Identifying and Defining Behaviors
When a student is exhibiting multiple behaviors of concern, it may be difficult to determine which behavior to select. The "Considerations for selecting a behavior" document (on right) can provide you some guiding questions to consider with the team.
An operational definition is a description of the behavior that is:
-OBJECTIVE: Observable & Measurable, unambiguous — no labels or opinions
- CLEAR: Tells exactly what a person says or does, two outside observers would have a high rate of agreement about if the behavior was occurring
- COMPLETE: the boundaries of what is included and excluded are specified, includes examples and non-examples with minimal differences
- Will a stranger know what to look for when you give the definition?
- Can you break the definition into smaller components that are more specific and observable? (tantrum= throwing+yelling)
- Feelings or internal processes (i.e. frustration, anxiety) are not behaviors we can operationally define, because they are not observable. What can you see? What does the student do that indicates they may be having internal feelings?