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Effective Interaction Patterns

Key Words: Curricular Materials, K-6, Deaf Education


Harrisburg, PA -- The Effective Interaction Patterns program is a model for how to respond to students who are presenting discipline problems in the classroom. The model presents communication-based strategies for school personnel, particularly teachers, to use in the classroom to stop inappropriate student behaviors. It is designed for use with students whose behaviors are noncompliant, disruptive, and interfere with their own or other students' learning.

This approach is based on the assumption that, when students are out of control, inattentive, or unwilling to study, then very little learning will take place. Conversely, if students are on task and behaving appropriately, they will learn more. Therefore, stopping students' inappropriate behavior is considered the foundation of an effective educational institution. The major focus of this model is on how to stop inappropriate behavior, get students on task, keep them on task, and help teachers to gain control of the classroom.

The first training component of this approach is to show teachers how to analyze their belief systems about why students misbehave. Specific training procedures demonstrate that certain common belief systems may not be substantiated by observable evidence. These erroneous belief systems may actually give students the message that they are incapable of controlling themselves, and therefore that they are excused for misbehaving.

The next training component of the model analyzes actual teacher and student interactions and communication patterns, and helps teachers to determine what messages they are communicating to their students; they can then analyze whether their current strategies for stopping inappropriate behavior are effective or ineffective. The model demonstrates that, when teachers assume that a student is incapable of appropriate behavior (e.g., "his brothers were like that, what can you expect?), that they use vague, abstract, and indirect communication patterns rather than clear, concrete, and direct messages about what they want the student to do.

Examples of effective communication patterns are presented, and contrasts are drawn between these and ineffective communication. Teachers then explore how to incorporate the information into their own classroom management system. They are given a format for developing an individual discipline lesson plan which involves other school personnel or parents; they are also shown how to develop back-up techniques; and they are presented with a model for conducting brief parent telephone interviews and conferences.

Effective Interaction Patterns is one of Pennsylvania's Quality Education Initiatives, and is being implemented in:

* Northwest Tri-County Intermediate Unit 5: 814/734-5610

* Reading School District Intermediate Unit 14: 215/371-5913

* Philadelphia School District Intermediate Unit 26: 215/684-5116

The developer is Michael Valentine: 714/858-7802.

CONTACT: Bureau of Special Education, Pennsylvania Dept of Education, 333 Market Street, Harrisburg, PA 17126; 717/783-6913.


Instructional Support System of Pennsylvania. (1992).

QUALITY EDUCATION INITIATIVES. Harrisburg, PA: Pennsylvania Department of Education.