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Photo of Kathleen Strickland-Cohen and Kathleen Kyzar
Kathleen Strickland-Cohen, left, and Kathleen Kyzar are studying behavior in schoolchildren that is persistent but not yet dangerous. Photo by Robert W. Hart

Parent-Teacher Relationships Can Support Positive Behavior In Students

August 2, 2019

Kathleen Strickland-Cohen and Kathleen Kyzar want to foster partnerships while problem behavior is mild or moderate.

(This article was originally published in the Spring 2019 issue of TCU Magazine.

As families all over the country are planning their final summer vacations, thoughts inevitably turn to the classroom with excitement of the first day of school. At TCU, two education professors are investigating ways to enhance parent-teacher collaboration to support positive behavior in schoolchildren.

Kathleen Kyzar, associate professor of Early Childhood Education, and Kathleen Strickland-Cohen, associate professor of Special Education, have been researching family-professional partnerships within Schoolwide Positive Behavior Interventions and Support, a system of strategies to reduce discipline problems. Some schools using the system have reduced discipline referrals by as much as 60 percent, according to a 2010 study in the Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions.

Yet the system’s framework, Kyzar and Strickland-Cohen said, is almost entirely focused on schools and lacked data about how the parent-teacher relationship supports positive student behavior.

A 2015 study from the Hammill Institute on Disabilities indicated that families of children with problem behavior are at a greater risk of experiencing stress. A 2007 study in the International Journal of Disability, Development and Education showed that parent-professional partnerships could provide much-needed support.

Education has long had procedures for bringing families and educators together when problem behavior is severe, said Kyzar, assistant professor of early childhood education. The two researchers wanted to cover the continuum by fostering partnerships when problem behavior is mild or moderate.

Read more at TCU Magazine.