Positive Behaviors

Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) is an approach to help students improve their difficult behavior. It's based on an understanding that teachers don't control students, but instead seek to support them in their own behavior change process.

Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports acknowledges that there is always a reason behind most difficult behavior and that students with difficult behavior should be treated with dignity, respect and compassion.

Meet Melodi Patterson. She teaches students labeled "ED" — those designated as emotionally or behaviorally disturbed — at Vista School, a middle school, in Culver City, Calif. In the video below, she talks about how she employs PBIS with her students.

Look For:

  • What does Patterson suggest that teachers be mindful of in regards to their students?
  • How does Patterson discern what items and experiences can be used as part of her use of Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports?

Go Deeper:

PBIS Fact Sheet (PDF)

This handout from the Southern Poverty Law Center breaks down the ins-and-outs of PBIS and emphasizes that the approach produces the best results when it's applied throughout a school.

Reflect On:

  • How do schools, teachers and students benefit from PBIS?
  • How does the PBIS approach differ from your school's current discipline practices? How is it the same?
  • What roadblocks would you need to overcome to implement PBIS in your school? What steps can you take to overcome them?

Ready Resources:

Watch free videos on PBIS

Ask the special education teachers in your school about PBIS. Chances are, they use or have heard about PBIS.

Connect with a PBIS expert in your state.