"For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:1
If there’s anything that I’ve learned as a parent and a school counselor, it’s how to build positive behavior intervention plans and incentive charts! The most effective behavior intervention plan (BIP) is created from the completion of a quality functional behavior assessment (FBA). The more we know about why a behavior happens and under what circumstances the behavior occurs, the more equipped we are at creating a positive intervention plan. For instance, if a child is using a negative behavior (skipping class) to avoid a task (work is too hard) or an environment (being bullied or feel like they don’t fit in), then we would need to create an intervention that would address the motive behind the behavior (avoidance). An effective strategy would be to offer them tutoring, address the bullying, or provide them with a mentor or friendship group. We would also need to know what incentives serve as motivators so that the positive behavior could be reinforced. For instance, if the child likes computer games, they could be rewarded with extra time on the computer once they completed their tutoring session. We would then set a deadline and track the intervention to see if it’s effective or not. If the negative behavior (skipping class) has decreased, and the positive behavior (attending class) has increased, then we know the intervention and the motivational incentives have worked. Finding the function of the behavior and the right motivators are the keys to behavioral success!
I've spent a lot of time over the years considering what drives my behavior, and I've come to the conclusion that I am driven by achievement. This was reconfirmed last night when I took the enneagram personality test and came out as a Type 3 - The Achiever. Achievement motivation is defined as a person’s need to meet realistic goals, receive feedback and experience a sense of accomplishment. I am energized when I am given a specific task and can set goals around that task. I do best when I set performance goals and have opportunities for internal and external feedback. The learning process is my incentive. I absolutely love acquiring new skills and knowledge. Learning is like candy to me. If I could attend school and earn a salary as a full-time student, I would do it! Learning opportunities like social discourse/debate, professional learning communities, college courses and seminars/conferences motivate me more than any other thing, including money. When I have money, I just want to spend it on more learning opportunities. In fact, the money I put into the “I DID IT” jar will probably be used to pay for tuition and/or seminars.
Another important aspect of motivational theory is to consider the locus of control (LOC). If you believe that you can control the outcome (internal locus of control), you are more likely to act to change your situation. If on the other hand, you believe that you don’t have control (external locus of control), you may be less likely to work toward change. I know there are many things in my life that I cannot control. I can’t control when or how I die (which could explain why some people take their own life because it puts control back into their own hands). I can’t control how another person treats me. But, I can control how I treat another person despite my feelings. And, truth be known, I can control what foods I put into my mouth despite the cravings I experience.