video self-modeling. By observing their own behavior, teachers can note the times they successfully praised their students and are encouraged to continue doing so on a regular basis.
“We wanted to research an intervention that would support effective teacher behavior while at the same time improve the morale of teachers,” Hawkins said.
Hawkins’ and Heflin’s work with video self-modeling was recently published in the Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, a publication that highlights current research on improving the lives of people with severe behavior challenges.
This line of research not only shows teachers how to encourage good behavior, but also gives students with emotional behavior disorders a clear understanding of what’s expected of them.
“When teachers give behavior-specific praise, it helps students recognize which behaviors are desirable and expected, and enforces the relationship between desirable behavior and positive consequences,” Hawkins said.
Now that this research has been published, Hawkins hopes more school systems take the time to give teachers feedback on what they’re doing well.
“We hope that more time and effort are put in to provide teachers and student teachers with specific praise about their effective teaching behaviors,” she said. “We hope to find ways to support teachers to maintain the use of effective teacher behaviors after studies end and the researchers have left the classroom.”
For more information about the article, visit http://pbi.sagepub.com/content/13/2/97.abstract.