Self Management Plans And EBD Students

The child who antagonizes others the minute you turn around. The young girl who shuts down once her work begins to challenge her. The student who, despite redirection, parent conferences, and frequent reminders, fails to modify (and perhaps even see) their problem behavior. These are students that we all have had and will continue to have some incarnation of in our classrooms.

While there are no shortage of EBD-diagnosed students engaging in habitually off-task or socially inappropriate behaviors, the strategies to help modify these behaviors often seem scarce. One of the more successful methods of fostering more positive habits in these students is adopting a self-management plan.

In their article entitled, "Students With Emotional and Behavioral Disorders Can Manage Their Own Behavior," authors Beverly Patton, Kristine Jolivette, and Michelle Ramsey outline the five main steps in creating self-management plans with students:

1. Identify and define the behavior that needs to change: What do inappropriate behaviors look like? What do appropriate ones look like?

2. Determine baseline behaviors and reasonable growth to expect: How regularly are these problem behaviors happening? What level of growth does the student need to show in order for the behavior to be considered under control?

3. Discuss the reasons for adopting the plan: Assist the student in coming up with intrinsic reasons why modifying this behavior would be advantageous to them.

4. Share the plan with student.

5. Discuss the particulars of its implementation: This is particularly important because the student will be directly involved in the plan's implementation. For example, a behavior chart may have areas for both the student and the teacher to evaluate how well the student exhibited appropriate behaviors in a class period.

Self-management plans are more effective than behavior intervention plans that don't directly engage the student for a number of reasons. First and foremost, they vest the student with responsibility for his or her behavior. In addition, they help students recognize when they are behaving inappropriately, which is not always as evident to the student as we sometimes assume.

-contributed by J. Tabak

Source Text:
Jolivette, K., B. Patton, & M. Ramsey. (2006). Students with emotional and behavioral disorders can manage their own behavior. Teaching Exceptional Children, 39 (2), 14-21.