What is a Behavior Conference?

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L3_BMM_Behavior_ConfA behavior conference is a brief meeting between teacher and student to discuss the student’s problem behavior(s). While the structure and content of a behavior conference will vary based on circumstances, it will typically include some or all of the following elements:

  • Description of the problem behavior: The teacher describes the student’s behavior and explains why it is presenting a problem in the classroom.
  • Open-ended questions and student input: The teacher asks open-ended questions to fully understand what factors are contributing to the problem behavior.
  • Problem-solving: The teacher and student discuss solutions to the problem behavior and agree to a plan.
  • Disciplinary reminder: If appropriate, the teacher concludes the conference by informing the student of the disciplinary consequence that will occur if the problem behavior continues.

When to Use: The behavior conference is a useful tool for the teacher who:

  • Wishes to better understand reasons of the student problem behavior before acting.
  • Wants to model that it is better for the student to communicate his or her needs through discussion rather than engage in acting-out behaviors.

Examples:

  • A teacher approaches the desk of a student who appears upset to explore what triggered that student’s current emotional distress and to figure out how best to respond to the situation.
  • A non-compliant student is taken aside for a brief in-class conference with the teacher. The teacher establishes that the student is in control of her behavior, states the behavioral expectations for the classroom, and informs the student that she will be given a disciplinary referral if her behaviors do not improve immediately.

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One Response to “What is a Behavior Conference?”
  1. Lynnette Rochford says:

    Although this type of behavior conference may happen frequently with seasoned teachers, it bodes well to revisit these simple, but effective strategies from time to time, regardless of how long we’ve been teaching. We are beginning to implement PBS (Positive Behavior Supports) in our school, and I like the way that it reminds us adults to step back and be more “analytic” of the child’s behaviors rather than “reactive” to the behaviors that we want to change. When a child misbehaves, we assume they do not know the desired behavior yet, and we reteach and follow up as needed. Just yesterday, we received a document with several possible behavior situations and things to do or try to change the behavior. This is helpful for targeting the specific behavior and could help a staff member formulate open-ended questions for the student when there is an opportunity to conference with the student. Conferencing could be used for nearly any type of behavior, and may be especially useful for chronic or serious infractions of school expectations.

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