Behavior Management Definition,
Decision screen for making decisions to change behavior, Implementing change, and the
Fair-pair Rule

Behavior management is all of the actions and conscious inactions to enhance the probability people, individually and in groups, choose behaviors which are personally fulfilling, productive, and socially acceptable (Shea & Bauer, 1987).

Decision screen for making decisions to change behaviors

Every educator creates a decision screen for making decisions. A decision screen, which can include ideas as in the diagram. Simple questions such as:Behavior implementation variables

  1. What mastery oriented behavior can replace the self limiting behavior?
  2. Is there any situation in which the new behavior can be detrimental for the person?
  3. Can the person do the behavior or learn it?
  4. Will the person find the behavior, we desire them to learn, to be personally self-fulfilling and productive?
  5. Will the person choose the behavior when appropriate?

The first questions must be asked to move beyond having the person just stop the behavior and satisfy the fair pair rule.

The following questions focus on the appropriateness of a replacement behavior:

  1. If the answer is no, then another behavior needs to be considered, or conditions for when the behavior is appropriate and not appropriate needs to be described and considered when teaching the new behavior. Behaviors not appropriate in school are appropriate in other situations. Certain language at school or work is not appropriate, but is in other social situations.
  2. If the person can do the behavior, then great onward. If not, then procedures and practice situations for learning need to be determined and implemented.
  3. The more value the person sees in a new behavior, then the more likely they will learn it and be willing to use to satisfy the educator's or significant other's desire for the person to change, and more importantly satisfied the learner with a new mastery oriented behavior.
  4. Last, the person may know the new behavior and want to use it, but fail to in actual practice. Change takes time. Time to unlearn and time to connect new associations to the new behavior to initiate it. Self recognition of failure during or after a failed attempt may be the first sign of success when a person knows and recognizes it will better meet their personal needs.

Remember the goal is self-discipline, not monitored discipline.

Implementing a change

Identify a socially acceptable behavior you believe the student will see has value to learn for the purpose of replacing an inappropriate behavior. See also: Change processes and conversations to assist behavior change.

Fair-pair rule

The fair-pair rule requires: an inappropriate behavior be replaced with an appropriate behavior.

When this is achieved it will provide the person with something they desire: replacing self-limiting behaviors with mastery oriented behaviors.

Related topics and resources:


Dr. Robert Sweetland's notes
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