Teaching Skills and Behaviors
Thought to Ponder by Tom Herner, KASDE President in Counter Point (1998 p.2)
“If a child doesn’t know how to read, we teach.”
“If a child doesn’t know how to swim, we teach.”
“If a child doesn’t know how to multiply, we teach.”
“If a child doesn’t know how to behave, we teach or punish?”
“Why can’t we finish the last sentence as automatically as we do the others?”
Tips for Teaching Behaviors and Skills
- Be proactive and teach steps early and in small increments.
- Know what you want and have everyone in family or setting agree.
- Be descriptive and specific in teaching a behavior – What does it look like?
- Use a visual – Picture or example.
- State what you want to see frequently (It may help to put it with a song or game).
- Give warnings or notice that the behavior needs to be occurring.
- Look for the behavior and praise those doing it correctly or attempting approximations.
- When making corrections state the behavior you want. For example say, “Walking feet. I need walking feet in the house.” Don’t say, “Stop running.”
- Practice appropriate behaviors. If practice is needed tell them to “Show me walking feet,” “Try again with walking feet.” Then praise the appropriate behavior with sincere praise.
- Cheer for children and celebrate small steps by building in feelings of pride and accomplishment.