How To: Improve Classroom Behaviors Using Self-Monitoring Checklists
Student self-monitoring can be an effective means to improve general classroom conduct--especially if that intervention:
- targets positive, replacement behaviors (i.e., behaviors intended to replace problem behaviors);
- provides a reminder, or prompt, at the precise moment when the student needs to display the positive target behaviors;
- requires that the student compare and evaluate his or her current behaviors against the positive target behaviors; and
- is strengthened by teacher praise when the student shows progress with the positive target behaviors.
The self-monitoring intervention presented here promotes student participation and responsibility--and is convenient for classroom use (adapted from Whitford, Liaupsin, Umbreit, & Ferro, 2013).
Two versions of the self-monitoring program appear below. In preparation for using either version, teacher and student will meet to develop a checklist of appropriate, positive behaviors ('replacement behaviors') that the student will use as the self-monitoring tool. A sample set of self-monitoring checklists can be viewed HERE. A free, online application for creating student self-monitoring checklists can also be accessed at:
Version 1: The student does a pre-session self-prompt and post-session self-evaluation. Before the self-monitoring session, the student uses the behavior checklist to briefly preview his or her positive behavior targets. After the session, the student reviews the checklist and records which of the positive behavior targets he or she actually displayed. The teacher then meets briefly with the student to (1) review the completed checklist, (2) correct the student if any of the ratings do not match the teacher's perception of observed behavior, and (3) provide praise if the student achieved most or all of the behavior targets or encouragement if the student failed to attain the behavior targets.
Version 2: The student does a pre-session self-prompt and monitors behaviors at multiple points during the session. In preparation for this intervention, the teacher chooses a timing option for the student to use during the self-monitoring phase (e.g., mechanical kitchen timer, smart phone timer application set on vibrate). NOTE: If the student has access to a device that can play MP3 (electronic audio) files, teachers can download a 'beep-tape' with tones at 5-minute intervals that can serve as an ideal signal for student self-monitoring. Those free beep-tapes and instructions for use can be accessed at:
The teacher and student also determine a fixed-interval frequency (e.g., every 2 minutes; every 5 minutes) when the student will pause to evaluate and record his or her behavior.
Before the self-monitoring session, the student uses the behavior checklist to briefly preview his or her positive behavior targets. During the self-monitoring session, the student pauses at the end of each interval (e.g., whenever the timer sounds or the beep-tape signals) to review the checklist and record which of the positive behavior targets he or she actually displayed during the most recent interval. The student then resets the timer if necessary and continues the activity.
At the end of the session, the teacher meets briefly with the student to review the self-monitoring results. The instructor reviews the interval ratings, (1) corrects the student if any of the ratings do not match the teacher's perception of observed behavior, and (2) provides praise if the student hit most or all of the behavior targets or encouragement if the student failed to attain the behavior targets.
- Whitford, D. K., Liaupsin, C. J., Umbreit, J., & Ferro, J. B. (2013). Implementation of a single comprehensive function-based intervention across multiple classrooms for a high school student. Education and Treatment of Children, 36, 147-167.