Beyond Observation - Utah Montessori Council

Beyond Observation
Strategies to Overcome Behavior Obstacles
Rachel Fields M.Ed
K.Lea Kelley M.Ed
Dr. Montessori’s thoughts
“The method of observation is established
on one fundamental base- the liberty of
the pupils in their spontaneous
“But when she (the directress) begins to
find it her duty to discern which are the
acts to hinder and which are those to
observe, the teacher of the old school
feels the great void within herself and
begins to ask if she will not be inferior to
her new task.”
The Montessori Method
What did Dr. Montessori say?
(Said of the teacher in a Montessori classroom)
“...she has an exact task to perform, and it is necessary that she should
put herself into immediate relation with the truth, by means of rigorous
observation, that she should strip off all illusions, all the idle creations
of the fancy, that she should distinguish truth from falsehood
unerringly, that, in fact, she should follow the example of the scientist,
who takes into account of every minute particle of matter...but
eliminates all optical delusions, all the confusion which impurities and
foreign substances might introduce into the search for truth.” (p138)
Montessori, Maria. The Advanced Montessori Method: Spontaneous Activity in Education. Vol.
1. Trans. Florence Simmonds. 1917. Cambridge: Robert Bentley, Inc., 1965.
Why observe?
● Follow the child
● Design appropriate interventions or
individual programs
What is a FuBA?
Fu is for functional
B is for behavior
A is for assessment
4 Functions of Behavior
1. Escape
2. Attention
3. Tangible
4. Sensory
What do you see?
What is the function of his behavior?
Choosing a Target Behavior
Be specific
● Rolling on the ground
● Picking nose
● Running in the classroom
● Shouting
● Leaving the classroom
● Meltdown
What to observe?
Comments often
● “This child is driving me
● “I just cannot deal with
● “Why is he so defiant?”
Whose problem is it?
Ask yourself:
● “Is the child’s behavior your problem?”
● “Is there something in the environment
that is causing the behavior?”
● “Is the child’s behavior interfering with
their learning and relationships?”
Where does the behavior
pick up and/or drop
● bathroom
● special class: i.e.
Spanish, art, music,
● home
● community
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
When to observe?
Types of Data
Qualitative Data
● deals with descriptions
● data can be observed but
not measured
● i.e. tired
● Qualitative - Quality
Quantitative Data
● deals with numbers
● data can be measured
● i.e. # times leave’s
● Quantitative - Quantity
How to Gather Data (Observe)
Qualitative Data
● running record
● incidental notes
● child interview
● parent interview
● teacher interview
Quantitative Data
● Tape
● 3 x 5 index card
● Peer-to-Peer
● Maria’s Market
● Chunking
● Intermittent
● Visual Work Chart
● Alternate Works
● Catch ‘em while
they're being good
● 15 min. time with
● Allow student to
teach a lesson
Treasure Box
Game on iPad
Art Box
Perler Beads
● Rice, sand, water,
● Heavy Work
● Headphones
● Blanket, yoga mat
What to do with information?
BIP=Behavior Intervention Program
Use information from FuBA to replace
unwanted target behavior with incentives
that match the function of the behavior
(attention, sensory, tangible, avoidance).
Labeling the child?
The focus is on the behavior NOT the label!
Use caution labeling a child.
Can be seen as diagnosing a child.
Let’s wrap it up!
Choose target behavior
Gather more qualitative data
Determine function of behavior
Implement strategy
Write a BIP
Continue gathering data
Change strategy if needed

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