Classroom PBIS Practices


Classroom PBIS practices include preventative and responsive approaches that may be effectively implemented with all students in a classroom and intensified to support small groups or a few individual students. Classroom PBIS strategies are important tools to decrease disruptions, increase instructional time, and improve student social behavior and academic outcomes[1], which is critical as schools are held to greater accountability for student outcomes and teacher effectiveness. Although individual teachers may implement PBIS in their own classrooms regardless of the broader school context, the effects of classroom PBIS strategies are maximized by (a) implementing within a school-wide multi-tiered behavioral framework (MTBF), like school-wide PBIS; (b) directly linking classroom and school-wide expectations and systems; (c) merging classroom PBIS strategies with effective instructional design, curriculum, and delivery; and (d) using classroom-based data to guide decision making. The following school- and classroom-level supports should be in place to optimize the fidelity and benefits of implementation.


School-level supportsClassroom-level supports
  • Implementation of school-wide tier 1 practices, including strategies for identifying and teaching expectations, acknowledging appropriate behavior, and responding to inappropriate behavior
  • School-wide MTBF implementation guided by Tier 1 school-wide discipline data
  • Appropriate supports for staff provided, including leadership teaming, supporting policy, coaching, and implementation monitoring
  • Tier 1 classroom system for teaching expectations, providing acknowledgments, and managing rule violations linked to school-wide MTBF
  • Classroom management decisions are based on classroom behavioral data • Effective instructional strategies implemented with fidelity
  • Curriculum matched to student need and data


To promote teachers' implementation of proactive classroom PBIS practices, school-wide positive behavioral interventions and supports (SW-PBIS) teams should invest in systems to support teachers, including explicit professional development, supportive and data-driven coaching, and staff recognition. (See Technical Brief on Systems to Support Teachers' Implementation of PBIS in the Classroom.) In addition, teachers should consider the following guiding questions to (a) ensure foundational practices are in place; (b) promote the consistent implementation of planned, preventative, and positive classroom PBIS practices; and (c) make decisions for responding to students' problem behavior.


Classroom Support Decision Flow Chart

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Please see detailed information presented in the Supporting and Responding to Student Behavior guidance document. This document includes an interactive map of classroom PBIS strategies, a self-assessment, examples of critical practices in elementary and secondary settings, non-examples of critical practices, descriptions of supporting evidence, links to resources, scenarios that illustrate implementation, and other guidelines for implementation.

[1] (Simonsen, Fairbanks, Briesch, Myers, & Sugai, 2008)