Interview with Kevin Dill, Ed.S. on Behavior Coaching
So Kevin, what exactly is Behavior Coaching?
Almost weekly, I'm in schools providing direct one-on-one behavioral coaching and technical assistance to teachers, administrators, and support staff who are teaching and supporting the most challenging students with chronic disruptive behaviors. Coaching is when I come into the school and classrooms and work directly with the teacher(s) providing real-time techniques and strategies - while the students are present.
What behaviors are you typically dealing with when you provide behavior coaching directly in the classroom?
I'm usually called when schools have tried everything and nothing is working to change behaviors. Everyone is frustrated and exhausted! Students are intensely defiant, aggressive, dysregulated, runners, insubordinate, rude, noisy - pretty much name the behavior and they're doing it. The key is to contact me and get me involved before everyone gets frustrated and exhausted.
Does behavior coaching work? Is it effective?
Absolutely it's effective! It's one thing to attend training and learn some strategies, but it's a completely different thing to take those strategies back to the classroom and try to implement them. It's extremely hard and challenging! We all have blind-spots when working with challenging students. We just can't see things because we're just trying to survive to get through one minute at a time in the midst of behavior tactics, traps, meltdowns, etc. These students are not complicated - they are COMPLEX! There are so many variables that come into play - that it's almost impossible to handle and see behavioral improvements with this extreme complexity when doing this alone as a teacher. Especially if you're not a subject matter expert in student behavior. Teachers need more support than ever and behavioral coaching is a very effective approach to providing support to the teacher and eliminating maladaptive behavior.
How does it work - what exactly happens when you go into a classroom to provide the coaching?
I typically start with a phone conference with the educational team so that I can get some background information about the behaviors, what's happening in the environment, what strategies they've tried, etc. It gives me an idea of their insights and pain-points. We then schedule a day for me to visit on-site. I go directly into the classroom(s) to observe the entire environment and then start working with a teacher(s) digging deep into possible maladaptive thinking patterns, functions, tactics, traps, and environmental changes that need to be made or different strategies that need to be implemented. After the on-site coaching visit, we typically have a review meeting via phone or video chat during the following week to assess progress and decide if additional changes need to happen.
How often are you in schools providing this coaching and is the coaching available only on-site at the school?
I'm in schools almost weekly providing direct coaching. Most of the time, schools will invite me to visit on-site multiple times for follow-up coaching. However, I do a lot of coaching via video conferencing and over the phone as well. So, behavior coaching can be done remotely, but it's much more effective when I can do an on-site visit and work directly with the teacher(s) in the classroom. Schools prefer the on-site to the video or phone conferencing. But, I've done coaching multiple ways. Whatever is preferable to the school.
How do schools schedule coaching with you and how far ahead do they need to schedule the visit?
It's pretty simple, they just need to email or call me directly, or call the office and we can start planning. The sooner the better, because my schedule fills up very quickly. However, whenever a school contacts me, I always try to adjust my schedule to get there as soon as possible.