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Teaching and Learning: Positive Behaviour Supports

Course Code: CCSD 2350
Faculty: Child, Family & Community Studies
Credits: 3.0
Semester: Flexible delivery ranging over 2 to 15 weeks
Learning Format: Lecture
Typically Offered: Fall
course overview

In this advanced course, students will apply principles of teaching and learning to support people whose actions challenge us. The emphasis will be on communication and responding to individuals in context.

Course Content

The following global ideas guide the design and delivery of this course:

  1. Behaviour is a form of communication.  A person’s actions serve functions for that individual.
  2. A single behaviour can fulfill many needs.  Different behaviours may meet the same need.  Why individuals act in a given manner may change from moment to moment.
  3. Individuals are complex human beings who have unique personal histories and circumstances.  Effective practitioners must look at the context and conditions when considering an individual’s actions.
  4. The presence of a “challenging behaviour” can be a signal that the individual feels that they are not valued by others, that they have no choices or control and may feel that they do not “belong”
  5. The more capable an individual is perceived, the more their unusual actions may be tolerated.
  6. Effective practitioners need well developed listening and observation skills.  These skills develop through practice and over time and are building blocks of effective practice.
  7. Problems don’t necessarily reside within an individual.  Solutions may involve changes to situations and systems.  Support should be person-centred, meeting individuals’ needs.
  8. Practitioners need to practice ways of taking care of themselves in order to be effective and able to support others.
  9. Using positive approaches with individuals who may have “challenging behaviours” empowers both the individual being supported and the practitioners.

Methods of Instruction

  • Lecture
  • Small Group Work
  • Practice
  • Video
  • Guest Speaker

Means of Assessment

This course will conform to Douglas College policy regarding the number and weighting of evaluations.

  • Summary Profile
  • Plan Development
  • Product Development and Analysis
  • Self and Peer Assessments

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Analyze complex nature of individuals’ behaviour, considering context, history & possible multiple meanings of single behaviour
    • Recognizes behaviour as a powerful form of communication
    • Uses context to understand purpose of behaviour e.g. health issues, social situation, emotional well-being
  2. Apply principles underlying positive behaviour support strategies
    • Considers whole person when supporting individual
    • Facilitates communication, connections and choice as essential elements for everyone
    • Considers influence of historical trends and person’s own history
    • Applies observation, recording, information gathering skills when developing plan
    • Enhances wellness of individual, self and others
  3. Practice clear communication skills verbally, written, & non-verbally in assessing, planning, implementing and revising positive behaviour support strategies/adaptations
    • Listens to individual communication including their actions, interaction and reactions
    • Collaborates with others (e.g. individual, team members, families, etc.) to make considered thoughtful support decisions
    • Monitors, supports and enhances team unity and effectiveness
    • Uses a variety of environmental, preventative, teaching, and consequence support strategies (e.g. instructional control, social skill instruction, changes to the antecedent, development of Social StoriesTM, functional communication training, and positive reinforcement)

curriculum guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester/year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

course schedule and availability
course transferability

Below shows how this course and its credits transfer within the BC transfer system. 

A course is considered university-transferable (UT) if it transfers to at least one of the five research universities in British Columbia: University of British Columbia; University of British Columbia-Okanagan; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; and the University of Northern British Columbia.

For more information on transfer visit the BC Transfer Guide and BCCAT websites.


If your course prerequisites indicate that you need an assessment, please see our Assessment page for more information.