The Target Behavior: Selection and Description


There is a multitude of unhealthy behaviors in students that require a significant amount of effort from a teacher in order to be appropriately addressed. This process plays a vital role in both students’ social interactions and academic performance. However, it can be difficult to correctly determine a strategy for dealing with a behavioral issue since factors that lead to its appearance vary greatly. Such intervention requires thorough planning and analysis from a teacher, who needs to be prepared for conducting it. This essay will discuss how a teacher can help students with selecting an appropriate target behavior and writing an operational definition.

Selecting an Appropriate Behavior

There is a student in my classroom who can be described as shy to the point of avoiding most contact with others. The exhibited behavior is not age-appropriate and needs to be addressed in favor of its reduction. It bears significant importance as active participation in communication is a prerequisite for many other social skills (National Center on Intensive Intervention, 2019a). While I recognize that being an introvert is not an issue in itself, this student experiences difficulties in both social and academic life due to their unwillingness to communicate with others. There is a distinct lack of confidence that requires an intervention.

However, it is vital to determine the source of this issue, as the plan for selecting a target behavior will be different depending on it. As this student remains noncommunicative throughout their classes, it appears to be a long-standing issue that hinders their independent functioning.

An appropriate behavior would consist of the student actively engaging in conversations with peers and teachers on a regular basis without the need for creating a suitable environment that promotes communication. For this intervention, I will attempt to include this student in group activities personally and monitor what reactions does this student show during conversations with others. This will allow me to trace further issues that must be focused on through personal discussions and what type of motivation is lacking. The proposed change will allow this student to become more adapted to social life.

Moreover, an entire classroom will be changed, as other students will notice how positive changes can bring around one’s views on social interactions. The student in their current behavioral mode experiences discomfort when being talked to, which can pose a danger to their social life further on. The replacement behavior must include willingness to engage in in-class group activities where cooperation is required, participation in extracurricular activities that focus on teamwork and upholding a dialogue with teachers for academic purposes.

From this video, I have learned the correct methods of assessing the outcomes of an intervention in a person’s behavior. I have also understood that there needs to be an adaptive replacement to which a student needs to transfer and which will be suitable for the purpose set by an intervention (National Center on Intensive Intervention, 2019a). Moreover, this part of the module made me understood that there are costs to change one’s behavior that must be assessed prior to an intended change (National Center on Intensive Intervention, 2019a). Due to this fact, I will actively attempt to discover the underlying causes, such as bullying or other stress factors, and help this student to neutralize them depending on their nature.

Writing an Operational Definition

Establishing the concrete description of target behavior is the essential part of the analysis part of the selected approach. The need to define target behavior also helps with an intervention that is performed by multiple employees (National Center on Intensive Intervention, 2019b). For this case, the target behavior can be defined as noncommunication with peers and teachers during both class activities and recesses that harms the student’s social life and their academic success. This definition can be altered as interaction attempts become more prominent in the student’s class performance. The dimensions of this behavior possibly extend beyond the classroom, making it vital to focus on the swift correction.

The target behavior is linked with the student’s inability to open themselves to conversations with others. Examples of this behavior include nervousness when being spoken to, visual disturbance from being asked for an answer, unwillingness to join a group, or failing to answer even when the answer is known. Moreover, the student may leave the class early and seek solitude or answer in short sentences to minimize interactions. These behaviors need to be recognized by teachers, and any additional signs of abstaining from society must be documented and shared among employees.

Non-examples of target behavior are essential to recognize in order to avoid affecting them during an intervention. For the proposed case, they may include refusing to share information with others when the task requires an individual to work alone, asking for an excuse to leave a class for a valid reason. Moreover, a student may be absent during gym classes due to physical limitations and not out of extreme shyness. It is vital not to punish such a student for misperceptions such as these and avoid pointing them out directly, as it may be viewed as shaming and deal significant harm to any progress in the intervention.

From this part of the module, I have learned about the need to define non-target behaviors for future corrections and analysis of the success or failure of an intervention. Moreover, I now understand that the objective constantly needs monitoring in order to make valuable corrections and to adjust contributions from various participants (National Center on Intensive Intervention, 2019b). There are also essential details that need to be put into the definition of a target behavior for all teachers to be able to recognize them (National Center on Intensive Intervention, 2019b). It is possible to achieve greater success in behavioral adjustments when considering these steps throughout the process.


In conclusion, students who show signs of behavioral issues require extensive support that must be provided via an intervention. These measures must be based on a thorough analysis of the situation, including the background of that student, their social standing, academic performance, and any limitations that may hamper the progress of a chosen approach. A concrete definition of a target behavior helps immensely with its resolution.

For this paper, I have used noncommunication as a target behavior that requires replacement. A student who avoids social contact needs help from both students and teachers, as the danger from self-isolation can be detrimental to the future of that person. Although it can be a highly sensitive topic for that student, establishing the need and the proposed measures is essential for efficient action. These parts of the module present many valid points that must be held into consideration throughout all the phases of the process.


National Center on Intensive Intervention. (2019a). Behavior course: Module 6 part 1 [Video]. YouTube. Web.

National Center on Intensive Intervention. (2019b). Behavior course: Module 6 part 2 [Video]. YouTube. Web.

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ChalkyPapers. "The Target Behavior: Selection and Description." September 21, 2022.