Behavior Plans

A behavior plan, or individual behavior plan, is a way to target and improve the behavior of an individual student. This type of behavior modification is commonly used for special education students, but can be extremely effective for any student if properly done.

The Basics of a Behavior Plan:


The behavior plan is for an individual student and targets an individual behavior. While one behavior is really best to target, it is possible to target two behaviors or more at a time, depending on the severity of the misbehavior. The milder the behavior, the more behaviors can be grouped together. Read more about setting goals for behavior plans.

Regarding the targeted behavior: this must be the behavior the teacher wishes to see. So for example, if John has trouble with being out of his seat too much, the targeted behavior should be: John will stay in his seat. If Susie has trouble raising her hand before talking, targeted behavior should be: Susie will raise her hand before speaking to the class.

The behavior plan must be rewards based, and the rewards must involve a choice. Students should have some say in the choice of rewards on the behavior plan in order to ensure that they are highly motivating.

Implementing a Behavior Plan

Writing a good behavior plan is only a small piece of the individual behavior plan puzzle. Introducing the plan and following through with the plan is a huge part of seeing success with any student. In order to get a good start with the plan, it is vital that a teacher find time to meet individually with the student in question.

Explain to the child what behavior will be worked on, and make sure that the child completely understands what behavior is expected of him or her. Explain how the teacher and child will keep track of this behavior, and emphasize the rewards when this target behavior is met.

Pump the student up, showing complete confidence in the child’s ability to meet the target behavior. Even so, expect the first few days to be a bit rough. For this reason, it is important to start with small goals and work up towards larger goals.

Next: Goal setting for Behavior Plans

Skip to: Behavior plan example one: Staying Seated in Class