Welcome and purpose of PBL e-professional learning.

About Positive Behaviour for Learning courses

The professional e-learning for Positive Behaviour for Learning (PBL) includes a series of training components undertaken over time. Each component is designed to build the capacity to implement positive learning, wellbeing and behaviour supports relevant to students, school and classroom context across the Care Continuum. Training components include:

  • Introduction to Positive Behaviour for Learning
  • Tier 1 Universal prevention: school-wide systems
  • Tier 1 Classroom systems of support
  • Tier 2 Targeted interventions and supports
  • Tier 3 Intensive individualised supports
  • PBL in the preschool
  • PBL introduction to functional behaviour assessment

This professional learning:

  • is the foundation for all other PBL components
  • provides the research and framework underpinning the whole school approach.


  • design systems that fit their context, focusing on supporting staff to be consistent
  • collect and use data to inform decision-making
  • put preventative, early intervention, targeted and individualised evidence-based teaching and learning practices in place that encourage appropriate behaviour.

The course provides the foundational knowledge and language to build on in the other positive behaviour for learning professional learning.

Information for this course was based on PBIS Missouri and contextualised for NSW Department of Education schools.

Learning intentions

By the end of this course, participants will be able to:

  • understand positive behaviour for learning school-wide systems and practices
  • align to the educational context
  • explain the benefits of positive, proactive and instructional approach to behaviour management.

Defining Positive Behaviour for Learning (PBL)

What is Positive Behaviour for Learning?

Positive Behaviour for Learning (PBL) is an evidence-based, a whole school framework to support the learning and wellbeing needs and outcomes of all students.

Positive behaviour for learning:

  • develops a positive, safe and supportive school climate in which students can learn and develop
  • involves the school community working together
  • empowers student voice through active participation
  • is a evidence and strengths based framework
  • provides a continuum of evidence-based interventions
  • integrates academic and behaviour initiatives
  • decreases reactive behaviour management
  • improves support for all students, particularly those with emotional and behavioural difficulties
  • is for all students, staff and community involved in school activities.

Outcomes for positive behaviour for learning:

  • systems that support teaching, learning and leading
  • learning environments that encourage pro-social behaviour
  • teach all students what’s expected of them
  • continuum of support for all students.

Education context for Positive Behaviour for Learning

Educational context

Positive behaviour for learning is underpinned by many NSW Department of Education policies and procedures.

Alice Springs Education (Mparntwe) Declaration

The Alice Springs Education (Mparntwe) Declaration is Australia’s vision is for a world class education system that encourages and supports every student to be the very best they can be, no matter where live or what kind of learning challenges they may face. Positive behaviour for learning philosophy is embedded throughout this declaration in both goals and it’s commitment to action to achieve the educational goals for all students.

Strategic Plan 2018-2022

The NSW Department of Education’s Strategic Plan 2018-2022 has a vision that every student is known, valued and cared for. In the context of learning and wellbeing this is the goal for schools. It is important to keep students at the centre of decision making and reflect how we support all students including those with additional behaviour, academic and wellbeing needs to feel known, valued and cared for in our schools. ​

  • To be known means individuals individual needs and interests are considered.​
  • To be valued means students are respected, their opinions are valued and recognised​
  • To be cared for means that students are supported in achieving their potential.​

Student Wellbeing Framework

The Student Wellbeing Framework states that NSW schools are learning communities that promote student wellbeing, safety and positive relationships so that students can reach their full potential​. In schools that excel, there is a strategic and planned approach to develop whole school wellbeing processes that support all students so they can connect, succeed, thrive and learn.

School Excellence Framework

The department is committed to achieving school excellence and successful students by positioning wellbeing as an element of the Learning domain in the School Excellence Framework. Essential skills identified in the Alice Springs (Mparntwe) Declaration align with each domain. ​

Behaviour Code for Students

Outlines the standards of behaviour and wellbeing expected in all NSW public schools. The Behaviour Code for Students states we are committed to providing safe, supportive and responsive learning environments for everyone and that we teach and model the behaviours we value in our students. ​

Australian Professional Standards

The Australian Professional Standards guides the professional learning of teachers to facilitate quality teaching practice that improve educational outcomes for all students.​

NSW Syllabus for the Australian Curriculum

The NSW Syllabus for the Australian Curriculum includes the development of skills for Personal and Social Capability so students can learn to understand themselves and others, and as they gain the skills, to manage their relationships, lives, work and learn more effectively. The general capabilities align with essential skills identified in the Alice Springs (Mparntwe) Declaration.​

Disability Strategy

The Disability Strategy documents it’s commitment to providing children and young people with disability, their families and the broader community with an education system that meets their needs. ​

The evidence base for Positive Behaviour for Learning

Evidence base

Research underpins positive behaviour for learning systems and practices.

  • PBIS Missouri underpins positive behaviour for learning in NSW public schools with many resources available that can be adapted to be relevant to our schools.
  • The Centre for Statistics and Evaluation (CESE) within the department continually updates information on behaviour and wellbeing strategies. Behaviour management strategies are most effective when there is commitment for individual teachers within a consistent school-wide approach and proactive wellbeing support for teachers.

Continuum of behaviour, wellbeing and academic support

Continuum of behaviour, wellbeing and academic support

Positive behaviour for learning includes a multi-tiered system of support. Preventative, proactive whole school systems are developed for all students in all settings. Some students will need to access additional targeted groups supports, with a few students needing intensive individualised supports.

Image: Academic and behavioural systems

Tier 1 – Universal prevention

Universal prevention is the most important and powerful aspects of a whole school systems approach. Universal prevention focuses on preventing problems and enabling an environment that supports student learning and wellbeing.

Tier 2 – Targeted interventions

Some students, approximately 10-15 per cent, will respond to Tier 1 supports but will still need some additional targeted support. Tier 2 targeted support is designed to enhance and build upon what has been taught to students at the universal level.

Tier 3 – Intensive, individual interventions

A smaller group of students, approximately 1-5 per cent, may need more individualised and intensive supports, as well as the Tier 1 and Tier 2 supports. In many cases, the problem has become "chronic" as these students have experienced academic and behavioural difficulties over an extended period of time.

Problem solving processes for Positive Behaviour for Learning

Problem solving processes

Focusing on student outcomes, what are the outcomes for the students using this intervention?

Image: Outcomes are facilitated through systems, practices and data.

  • What processes need to be in place for staff?
  • What capabilities need to be developed?

  • What data will you use to intervene early, select interventions and monitor progress?

  • What are the evidence-based practices that will support students?

A crucial part of PBL implementation is the role of the school based PBL team using a problem-solving approach to support student learning and behaviour – systems and practices, with data driving decision making to improve outcomes. These are implemented and prioritised by the school.

The problem-solving process includes school-wide systems:

  • non-classroom settings
  • classroom settings
  • individual students
  • family and community


  • improve school climate
  • decrease reactive management
  • improve support for students with emotional and behavioural difficulties
  • integrate academic and behaviour initiatives
  • maximise academic achievement.

Impact of Positive Behaviour for Learning (PBL)

Impact of Positive Behaviour for Learning

It is important that schools have a common language and experience that is relevant to their context and includes behaviour

Positive behaviour improves:

  • school attendance and punctuality
  • teacher attendance
  • community and parent support
  • self-esteem and decision-making skills
  • academic performance
  • student engagement

and reduces inappropriate behaviour referrals.

Positive Behaviour for Learning (PBL) training

Positive Behaviour for Learning training

There are several courses of positive behaviour for learning training. These provide the framework for developing, implementing, monitoring and reviewing systems and practices across the Care Continuum.

The Introduction to Positive Behaviour for Learning course is the prerequisite course for all Positive Behaviour for Learning e-Learning.

Includes information on what is positive behaviour for learning, educational context and evidence base, teachers enabling change and the continuum of support. Developing a common philosophy and purpose is considered after discussing the impact of problem behaviour, rethinking discipline, the role of motivation in learning.

Tier 1 School-wide is the foundation for all other PBL components. It provides the research and framework underpinning the whole school approach. Schools design systems that fit their context, focusing on supporting staff to be consistent. Participants and school teams learn how to develop, implement, monitor and evaluate leadership systems, define and explicitly teach expected behaviour, respond to appropriate and inappropriate behaviour, and use data to inform decision making. Within this, antibullying, stakeholder engagement and involvement, and sustainability is discussed.

Participants and school teams learn how to integrate school-wide systems and practices contextually within each classroom using environmental, behaviour and instructional management. Fundamental to this is forming positive professional relationships. Participants are taught how to develop, monitor and evaluate classroom expectations, rules and routines, and systems and practices to respond to appropriate and inappropriate behaviour. Participants learn about active supervision, providing opportunities to respond, task difficulty, and activity sequencing and choice.

Focuses on early intervention for students who need additional support. The early intervention strategies aim to reduce problem behaviour before it becomes chronic. Intervention strategies address both academic supports, behavioural and social/ emotional competencies to reengage students in learning. Student identification processes and selecting function-based interventions are discussed. Systems and practices around interventions such as Check in Check out, social skills groups and self-monitoring are provided.

Tier 3 Intensive, Individualised supports focus on early intervention for students with complex and challenging behaviours. The emphasis is on understanding the function of a student’s behaviour and planning teaching and learning strategies that help address this function. The aim is to reduce the occurrences of problem behaviours and teach the student to manage their own behaviour. There is an emphasis on support for specific wellbeing needs and improved engagement in learning. Functional based assessment and student behaviour plans are a focus of this training.

PBL in the preschool is for preschool staff and PBL team members in schools. This course builds understanding of how PBL and the Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) align to support effective practices around guiding children's behaviour. This course supports schools to develop whole school systems around PBL in the preschool.

Other resources to supplement Positive Behaviour for Learning (PBL) knowledge and training

Where to from here

Positive behaviour for learning is a long term commitment and can take a few years to implement. From here:

  • determine needs and competing priorities of school
  • establish or regenerate a positive behaviour for learning team
  • evaluate current school systems and practices using the benchmarks of quality or tiered fidelity inventory. a score of 80% indicates your school is ready for the additional training. sometimes, you may need to retrain in school-wide and classroom systems to strengthen these systems and practices.
  • undertake the training that you and/ or your school identifies as a priority and need.

Further resources and bibliography for this module

Suggested reading and references


Bryk, A.S., & Schneider, B. (2003). Trust in schools: A core resource for school reform. Educational Leadership 60, 40-45​

Cotton, K. (1990). Schoolwide and classroom discipline. Portland, OR: Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory​

Gresham, F.M. (1984). Assessment of Children’s Social Skills. Journal of School Psychology, (19), No 2, pp. 120-33​.

Macquariedictionary.com.au (2020). Discipline. Retrieved from https://www.macquariedictionary.com.au/

Martinez, S., (2001). Obstacles to improved student learning. Unpublished manuscript. Kansas State Department of Education.​

McIntosh, K., Predy, L. K., Upreti, G., Hume, A. E., Turri, M. G., & Mathews, S. (2014). Perceptions of contextual features related to implementation and sustainability of school-wide positive behavior support. Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, 16(1), 31-43

Ryan, R.M., & Deci, E. L. (2000). Intrinsic and extrinsic motivations: classic definitions and new directions. Contemporary educational psychology, 25(1), 54-67.

U.S. Department of Education (2014). Guiding principles: A resource guide for improving school climate and discipline​

Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (n.d). Missouri Schoolwide Positive Behavior Support Tier 1 Team Workbook. Retrieved from https://pbismissouri.org/tier-1-workbook-resources/

Glossary of terms for PBL


The following is a list of terms referenced throughout the Positive Behaviour for Learning (PBL) module.

Behaviour: the way in which a person acts or conducts themselves. All behaviour is a form of communication. 

  • Challenging: behaviours that threaten the safety of others.
  • Complex: behaviours that often have underlying factors impacting how a person behaves, for example, poor mental health. 
  • Of concern: behaviour that causes stress, worry or risk of harm to self or others. 

Continuum of support is instructional and intervention supports ranging from least intensive to highly individualised and intensive based on student need.

Consistency is always behaving or responding to behaviours the same way.

Environment includes physical surroundings and what happens before, during and after a behaviour occurs.

Problem solving process is a student-centred approach where teachers use data to inform decision making about systems and practices to enhance student behavioural, wellbeing and academic outcomes.

Return to top of page Back to top