Research on PBIS (Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports)

I received the following excerpt from a doctoral dissertation and reproduce it with the author’s permission:

“As you can tell from the dissertation excerpts I sent you, I have thoroughly researched your approach to discipline, as well as countless others. Unfortunately, the many other more traditional approaches have failed us as educators. I spent the past nine years in administration trying to make a difference in public education.

“But more importantly, I wanted to impact the course of public education positively. Catching kids doing something good and then reinforcing those acts by positive rewards is a component of Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) that I experienced firsthand. As a matter of fact, I was delighted to spend my first two years in administration implementing a Positive Behavior Support (PBS) model in a Pennsylvania school district that was designated as one of only three districts in the state to field such a model with grant money for that specific purpose. I soon realized that any system of external manipulation or extrinsic positive rewards in a school utilizing the PBS model becomes outdated and ineffective. I discovered how some of the rewards can become negatives.

“Research certainly indicates that rewards or extrinsic motivations (as I write on page 73 of my dissertation– using “A’s,” praise, and other rewards) were ineffective over an extended period of time. These methods were counterproductive to the desired educational goals. Change should come from internal motivation. No artificial incentive can match the power of intrinsic motivation.”

—from a dissertation presented to the faculty of the School of Human Services Professions, Widener University, in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Doctor of Education by Joseph F. Cortese, February, 2008

1 Comment
  1. Dr. Marshall,

    The reward portion of PBIS is a huge concern to me as I notice a growing number of schools implementing this program.

    I have written my thoughts here: