Teacher Toolbox
Classroom Management - Behavior in the Classroom

Examples of Questions to Consider When Conducting a Behavior Observation

  • Are there noticeable patterns to the behaviors? Do the behaviors occur in relation to specific activities, types of tasks, or times of the day?

  • Are there environmental factors that seem to precede the negative behaviors? Do the behaviors occur in a variety of settings?

  • Are there other factors such a medical condition, experiencing acute or chronic pain, traumatic events, or the use of alcohol or other substances that could be impacting the student’s behavior?

  • Can the student’s behavior be described or defined in useful terms to formulate an effective support plan?

  • What are the teacher’s reactions to the negative behaviors? What are the teacher’s reactions to the student when the student is inappropriately interacting in the classroom? Do the negative behaviors seem to fulfill a goal or purpose?

  • Is the student aware of the inappropriate behavior? Can the student describe or explain feelings to help create an explanation of the occurrence?

  • How does the student feel after a behavioral incident? Is the student able to talk about it once he has calmed down?

  • How is the student treated after a behavioral outburst? (by the teachers and by the other students)

  • Does the student understand the classroom expectations? Are the classroom expectations overwhelming for the student?
    Example: Ask the child before an action what he should be doing next. If there are guides for activities, see if he knows where they are and how to use them.

  • How does the student communicate his needs, wants, and ideas to others? Does the student seem to have difficulties expressing his thoughts? Could this impact his interactions in the classroom and in what ways?

  • How does the student perceive and/or interpret the classroom expectations?

  • Does the student show signs indicating anxiety or other triggers that could indicate a behavioral outburst? Are there safeguards that can be implemented to prevent behavioral outbursts?
    Example: If a child loses control, he is sent to a quiet area of the room that is divided from the main classroom.

  • Are there changes to the classroom environment that can help to support the student? If so, how can the changes be implemented?
    Example: Here is a classroom that includes features for creating a calming and predictable environment.

  • Does the student need additional assessment from a psychologist, school counselor, behavioral specialist, or another professional to help design an effective behavior plan?

  • How can the school and the family work together to help support the child’s behavior issues? Are there issues that need to be addressed outside of school to help the student?
    Example: Develop a communications plan with parents to keep the child's behavior reinforcements consistent between school and home.