Expert Instruction Podcast
Oct 18, 2022

Ep. 23: How to De-escalate Student Behavior

In this second episode of our two-part series on de-escalation, we’re talking about the things you can do to calm student behavior before it becomes a crisis.

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This episode of Expert Instruction is the second in our 2-part series about de-escalation. In our last episode, we spoke with Dr. Kathleen Strickland-Cohen and Alex Newsom about the school-wide strategies you can put in place to help prevent behaviors from escalating in the classroom. We know it would be impossible to prevent 100% of behaviors from getting bigger. So, what happens when those prevention strategies aren’t enough? What can you do to de-escalate a behavior before it becomes a crisis?

We invited Ami Flammini and Brian Meyer from the Midwest PBIS Network to help us answer those questions.

Ami and Brian are co-authors (along with Kathleen, Alex, Katherine Meyer, Laura Kern, and Robert Putnam) on the new practice brief from The Center on PBIS called, Strategies for De-escalating Student Behavior in the Classroom. Today, our guests share how they've used these strategies to stop the escalation cycle and help students return to a place of calm..

Ami is a technical assistance director with the Midwest PBIS Network where she works to integrate trauma-informed practices within a multi-tiered support system. Ami has nearly 30 years of experience in education as a social worker and trainer, so she is intimately familiar with what it takes to create a positive school culture that supports everyone.

Brian is a co-director for the Midwest PBIS Network and a partner with The Center on PBIS. He bring with him experience in just about every educational setting. From general education, to higher education, to residential care, to state departments down to the local level, Brian has worked with them all. In his current work with the Midwest PBIS Network, Brian leads the curricular development of district leadership training, Tier 1, classroom management, and bullying prevention.

Dr. Kathleen Strickland-Cohen is also back for this episode. Kathleen is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Special Education at the University of Utah and a Doctoral-level Board Certified Behavior Analyst. She has extensive experience conducting research and training both preservice teachers and in-service district and school personnel in behavior support implementation at Tiers 2 and 3. Her research interests include: designing inclusive educational environments, using efficient methods to train school professionals how to design individualized student behavior plans, and enhancing family-professional partnership within PBIS.

For more information about some of the resources mentioned in this episode, please check out these links:

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Megan Cave


Megan Cave

Megan Cave is a member of the PBISApps Marketing and Communication team. She is the writer behind the user manuals, scripted video tutorials, and news articles for PBISApps. She also writes a monthly article for Teach by Design and contributes to its accompanying Expert Instruction podcast episode. Megan has completed four half marathons – three of which happened unintentionally – and in all likelihood, will run another in the future.

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