Managing Challenging Student Behaviors


The videos in this collection originated in courses that are available on PBS TeacherLine, Promoting Positive Behavior in Schools I, II, and III, which showcase positive, systemic programs that help prevent problem behaviors. However, even when schools have implemented positive behavior and intervention systems with fidelity, they won’t be able to prevent all problem behaviors from occurring.

These scenarios, featuring actors in the student roles, illustrate effective strategies to address moderately challenging behavior, such as being off-task or noncompliant, as well as to de-escalate more serious and potentially dangerous behaviors.

The videos were co-produced by KET and the Kentucky Department of Education with support and content provided by the Kentucky Center for Instructional Discipline and University of Louisville College of Education and Human Development.

  • Off-Task Behavior

    This video, featuring actors in the student roles, illustrates the role of teacher proximity and student placement in helping a student remain on-task.

    Grades: 13+
  • Behavior Momentum Strategy

    “Behavior momentum” is a strategy that increases the likelihood of appropriate behavior by asking a student to do two or three things they typically want to do and then following up with a request for a behavior the student typically does not want to do. This strategy builds momentum toward appropriate behavior.

    This video, featuring actors in the student roles, illustrates the “behavior momentum” strategy.

    Grades: 13+
  • Disruptive Behavior

    Disruptive behaviors can be small, such as repeatedly calling out, but they might also include larger disruptive behavior triggered by emotion or agitation.

    These videos, featuring actors in the student roles, illustrate strategies to de-escalate more serious disruptive behavior in both classroom and non-classroom environments.

    Grades: 13+
  • The Escalation Cycle

    This interactive graph is a basic model of the escalation cycle and the continuum of behavioral interventions from Managing the Cycle of Acting-Out Behavior in the Classroom by Geoff Colvin.

    Grades: 13+
  • Provocative Behavior

    Sometimes a student may do or say something inappropriate as a simple slip-up while at other times this type of behavior is a purposeful attempt to get attention. In either case, school personnel must respond in a manner that is effective as well as minimizes the probability of the behavior escalating.

    These videos, featuring actors in the student roles, illustrate strategies to de-escalate provocative behavior in classroom and non-classroom settings.

    Grades: 13+
  • Noncompliant and Defiant Behavior

    All school personnel are familiar with students who don't follow directions well and require constant attention and reminders. Noncompliance and defiance are characterized by behaviors that are clearly off task or in defiance of stated rules and expectations. Further, noncompliant students often find ways to ignore directions or provide excuses for why they are unable to follow directions. When noncompliant behavior is addressed in the wrong way, the results will, at best, be ineffective, and at worst, may cause an escalation in off-task behavior.

    These videos, featuring actors in the student roles, illustrate strategies to de-escalate noncompliant and defiant behavior in classroom and non-classroom settings.

    Grades: 13+
  • Aggressive Behavior and Fighting

    Fighting and aggression are among the most serious and challenging of all student behaviors. These include all instances in which one or more students engage in behavior whose sole purpose is to deliver physical or emotional harm to another. In milder cases, your goal is to interrupt the aggression. But in the most extreme cases, the goal is solely on enhancing the safety of all concerned to the greatest degree possible.

    These videos, featuring actors in the student roles, illustrate strategies to de-escalate aggressive behavior in both classroom and non-classroom environments as well as a demonstration of a “room-clear” when aggression has escalated to a point when the student presents possible danger to himself or others.

    Grades: 13+

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