The great thing about behavior is that there is always something we can do to make the behavior better. If you answer each of the five “Golden Questions” and set up a strong reinforcement system, there is no behavior you can’t improve. (I know that is a bold statement, but it is true!)
Consider this “bite-sized” behavior plan for one of the most common behaviors that teachers are struggling with: how to get students to stay on the Zoom call and not leave the area!
Target Behavior: Stay On The Zoom Call
Here is a vignette we will start with to help work through the steps!
Johnny is in 4th grade. He comes to every Zoom session on time and when he is on the call he is quiet but doesn’t participate. Many times during the class, he gets up and leaves his area or he clicks onto another page and plays games on his computer. There is no-one at home to remind him to get back to work. He says the class is boring so he does other things. He does this mostly during math class. He will sometimes leave during language arts but it is much less frequently, and he comes right back.
Golden Question #1
What is the behavior they are displaying that you want to change?
The behavior that you want to change is Johnny leaving the Zoom call during class. (both physically leaving and clicking on another computer page.)
Golden Question #2
When is this behavior occurring?
It occurs primarily during math class. He does it during language arts but it isn’t often and not as disruptive so I am going to focus on math time.
Golden Question #3
Why is this behavior occurring?
Every behavior serves a purpose (function) for the child. Knowing this is critical because when we teach the new skill, it has to serve the same purpose. It is likely that the purpose of this behavior is to escape a non-preferred task.
Golden Question #4
What do you want them to do instead?
This is the big question! Ultimately what I want them to do it to stay on the Zoom call but to start, I may want them to ask permission for a break before they leave the call. This way I am moving closer to the behavior that I want!
Golden Question #5
How are you going to teach this new behavior?
I am going to do a 1:1 call with Johnny and teach him how to ask for a break and we are going to practice and role play.
Stay on the Zoom Call Behavior Reinforcement
And then you’ll set up a reinforcement system around this new behavior of staying on the Zoom call.
I know that I have a lot going on so I will make my reinforcement system simple! If Johnny asks for a break (no matter how many times), I will put a check in the chat (privately) and at the end of class (or the week) he will get to earn a pre-chosen reinforcer if he has earned a certain amount of checks. I may add a “bonus” in that if he stays the whole time, he gets 5-extra checks for not leaving at all!
Now I have a plan in place and I am ready to face this behavior head-on! When you break the behaviors into “bite-size” pieces, the overwhelm goes away and you can handle any behavior that comes your way!
Grab my FREE Resource to help you stay on track with pesky behaviors in the virtual classroom. The Behavior Buster Toolkit is available HERE.