Modeling Behaviors

Direct Instruction of Exemplar Behaviors, Teaching Positive Behavior Expectations

UDL 3.4

Modeling behaviors is specific direct instruction of behaviors that students need to learn. Modeling behaviors can be for behavior in the classroom, social environments and other school settings such as the playground or cafeteria. With modeling, the teacher typically identifies and introduces the behavior that he/she is planning to model and why it is important. The teacher then models the behavior in the exact manner that she would want the students to perform the behavior. She gives the students the opportunity to practice the modeled behavior in the situation in which this behavior is expected. When students are demonstrating the behavior, the teacher offers positive feedback and praise in order to reinforce the modeled behavior.

Ready-to-Use Resources

Progress Monitoring Tool

Guided Student Reflection Form

A student reflection form to use when modeling behaviors. This version guides students to reflect on modeled behaviors by writing or drawing to illustrate the behaviors they observe. Use these reflection forms to guide students to actively reflect on the modeled behavior as well as plan ways to adopt the behavior into their own actions.

Grade 3, 4, 5 · Behavior & SEL · 1 pages

Progress Monitoring Tool

Written Self-Reflection Forms

A set of student reflection forms to use when modeling behaviors. The set includes versions with and without sentence frames. Use these reflection forms to guide students to actively reflect on the modeled behavior as well as plan ways to adopt the behavior into their own actions.

Grade 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 · Behavior & SEL · 2 pages

Implementation Tips

Selecting Behaviors to Model
When choosing behaviors to model, be clear about how important the exemplar behavior is in your classroom and school environment. Make sure the modeled behaviors are in line with your classroom management, instruction and style. Also, consider how important and necessary it is for the student(s) to learn the modeled behavior.
Positive Feedback
When students are demonstrating the modeled behavior, be sure to provide positive feedback—especially when students are first learning the skill. The positive feedback could be in the form of positive praise or reinforcers such as points or stars and can be recorded on a chart.
When necessary, reteach the modeled behavior. Oftentimes, it takes more than once for the student(s) to learn the desired skill or behavior. One way to reteach or practice the behavior is through social role play. The role play can be an opportunity to practice amongst peers or in a one-on-one setting to increase engagement and involvement of the students and gain self mastery prior to the real life situation.
Have students reflect on how they are doing with the modeled behavior frequently and consistently as this helps to support students in being more self-responsible for themselves in their classroom and school environment. The reflection process could happen during circle time, group meetings, check in or in one-on-one settings.


Attentive Listening
Students are learning how to listen to their partners during think-pair-share. As the teacher is modeling the behavior of attentive listening with another student, the teacher asks the class to observe what attentive listening looks like, sounds like and feels like. The students share their observations as a whole group and then have an opportunity to practice attentive listening with each other.
Standing in Line
At the beginning of the school year, the teacher models how to get ready for recess – including being dismissed from the table, pushing chairs in and standing in line while keeping hands to self. The teacher has the students practice this many times in order to develop mastery of the routine.
Asking for Help
A student often asks for help by calling out to the teacher or getting out of the seat and approaching the teacher. The teacher models with the student how he can ask for help during different times of the day including seat work, group work and rug time. The teacher has a visual chart to remind the student how to ask for help appropriately that the student can refer to throughout the school day.
Students with Autism can benefit from modeling if they have established imitation skills. In order to be successful, modeling must be paired with prompting and reinforcers in order to teach our students with Autism. Students can learn how to answer basic "who", "what", "where" questions by breaking the activity into small components, giving directions with verbal and visual prompt (e.g., "where is the dog" and pointing at the picture of dog in the story), having a peer or adult model how to answer the question (e.g., "in the park"), and providing an immediate reinforcer for correct response (e.g., token or sticker). The student is then given the same prompt and reinforcer if he/she imitated the correct response.

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