Behavior Contracts in Special Education

Instructor: Clio Stearns

Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.

Using a behavior contract can be a really helpful way to get students on board with behavioral changes. This lesson will help you think through some of the nuances of behavior contracts used in special education.

Using a Behavior Contract

Mr. Shapiro has been teaching special education in a self-contained high school setting for three years. He has become adept at modifying curriculum and instructional strategies to meet his students' needs and has strong relationships with students and families.

The one area Mr. Shapiro continues to find very difficult is behavior management, or helping his students learn to behave in ways that are appropriate to the school setting. He becomes increasingly interest in working with behavior contracts, documents that hold students, teachers, and families to specific behavioral goals.

Mr. Shapiro realizes that a behavior contract will not be a magical solution, but he likes that it takes his students seriously, gives them ownership and high expectations, and clearly stipulates what needs to change. He sets out to learn more about what it means to use behavior contracts in the special education setting.

The Basics of a Contract

First of all, Mr. Shapiro learns that there are some basic components almost every behavior contract should include. These components are:

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