Decreasing Student Problem Behavior: Paraprofessional Training and Coaching for Effective Behavioral Intervention

Behavior problems are a significant obstacle to student learning, and schools have a responsibility to effectively intervene and manage student behavior. The school staff who are responsible for dealing with student behavior require training to be effective in their roles. The purpose of this action research project was to investigate the impact of professional development on support staff’s ability to understand and use evidence based behavioral intervention strategies. An intervention was designed consisting of three in-service trainings modules combined with three coaching cycles, focusing on linking the decision making framework found in the Functional Behavior Assessment literature with a variety of concrete behavioral intervention strategies. Impact and process data was collected throughout the study through observation, survey, and discussion. The findings indicate that participants were able to learn and use new behavioral intervention strategies after participating in the study, and that their confidence in their ability to work with challenging student behaviors had improved. Further implications for school leaders regarding the training and support of staff to provide effective behavioral intervention are drawn.

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