Date
19 January 2020

Identify triggers

When you understand the purpose of a specific behaviour, you can determine how to respond and intervene.

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Antecedents (triggers) in the classroom

Antecedents (triggers) in the classroom

Antecedents can be a specific event, person, or context that happen immediately before a behaviour.

Common examples include:

  • being shouted at by other children or a teacher
  • having a name repeatedly mispronounced
  • insufficient personal space, e.g feeling squashed when lining up or sitting in assembly
  • being told to quickly complete an assignment or work task
  • having an object taken away
  • being told to stop.

Source: Adapted from Antecedent interventions, University of Kansas (opens in a new tab/window)

Barriers to learning as triggers

Barriers to learning as triggers

When barriers to learning have not been identified and removed, they can act as triggers.

Potential trigger

Consequence

Materials and resources are presented in only one way.

Students may not be able to personalise them to match learning preferences and needs.

A teacher speaks from the front (without using visuals for support) for a long time to introduce a task.

Some students will not be able to sustain concentration.

The classroom becomes unexpectedly noisy and there are no quiet areas to work.

Some students may become distracted and agitated with the sensory overload.

Source: Antecedent interventions, University of Kansas (opens in a new tab/window)

Antecedents outside school

Antecedents outside school

Experiences outside school can also act as triggers.
  • Reactivity due to stress at home.
  • Conflict in interpersonal relationships.
  • Lack of sleep or food.
  • Experiences of bullying behaviour via social media.

Source: Antecedent interventions, University of Kansas (opens in a new tab/window)

Next steps

More suggestions for implementing the strategy “Understanding how to respond to problem behaviour”:

Return to the guide “Behaviour and learning”

Guide to Index of the guide: Behaviour and learning

Understand:

Strategies for action:

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