[semester equivalent = 4.00 credits]



Michael Sedler



Why does one student get argumentative when she doesn’t get her way and another student become withdrawn when he feels hurt? What does it mean when a child makes negative comments about assignments, students or adults? While many behaviors may seem random and without justification, there is actual purpose behind them? This course will explore some of the things that underlie behavior and help educators to understand the “function of behavior” within students.

Participants will learn ways to increase productive motivation, reduce power struggles, and encourage more positive relationships between students.  We will explore the behavior continuum and evaluate various stages of behavior, and then examine some developmental approaches and specific interventions to support behavior change.

Each participant will analyze specific behaviors within his or her own setting and develop strategies for teaching alternative skills (or replacement skills) to students. We will also explore some of the less effective responses adults often elect to address specific student behaviors and suggest strategies that will be more supportive to positive behavioral changes in the classroom.

This course is appropriate for all grades, K-12 teachers, para-educators, counselors, administrators, and other support personnel.

LEARNING OUTCOMES: Upon completion of this course, participants will have:

  1. Identified various components of behavior as they relate to underlying causes and motivations for behavior.
  2. Analyzed the function of select behaviors and developed positive behavior programming for students.
  3. Utilized various interventions to address a variety of mal-adaptive behaviors that interfere with learning in the classroom.
  4. Recognized areas of underachievement that are often masked by aggressive behaviors.
  5. Written effective plans for students that coordinate academic learning and social skills acquisition.
  6. Recognized behavior characteristics and related them to motivation and behavior for individual students.

Completion of all specified assignments is required for issuance of hours or credit.  The Heritage Institute does not award partial credit. 


Completing the basic assignments (Section A. Information Acquisition) for this course automatically earns participant’s their choice of CEUs (Continuing Education Units), or Washington State Clock Hours or Oregon PDUs. The Heritage Institute offers CEUs and is an approved provider of Washington State Clock Hours and Oregon PDUs.



Continuing Education Quarter credits are awarded by Antioch University Seattle (AUS). AUS requires 75% or better for credit at the 400 level and 85% or better to issue credit at the 500 level. These criteria refer both to the amount and quality of work submitted.

  1. Completion of Information Acquisition assignments 30%
  2. Completion of Learning Application assignments 40%
  3. Completion of Integration Paper assignment 30%


CREDIT/NO CREDIT (No Letter Grades or Numeric Equivalents on Transcripts)
Antioch University Seattle (AUS) Continuing Education Quarter credit is offered on a Credit/No Credit basis; neither letter grades nor numeric equivalents are on a transcript. 400 level credit is equal to a "C" or better, 500 level credit is equal to a "B" or better. This information is on the back of the transcript.

AUS Continuing Education quarter credits may or may not be accepted into degree programs. Prior to registering determine with your district personnel, department head or state education office the acceptability of these credits for your purpose.



You may choose a book from the Bibliography or select a relevant work on your own.

The Bibliography is located at the end of the syllabus.

Text books may be ordered directly from the publisher (see the list/phone numbers at the back of your manual), on-line, or through bookstores.

None. All reading is online.


A course manual may be downloaded, from the instructor’s website at without charge, once you have registered for this course. Click on classes, from there scroll down the page and click on the orange lettering ‘Manual’ next to the class “Why Children Act Out”. On the next page, click again on the class “Why Children Act Out.” It will download as a PDF.



Assignment #1: Introductory Page.

Fill out the introductory page, fully answering all the questions. 
Send to instructor:  Subject line to read ‘Why Children Act Out #1.’

Assignment #2: Read the Manual.

Read the entire manual for this course.  If taking this course in a group, each person should read the manual.

Assignment #3: Complete Worksheets.

Complete all the worksheets in the manual.  They are designated with a “Send To Instructor” in bold letters. 
You may scan them or postal mail them.

Send to instructor:  Subject line to read ‘Why Children Act Out #3.’

Assignment #4: Read a Book.

Read a book from the Bibliography at end of manual or a book of your own choosing with prior approval of the instructor.

Write a two (2) page summary.  If taking this course in a group, each person must read a book.  Only one person needs to write a summary.

Send to instructor:  Subject line to read ‘Why Children Act Out #4.’

Assignment #5: Read an Article.

After reading the “Function of Behavior Article” found at the end of the manual, write a two (2) page summary.
Send to instructor:  Subject line to read ‘Why Children Act Out #5.’

Assignment #6: Observation.

Observe another classroom/group setting (or observe behavior in a community setting) and indicate the areas of behavior observed. Include an assessment of the suspected function of each behavior in a two (2) page summary.

Send to instructor:  Subject line to read ‘Why Children Act Out #6.’

Assignment #7: Share Your Findings.

Orally share your findings from your observation with another educator and get feedback on your function assumptions from the educator.



In this section you will apply your learning to your professional situation.  This course assumes that most participants are classroom teachers who have access to students.  If you are not teaching in a classroom, please contact the instructor for course modifications.  If you are a classroom teacher and start or need to complete this course during the summer, please try to apply your ideas when possible with youth from your neighborhood, at a local public library or parks department facility,  (they will often be glad to sponsor community-based learning), or with students in another teacher’s summer classroom in session.

Assignment #8: Intervention Plan.

Choose one behavior observed in Assignment #6 and develop an intervention plan for reducing the impact of this behavior. Write a 2-3 page summary.
Send to instructor:  Subject line to read  ‘Why Children Act Out #8.’

Assignment #9: Read 2 Articles.

Go on-line and read two (2) articles that focus on acting out behaviors and intervention approaches.
Share your learning with another person and summarize your reading and conversation in a 2-3 page paper.
Send to instructor:  Subject line to read ‘Why Children Act Out #9.’

Assignment #10: Lesson Development.

Assignment #10:  You must choose either “A” or “B”  (Required for 400 and 500 Level)

Assignment #A: (SEND commentary to Instructor)

  • Develop a lesson to reflect what you’ve learned in this course.
  • Implement your lesson with students in your classroom.
  • Write a 2 page commentary on what worked well and what could be improved.
  • Include any student feedback on your lesson.

(The following is encouraged but not required):


Assignment #B:  (SEND lesson and summary to Instructor) 

  • Use this option if you do not have a classroom available.
  • Develop a lesson to reflect what you’ve learned in this course. (Do not implement it.)
  • Write a 2 page summary concerning any noteworthy success you’ve had as a teacher with one or more students.

(The following is encouraged but not required):

Please refer to the guidelines on our blog prior to writing your article.

Please email a copy to Yvonne Hall ( THI blog curator and media specialist. 

Indicate whether or not you are OK with having your article considered for publishing on our website. 

Subject line to read: (Course Name, Blog)

Send to Instructor:   Subject line to read ‘Why Children Act Out’ #10 (A or B.) 

Assignment #11: (500 Level ONLY)

In addition to the 400 level assignments, complete one (1) of the following assignment options:
Option A)  Choose another book from the bibliography and write a 2-3 page summary.
Send to instructor:  Subject line to read ‘Why Children Act Out #12-A.’
Option B)   Create a PowerPoint presentation for your staff, based on this course that focuses on perspectives or strategies you feel would be beneficial for your school. Save this as a PDF.
Send to instructor:  Subject line to read ‘Why Children Act Out #12-B.’
Option C)   Another assignment of your own design with the instructor’s prior approval.
Send to instructor:  Subject line to read ‘Why Children Act Out #12-C.’


Assignment #12: (Required for 400 and 500 Level)

(Please do not write this paper until you've completed all of your other assignments)

  1. What did you learn vs. what you expected to learn from this course?
  2. What aspects of the course were most helpful and why?
  3. What further knowledge and skills in this general area do you feel you need?
  4. How, when and where will you use what you have learned?
  5. How and with what other school or community members might you share what you learned?

Send to your instructor at their email address. Subject line to read  "(put course name here) Integration Paper"


Please indicate by email to the instructor if you would like to receive comments on your assignments.


Mike Sedler, D.Min., M.S.W. brings over 30 years of educational experience as an administrator, social worker, behavior specialist and teacher to each of his classes.  

He provides consultation services and seminars throughout the United States and Canada for schools, agencies and businesses.  He has been teaching “adult learning classes” since the mid 1980’s and has had the privilege of working for The Heritage Institute for over 25 years. 

He has a graduate degree in Social Work, a Doctoral degree in Ministry, a Counseling license, as well as his teaching certification (K-8).  His combination of classroom experience, behavior intervention approaches, and involvement in working with hundreds of families allows for an excellent blend in all his classes.

Mike is passionate about children and emphasizes the importance of avoiding power struggles, offering options/choices to children, setting clear boundaries and guidelines as well as finding a place of positive engagement and connection with each individual.  His heart for people and emphasis on positive communication are found throughout his seminars and classes.

All of Mike’s classes are practical and “field tested” in schools and classrooms. Educators have found ongoing success in implementing Mike’s clear and concise approaches.



  • Marzano, Robert and Scott, Darrel.  Motivating and Inspiring Students.  Marzano Research Laboratory, 2016. Strategies to keep students involved in class (grades P-12.).  888 849 0851.
  • Baker, Jed.  No More Meltdowns.  Future Horizons, 2008. 
    A basic book to assist educators and parents when working with children with special needs (grades P-6.)  800 489 0727.
  • Chandler, Lynette,  Dahlquist, Carol.  Functional Assessment: Strategies to Prevent and Remediate Challenging Behaviors in School Settings.  Pearson Publishing, 2014. 
  • A practical book giving guidelines and interventions for behaviors (grades P-12.) 800 922 0579.
  • Fritz, Mike.  Great Student Leaders Aren’t Born, They Are Made.  Mike Fritz Publications, 2013.  Inspiring thoughts to encourage students toward reaching their goals with clear, organized approaches (grades 5-12.)   269  370 2858.
  • Greene, Ross.  The Explosive Child.  Boys Town Press, 2014. 
    Ideas for understanding and working with inflexible children and explosive situations
    (K-8.)  800 282 6657.
  • Jensen, Eric.  Super Teaching.  Corwin Press, 2009. 
    Empower students with proven strategies for brain-friendly instruction (grades P-12.)  800 233 9936. 
  • MacKenzie, Robert.  Setting Limits in the Classroom.  Three Rivers Press, 2010. 
    Support for developing rules and boundaries (grades K-12.)   212  782 9000.
  • McGuey, Gary.  The Inspirational Teacher. Routledge Press, 2013. 
    Quotes, poems and activities for providing step-by-step guidance in building relationships  (P-12.)   800 634 7064.
  • Pickering, Debra, Marzano, Robert.  The Highly Engaged Classroom. Bloomington, IN.  Marzano Research Laboratory, 2010 (grades K-12.)   888 849 0851.
  • Whitaker, Beth.  Motivating and Inspiring Teachers.  Routledge Press, 2008. 
    Filled with strategies to motivate staff and increase energy  (P-12.)   800 634 7064.
  • Wolfgang, Charles.  Solving Discipline and Classroom Management Problems.  Wiley Press, 2008. 
    A general guide for specific ideas in presenting rules and guidelines to students (grades P-12.)   877-762-2974.