Recognizing Positive Behavior
The purpose of a recognition plan is to strategically support the teaching process by providing meaningful recognition when appropriate behaviors are demonstrated, especially during and immediately following the practice phase of the teaching roll out.
As you prepare to connect and align your recognition plan to your teaching plan, the following points should be discussed.
- How will adults verbally and visibly recognize students when they demonstrate the desirable behaviors that have been taught?
- Which adults should be involved in recognizing the students?
- How frequently or at what rate should recognition be provided? (Note, high rates of recognition are recommended in the initial phase.)
- What criteria will you use to know when verbal and visible recognition should be faded? (For instance, "we will start fading recognition when students have demonstrated the behavior approximately 75% of the time for three weeks in a row.") There should also be agreements about whether visible recognition will be faded entirely at some point, leaving only verbal recognition for desirable behaviors. (Keep in mind that many adults think they are more positive in their comments to students than is actually measured through observation. Visible recognition, when paired with verbal recognition, can help adults form a more predictable habit of providing verbal praise.)
- The team should also discuss whether a celebration activity of some sort will be planned when the established criteria have been achieved.
Progress schoolwide will be faster in the adoption of desired behaviors if all adults are consistently providing recognition for the targeted behavior and are doing so in accordance with the agreed plan. The team may wish to discuss how these recognition activities can be encouraged. The team should consider how to inform families about the recognition plan and how they might support the plan and the expected behaviors at home.
A recognition plan is targeted to specific behavioral improvement and should be part of a broader plan to improve school climate by increasing positive contact with students. Schools and programs should strive for a ratio of four positive contacts for each negative contact. A positive contact is defined as a verbal or nonverbal interaction with the student to provide positive feedback or to engage students in a positive manner. Negative contacts are defined as a verbal or nonverbal contact that involves correction, stern direction or reprimand.