Applying a response to intervention model to teacher behavior: Increasing specific, contingent praise with a systemic, multi-tier approach

Date of Completion

January 2008


Education, Special|Education, Teacher Training




The current study documents the application of a response to intervention (RTI) framework to professional development designed to enhance teacher behavior. Within schools implementing schoolwide positive behavior supports (SWPBS), all teachers receive universal (staff-wide) training in teaching and modeling schoolwide expectations, reinforcing appropriate behavior, and increasing the ratio of positive interactions to negative interactions with students. Some teachers who do not respond to the primary tier of training support may benefit from additional training involving a systematic, targeted secondary-tier intervention focused on increasing a desired teacher behavior. This training support should be evidence-based, more intensive, and similar in features across teachers. Teachers whose behaviors do not respond to secondary tier training may require more intensive support (tertiary training tier), consisting of individualized support and increased formative progress monitoring. In this study, a multiple baseline design across teachers was used to investigate the effects of a systematic RTI approach to increasing desired teacher behavior. Specifically, teachers whose rates of specific, contingent praise were nonresponsive to typical SWPBS training (primary intervention tier) were provided with targeted training support (secondary tier), and, when necessary, more individualized assistance (tertiary tier). In addition, composite student behavior was examined to determine if concurrent changes in student problem behaviors occurred as teachers responded to training supports. Study results indicate a strong relationship between an RTI approach to differential levels of performance feedback and teachers' rates of praise. ^