School-Based Positive Behavior Support for Students with Emotional and Behavioral Problems: Implementation and Teachers’ Experiences


  • Aini Mahabbati
  • Edi Purwanta
  • Budi Astuti


inclusive schools; positive behavior support; students’ emotional and behavioral problems; teachers’ experiences


Schools often need to implement the school-based positive behavior support (PBS) framework, especially if the school has students with emotional and behavioral problems. Teacher experiences in PBS provide precious information for the formulation of fidelity and sustainability in PBS. This case study research explored inclusive school-based PBS implementation, challenges, and needs regarding teachers’ experiences. A focus group discussion was used as the data collection method. Eight teachers from five different inclusive schools that provide behavior support programs and who have students with emotional and behavioral problems were involved as participants. Data analysis procedures included open coding with Microsoft Word assistance, and then conducting in-depth analysis on each subtheme identified. Data analysis resulted in four findings. 1) Teachers can identify the behavioral, emotional, and learning behavior problems of students as part of their routine activities. 2) Teachers provide behavior support to students with emotional and behavioral problems in accordance with school policies or, if necessary, based on their own initiatives. 3) Tasks that pose a challenge for teachers include accurately assessing emotional and behavioral problems of students, dealing with severe behavioral problems, and collaborating with colleagues and parents. 4) Teachers need to develop their assessment skills to understand students’ emotional and behavioral problems, come up with behavior support strategies, and collaborate with parents. The research results can serve as both theoretical and practical guidelines for determining how teachers’ skills and school resources align with the successful implementation of PBS.


Allen, K. A., Jamshidi, N., Berger, E., Reupert, A., Wurf, G., & May, F. (2021). Impact of school-based interventions for building school belonging in adolescence: A systematic review. Educational Psychology Review, 34, 229–257.

Anafiah, S., & Andini, D. W. (2018). Pelaksanaan pendidikan inklusi di SD Tumbuh 2 Yogyakarta [Inclusive education implementation in Tumbuh 2 Elementary School in Yogyakarta]. Wacana Akademika: Majalah Ilmiah Kependidikan, 2(1), 73.

Apriani, A.-N., & Ariyani, Y. D. (2017). Implementasi pendidikan nilai nasionalisme dalam pembelajaran living values [The implementation of national value education in living values learning]. LITERASI (Jurnal Ilmu Pendidikan), 8(1), 60?74.

Arora, P. G., Collins, T. A., Dart, E. H., Hernández, S., Fetterman, H., & Doll, B. (2019). Multi-tiered systems of support for school-based mental health: A systematic review of depression interventions. School Mental Health, 11(2), 240–264.

Blair, E. (2015). A reflexive exploration of two qualitative data coding techniques. Journal of Methods and Measurement in the Social Sciences, 6(1), 14–29.

Breeman, L. D., Wubbels, T., van Lier, P. A. C., Verhulst, F. C., Ende, J. van der, Maras, A., Hopman, J. A. B., & Tick, N. T. (2014). Teacher characteristics, social classroom relationships, and children’s social, emotional, and behavioral classroom adjustment in special education. Journal of School Psychology, 53(1), 87–103.

Cho Blair, K. S., Park, E. Y., & Kim, W. H. (2021). A meta-analysis of tier 2 interventions implemented within school-wide positive behavioral interventions and supports. Psychology in the Schools, 58(1), 141–161.

Creswell, J. W., & Creswell, J. D. (2018). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches (5th ed.). Sage.

Crowe, S., Cresswell, K., Robertson, A., Huby, G., Avery, A., & Sheikh, A. (2011). The case study approach. BMC Medical Research Methodology, 11, 100.

Egan, T. E., Wymbs, F. A., Owens, J. S., Evans, S. W., Hustus, C., & Allan, D. M. (2019). Elementary school teachers’ preferences for school-based interventions for students with emotional and behavioral problems. Psychology in the Schools, 56(10), 1633–1653.

Farmer, T. W., McAuliffe Lines, M., & Hamm, J. V. (2011). Revealing the invisible hand: The role of teachers in children’s peer experiences. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 32(5), 247–256.

Finning, K., Ford, T., Moore, D. A., & Ukoumunne, O. C. (2020). Emotional disorder and absence from school: Findings from the 2004 British Child and Adolescent Mental Health Survey. European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 29, 187–198.

Gage, N. A., Whitford, D. K., & Katsiyannis, A. (2018). A review of schoolwide positive behavior interventions and supports as a framework for reducing disciplinary exclusions. Journal of Special Education, 52(3), 1–10.

George, M. P., George, N. L., Kern, L., & Fogt, J. B. (2013). Three-tiered support for students with E/BD: Highlights of the universal tier. Education and Treatment of Children, 36(3), 47–62.

Hapsari, I. I., Iskandarsyah, A., Joefiani, P., & Siregar, J. R. (2020). Teacher and problem in student with ADHD in Indonesia: A case study. The Qualitative Report, 25(11), 4104–4126.

Horner, R. H., & Sugai, G. (2018). Future directions for positive behavior support: A commentary. Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, 20(1), 19–22.

Kartikawati, D., Radjagukguk, D. L., & Sriwartini, Y. (2018). Communication strategies for inculcating multicultural values in inclusive elementary school in Yogyakarta and Bandung. Journal of Education and Social Sciences, 10(3), 22–29.

Kumara, A., Wimbarti, S., Fajar Susetyo, Y., & Kisriyani, A. (2017). The epidemiology of Indonesian children and adolescent school-based mental health: Validation of school-based mental health information system. Universal Journal of Psychology, 5(3), 114–121.

Lane, K. L., Oakes, W. P., Ennis, R. P., & Hirsch, S. E. (2014). Identifying students for secondary and tertiary prevention efforts: How do we determine which students have tier 2 and tier 3 needs? Preventing School Failure, 58(3), 171–182.

Lee, A., & Gage, N. A. (2019). Updating and expanding systematic reviews and meta-analyses on the effects of school-wide positive behavior interventions and supports. Psychology in the Schools, 57(5), 1–22.

Lewis, T. J., Mcintosh, K., Simonsen, B., Mitchell, B. S., & Hatton, H. L. (2017). Schoolwide systems of positive behavior support : Implications for students at risk and with emotional/behavioral disorders. AERA Open, 3(2), 1–11.

Lindstrom Johnson, S., Alfonso, Y. N., Pas, E. T., Debnam, K. J., & Bradshaw, C. P. (2020). Scaling up positive behavioral interventions and supports: Costs and their distribution across state, districts, and schools. School Psychology Review, 49(4), 399–414.

Maggin et al., 2016

Maggin, D. M., Wehby, J. H., Farmer, T. W., & Brooks, D. S. (2016). Intensive Interventions for Students With Emotional and Behavioral Disorders : Issues , Theory , and Future Directions.

Mahabbati, A., Prabawati, W., Syamsi, I., Purwanta, E., & Purwandari, P. (2022). School connectedness, school climate and emotional and behaviour disorders in students: Examining relationships. Cypriot Journal of Educational Sciences, 17(5), 1774–1790.

Marsh, R. J., Higgins, K., Morgan, J., Cumming, T. M., Brown, M., & McCreery, M. (2019). Evaluating school connectedness of students with emotional and behavioral disorders. Children & Schools, 41(3), 153–160.

Mason, S., & Matas, C. (2015). Teacher attrition and retention research in Australia: Towards a new theoretical framework. Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 40(11), 45–66.

Mattison, R. E. (2015). Comparison of students with emotional and/or behavioral disorders as classified by their school districts. Behavioral Disorders, 40(3), 196–209.

Mitchell, B. S., Kern, L., & Conroy, M. A. (2019). Supporting students with emotional or behavioral disorders: State of the field. Behavioral Disorders, 44(2), 70–84.

Nelen, M. J. M., Blonk, A., Scholte, R. H. J., & Denessen, E. (2020). School-wide positive behavior interventions and supports: Fidelity of tier 1 implementation in 117 Dutch schools. Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, 22(3), 156–166.

Ogundele, M. O. (2018). Behavioural and emotional disorders in childhood: A brief overview for paediatricians. World Journal of Clinical Pediatrics, 7(1), 9–26.

Oliver, R. M., Lambert, M. C., & Mason, W. A. (2019). A pilot study for improving classroom systems within schoolwide positive behavior support. Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders, 27(1), 25–36.

Opartkiattikul, W., Arthur-Kelly, M., & Dempsey, I. (2014). From policy to practice supporting students with diverse needs in Thailand: Critical issues and implication. International Journal of Whole Schooling, 11(1), 1–18.

Ose, S. O. (2016). Using Excel and Word to structure qualitative data. Journal of Applied Social Science, 10(2), 147–162.

Prastowo, A. (2017). Manajemen kelas untuk mencegah perundungan verbal di SD Tumbuh 3 Yogyakarta [Classroom management to prevent verbal bullying in Tumbuh 3 Yogyakarta Elementary School]. Quality, 5, 307–332.

Raudeli?nait?, R., & Stepon?nien?, E. (2020). Challenges for primary school teachers in ensuring inclusive education for children with autism spectrum disorders. Pedagogika, 138(2), 209–225.

Saputra, F., Yunibhand, J., & Sukratul, S. (2017). Relationship between personal, maternal, and familial factors with mental health problems in school-aged children in Aceh province, Indonesia. Asian Journal of Psychiatry, 25, 207–212.

Sartono, E. K. E. (2018). Values of social care values through school culture (Phenomenology study at SD Tumbuh I Yogyakarta). Jurnal Pendidikan Sekolah Dasar, 1, 43–50.

Sholikhah, A. M., & Purwanta, E. (2020). Transformational leadership of inclusion principals in SD Negeri Giwangan, Yogyakarta [Conference session]. 3rd International Conference on Learning Innovation and Quality Education (ICLIQE 2019) (pp. 129?137). Atlantis Press.

Sink, C. A. (2016). Incorporating a multi-tiered system of supports into school counselor preparation. The Professional Counsellor, 6(3), 203–219.

Strickland–Cohen, M. K., Kyzar, K. B., & Garza–Fraire, F. M. (2021). School–family partnerships to support positive behavior: Assessing social validity and intervention fidelity. Preventing School Failure: Alternative Education for Children and Youth, 65(4), 362–370.

Sugai, G., & Horner, R. H. (2020). Sustaining and scaling positive behavioral interventions and supports: Implementation drivers, outcomes, and considerations. Exceptional Children, 86(2), 120–136.

Swoszowski, N. C., Jolivette, K., & Fredrick, L. D. (2013). Addressing the social and academic behavior of a student with emotional and behavioral disorders in an alternative setting. Journal of Classroom Interaction, 48(1), 28–36.

Umami, R., & Turnip, S. S. (2019). Emotional and behavioral problems among left-behind children in Indonesia. Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine, 41(3), 240–245.

Vaughn, S. R., & Bos, C. S. (2014). Strategies for teaching students with learning and behavior problems (9th ed.). Pearson.

Weist, M. D., Eber, L., Horner, R., Splett, J., Putnam, R., Barrett, S., Perales, K., Fairchild, A. J., & Hoover, S. (2018). Improving multitiered systems of support for students with “internalizing” emotional/behavioral problems. Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, 20(3), 172–184.

Yang, C., Chan, M. K., & Ma, T. L. (2020). School-wide social emotional learning (SEL) and bullying victimization: Moderating role of school climate in elementary, middle, and high schools. Journal of School Psychology, 82, 49–69.

Yin, R. K. (2018). Case study research and applications: Design and methods (6th ed.). Sage.

Zaheer, I., Maggin, D., McDaniel, S., McIntosh, K., Rodriguez, B. J., & Fogt, J. B. (2019). Implementation of promising practices that support students with emotional and behavioral disorders. Behavioral Disorders, 44(2), 117–128.