Date
27 September 2022

Support positive behaviour​

Try these ideas for de-escalating difficult situations and supporting ākonga to make good choices with their behaviour

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Consider multiple approaches

Consider multiple approaches

Build up a range of approaches to draw from when supporting positive behaviour.
  • Create opportunities for students to take the lead using their strengths and interests.
  • Help students to develop a strong sense of identity and be knowledgeable about their specific learning needs and abilities.
  • Consistently teach and reinforce classroom and playground rules.
  • Take opportunities to give specific positive feedback about attempted tasks that meet achievement goals.
  • Consider short term contracts to achieve learning goals and task expectations. Negotiate these with the student.
  • Give choice within set alternatives, starting with one out of two possible choices.
  • Develop cues individually with the student that will signal such things as when they need to refocus or take a break from a task or situation.
  • Teach organisation skills.
  • Teach coping skills.
  • Teach self-management skills, including alternative ways to achieve goals, managing anger, problem-solving, asking for help, and finding a safe place or person.

Anticipating difficult times

Anticipating difficult times

Encourage "on task" behaviour through clear routines and systems:
  • Recognise, remove, or minimise things that can cause distress.
  • Give clear and consistent instructions and approaches to work.
  • Give reminders about self-management strategies, such as taking a break.
  • Reduce negative behaviour by distracting the student or re-engaging them in another activity.
  • Check whether medication may be influencing behaviour (it may, for example, have worn off).
  • Learn to recognise signs that a student’s behaviour is escalating, use verbal messages or cues to help calm them, and alternative calming activities.
  • Ignore minor examples of poor behaviour, especially if the student is following instructions.
  • Stand in close proximity to the student as a way of moderating off-task activities.

Managing difficult times

Managing difficult times

Respond with non-aversive techniques that help students to manage their actions until they can be more receptive.

1: Make changes around the things that set off such reactions

  • Remove objects that may distract the student.
  • Change the time, location, or duration of activities if these factors are viewed as influencing difficult behaviour.
  • Redirect the student to another activity they enjoy.
  • Remove unnecessary demands or requests.
  • Change where the student sits.
  • If the student is taking medication, check that it has been given/taken when it is required.

 2: Interrupt the build-up

  • Move closer or move away as appropriate, stand side on rather than face-on.
  • Give instructions that the student is more likely to follow.
  • Remind them of any self-management strategies they know.
  • Cue them to take a break or to monitor and recognise the beginning of a build-up.
  • Facilitate relaxation.
  • If the student is taking medication, check (in private) if medication was taken.

Useful resources

Useful resources

Website

Students with learning support needs

Information about services and funding available for students when the need for additional learning supports is identified for learning, behaviour and/or social communication, vision, hearing, mobility, or communication needs.

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Next steps

More suggestions for implementing the strategy “​Support self-regulation and positive behaviour ”:

Return to the guide “ADHD and learning”

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