20 Techniques to Support Learners Who Exhibit Unpredictable Behavior

Are you looking for techniques to support students who exhibit unpredictable behavior? If so, keep reading.

1. Provide a predetermined signal (e.g., quiet sign, hand signal, oral signal, etc.) when the student begins to demonstrate an unacceptable behavior.

2. Maintain a pleasant/calm atmosphere that would lessen the possibility of sudden or dramatic changes in behavior.

3. Minimize distracting stimuli(e.g., place the student in the front row, give a carrel or quiet space away from distractions, etc.). This is used as a way of reducing stimuli, not as a punishment.

4. Do not criticize. On occasions where correcting the student, be honest yet compassionate. Never cause the student to feel negatively about themselves.

5. Always treat the student with the utmost respect. Talk objectively at all times.

6. Intervene early and often when there is a problem to prevent more severe problems from happening.

7. Do not embarrass the student by giving them orders, requirements, etc., in front of others.

8. Teach the student appropriate ways to express displeasure, anger, frustration, etc.

9. Urge the student to use problem-solving skills: (a) find the problem, (b) find goals and objectives, (c) create strategies, (d) create a plan for action, and (e) carry out the plan.

10. Assess the appropriateness of the task to ascertain (a) if the task is too easy, (b) if the task is too complicated, and (c) if the duration of time scheduled to finish the task is sufficient.

11. Connect with parents (e.g., notes home, phone calls, etc.) to disseminate information about the student’s progress. The parents may reinforce the student at home for demonstrating appropriate behaviors related to situations at school.

12. Draft an agreement with the student stipulating what behavior is required (e.g., demonstrating appropriate behavior related to the situation) and what reinforcement will be made available when the terms of the agreement have been met.

13. Take the student away from the learning experience until they can demonstrate appropriate behavior and self-control.

14. Talk with the student to explain(a) what the student is doing wrong and (b) what the student should be doing.

15. Praise the student for demonstrating appropriate behavior: (a) give the student a concrete reward (e.g., privileges such as leading the line, handing out learning materials, 10 minutes of free time, etc.) or (b) give the student an informal reward (e.g., praise, handshake, smile, etc.).

16. Create classroom rules: • Complete every assignment. • Remain in your seat. • Finish tasks. • Meet task expectations. • Raise your hand. Examine rules often. Praise students for following the rules.

17. Praise the student for demonstrating appropriate behavior related to the situation based on the duration of time the student can be successful.

18. Praise those students in the classroom who demonstrate appropriate behavior related to the situation.

19. Consider using an adaptive behavior management app. Click here to view a list of apps that we recommend.

20. Click here to learn about six bonus strategies for challenging problem behaviors and mastering classroom management.

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