Building capacity in Texas schools for the provision of Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) to all students

  PBIS Tool Highlights

Every month we will highlight a research-based intervention strategy. This month’s intervention strategy is the use of a Physical Proximity

Physical Proximity
Purpose:  Increasing teacher supervision and monitoring of students to increase on-task behavior and prevent undesirable behaviors

Use:  Preventing misbehavior from escalating without interrupting the pace of instruction

Physical proximity, when used correctly, can be an effective preventative strategy for off-task behavior. It works on the principle that students are less likely to act out when an adult is around, similar to the way adults suddenly take their foot off the accelerator when they see a police officer, regardless of their speed. This interveniotn will not work every time and should never be used with a student who is already escalated. Invading space duirng a behavioral outburst can increase the likelihood a student will become more aggressive. 


The main purpose of this intervention is to maintain instruction while handling a classroom disruption. During instruction, the teacher will move around the room, providing direct instruction of the content.  If a student becomes off-task, the teacher can move toward that student briefly. As the student refocuses, the teacher should make brief eye-contact to reinforce the on-task behvior and move away. 


Physical proximity can be a first line of defense for any misbehavior in the classroom. Like any intervention, caution must be used to prevent escalation of the behavior. Sometimes a student may view the closer proximity of the teacher as threatening. In this case, the student may become physically and/or verbally aggressive. Use professional judgement in the use of physical proximity and make considerations to students' background and experiences.  



Mr. Horner teaches seventh-grade science. He likes to use slideshows to provide the bulk of the content for his curriculum and cooperative group activities for guided practice of the content.  Mr. Horner has a wireless remote so he can move around the room without being tied to his desk or media cart.  Three students in his third-period class are diagnosed with ADHD and an emotional disturbance. As he provides the lecture portion of his lesson, Mr. Horner moves around the room.  When a concept is particularly difficult, he moves closer to the students with ADHD. When he sees they are on track, he moves away. His instruction never stops as he moves around the classroom.  During group time, Mr. Horner continues to move around the room, giving nonverbal signals to students when he sees they are on-task, and pays particular attention to those students with learning challenges.  





In the past, some of the materials authored by Region 4/Texas Behavior Support contained the abbreviation PBS to refer to Positive Behavioral Support. This use is in no way related to, endorsed by, or supported by the Public Broadcasting Service. To avoid confusion, Region 4/Texas Behavior Support has begun using the abbreviation PBIS for Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports. The PBS used in past materials and the currently used PBIS may be read interchangeably and without any alteration in meaning.

News & Events

Coming Soon To An ESC Near You!

Integrating Positive and Restorative Approaches to Supporting Student Behavior:

This training will provide an overview of common restorative discipline practices.  Strategies for embedding restorative practices into a multi-tiered system of positive behavior supports will be shared, and considerations for evaluation and roll-out will be discussed. 

For additional information, please contact your ESC. 


Supporting and Responding to Behavior: Evidence-Based Classroom Strategies for Teachers

This recently released technical assistance document from the U.S. Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) outlines evidence-based, positive, proactive, and responsive classroom behavior intervention and support strategies for teachers.


Texas Education Code §28.002

Texas Education Code §28.002 prohibits the adoption and/or use of the Common Core Standards at the state, regional, or local level as a means of complying with essential knowledge and skills and other similar requirements under Chapter 28 of the Texas Education Code (“TEC”).  Independent Contractor agrees that in performing its duties under this Agreement, only standards adopted by the Texas State Board of Education will be used to comply with essential knowledge and skills and other similar requirements under Chapter 28 of the TEC. Independent Contractor agrees to refrain from referencing or using material aligned with the Common Core Standards during the activities of this contract.


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