Cultivating Collaborative Classrooms Through SEL

The task of educating students is a complex initiative, which should be based on the equal development of their personalities as well as the successful acquisition of knowledge. Hence, specialists primarily target the systems implemented for achieving the specified objectives, which are incorporated in the so-called Positive Behavioral and Interventions Supports (PBIS) model (“Missouri Schoolwide Positive Behavior Support,” 2018).

However, this initiative is insufficient for maintaining discipline, and other measures, such as Social and Emotional Learning (SEL), focused on the promotion of skills contributing to the creation of positive relationships, should be added (Sugai & Simonsen, 2012). Therefore, this paper aims to describe a positive, proactive, and institutional approach, essential components of the PBIS framework, beliefs about discipline, and the methods to use a combination of PBIS and SEL in teaching.

Philosophical Tenants of a Positive, Proactive and Instructional Approach to Discipline

Discipline as the key to academic excellence is frequently approached from the point of view of the rules, which are to be developed for all students to follow. The most suitable method for their elaboration is characterized as instructional in the first place, and it is based on a number of concepts related to the process. They include the responsibility of participants for the outcome, the desire to be successful, and socially acceptable ways of behaving (“Missouri schoolwide positive behavior support,” 2018). While serving as the basis for learning, they provide individual support for all participants (Lee, 2020). Hence, the process of educating young people becomes easier due to their enhanced understanding of the norms.

The second aspect of the philosophy of discipline for creating a favorable environment for all students is positivity, which can be viewed as a combination of factors contributing to the perceived safety for everyone. The theory underpinning this instrument includes the connection between the classroom and the conducts of learners, the impact of rewards on the performance, and the outcomes related to social and emotional competencies developed by teachers (“Missouri schoolwide positive behavior support,” 2018). The incorporation of these elements in the lessons created by educators helps promote the appropriate attitude of students towards their tasks.

The third feature, proactivity, corresponds to the PBIS framework since its components allow making a behavioral change underpinned by instilled norms. This aspect implies the orientation of the present-day educational institution on the prevention of problems, for example, mental illnesses, instead of their treatment (“Missouri schoolwide positive behavior support,” 2018). In this way, the obstacles to efficiency in studying of various nature are addressed in a timely manner when their adverse consequences can be fully eliminated (Lee, 2020). These results allow considering the philosophy of proactive attitudes as an excellent complement to the two other principles identified above.

Eight Essential Components of an Effective PBIS framework

The components of an effective PBIS framework mentioned above present a variety of principles, which are designed to effetively promote the schoolwide discipline. The first feature is common philosophy and purpose, and it reflects the need for building adaptive behaviors through proactive instructional approaches rather than punishing students (“Missouri schoolwide positive behavior support,” 2018).

This aspect is addressed by the efforts of educators who create the shared perceptions and teach people to make decisions on the grounds of their understanding instead of exercising control over their actions. In turn, the second component complementing the first solution is leadership, and it is essential for promoting the vision of organizations in the field (“Missouri schoolwide positive behavior support,” 2018). This task is performed by highlighting the administrators’ effectiveness in the decision-making process.

The third and fourth components, clarifying expected behavior and teaching expected behavior, are aimed at elaborating the perceptions of all actors’ conduct. The former is focused on the social competence as the key to the students’ willingness to demonstrate the required attitudes (“Missouri schoolwide positive behavior support,” 2018). Meanwhile, the latter is intended to underpin their actions through direct instruction, modeling, practice, and feedback exercised by educators (“Missouri schoolwide positive behavior support,” 2018).

The fifth feature is encouraging expected behavior, and it is implemented with the help of minute-by-minute interactions between staff and students, which improves their behavior (“Missouri schoolwide positive behavior support,” 2018). The sixth component, discouraging inappropriate behavior, adds to the above initiative by delivering negative feedback to present a real picture. In turn, the seventh element, ongoing monitoring, establishes control over the work of other principles adopted by educators. It is complemented by the eighth notion, effective classroom practices, correlate with the techniques used by teachers and are expressed by the rules (“Missouri schoolwide positive behavior support,” 2018). Despite the fact that all of the described components are important, they work best in a combination.

Key Beliefs of Discipline and Student Behavior

The efficient development of a schoolwide discipline plan is significantly dependant on the key beliefs about discipline and student behavior. The former includes the need to establish shared principles for all participants, the commitment to them as a necessary condition for success, and the inclusion of all people in the decision-making process (“Missouri schoolwide positive behavior support,” 2018). In turn, the latter is presented by the requirements to develop clear, appropriate, and consistent expectations and the creation of a vision “Missouri schoolwide positive behavior support,” 2018). Addressing these components allow ensuring the effectiveness of any initiatives implemented by facilities.

SEL and PBIS and an Effective System of Discipline

The PBIS framework described above is an excellent solution for maintaining discipline. However, the intersection of the specified conditions with the provisions of the SEL model leads to the necessity to use it alongside the former tool. The components of PBIS correlating with SEL include Clarifying Expected Behavior, Teaching Expected Behavior, and Encouraging Expected Behavior, and they should be incorporated in the future plan (Barrett et al., 2018). In this way, it will be possible to produce an effective system of discipline in a school.

Five Specific Ways and Methods for Integration of SEL with PBIS

SEL and PBIS can work together by combining their intertwined elements for elaborating an appropriate tool for managing discipline. The first method in this regard is related to the use of Clarifying Expected Behavior with social-emotional support. In other words, it is the provision of the basis for the former through the latter’s principles implementation. It means the establishment of authority within teams, ensuring the sufficiency of available resources, and the presence of the instilled characteristics in educators (“Social and emotional learning and positive behavioral interventions and support,” 2010).

It should be complemented by the second way to reach the goal presented by the mentioned PBIS component reinforced by the SEL instruments of identification of what skills to teach (“Social and emotional learning and positive behavioral interventions and support,” 2010). In this way, the focus of the staff will be more clear, and the achievement of the specified objectives will be possible.

The third approach is the creation of Teaching Expected Behavior as per the PBIS framework on the grounds of the SEL concept of prioritizing the most vital skills. The former element expressed by a continuum of behavior support practices, and the system will significantly benefit from this measure (Sugai & Simonsen, 2012). More specifically, it will work together with the instrument of maintaining priorities for teaching skills and thereby facilitate the process and make it faster (“Social and emotional learning and positive behavioral interventions and support,” 2010). As a result, the students’ understanding of appropriate behavior will improve.

The fourth method is also oriented on Teaching Expected Behavior, and it is the inclusion of SEL components for educators to make sure their actions correspond to them. For example, respect, achievement, organization, and responsibility should be shared not only by students but also by teachers (“Social and emotional learning and positive behavioral interventions and support,” 2010). Their incorporation will allow creating a positive role model for students for a better outcome.

In turn, the fifth way is combining Encouraging Expected Behavior with SEL techniques to promote adult wellness (“Social and emotional learning and positive behavioral interventions and support,” 2010). Since these concepts are interrelated due to their emphasis on the training of personnel for further efficient initiatives of educating students through encouragement, they will work together in a productive way.


In conclusion, the philosophy underpinning a positive, proactive, and instructional approach to discipline is expressed by these characteristics’ compatibility to the creation of a favorable learning environment. It is confirmed by the beliefs about discipline, which include the needs for participation, commitment, and inclusion. Its practical implementation is performed through the use of PBIS and SEL frameworks, which efficiently work together in terms of improving the conduct of students by providing a proper role model based on a variety of concepts.


Barrett, S., Eber, L., McIntosh, K., Perales, K., & Romer, N. (2018). Teaching social-emotional competencies within a PBIS framework.

Lee, A. M. I. (2020). PBIS: What you need to know. Understood. Web.

Missouri schoolwide positive behavior support. (2018). Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Social and emotional learning and positive behavioral interventions and support. (2010). CASEL.

Sugai, G., & Simonsen, B. (2012). Positive behavioral interventions and supports. Center for PBIS & Center for Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports, University of Connecticut.

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