[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Why does one student get argumentative when she doesn’t get her way and another student become withdrawn when he feels hurt?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, P-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.

The use of artificial intelligence is not permitted. Assignment responses found to be generated by AI will not be accepted.

Completing the basic assignments (Section A. Information Acquisition) for this course automatically earns participants their choice of CEUs (Continuing Education Units), Washington State Clock Hours, Oregon PDUs, or Pennsylvania ACT 48 Hours. The Heritage Institute offers CEUs and is an approved provider of Washington State Clock Hours, Oregon PDUs, and Pennsylvania ACT 48 Hours.



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 book on your own, with my prior approval.
The Bibliography is located at the end of the syllabus. 
Text books may be ordered directly from the publisher (see the list/emails at the back of your manual), online, or through bookstores.

None. All reading is online.


A course manual may be downloaded, from the instructor’s website at There is no charge of the manual. Click on classes, from there scroll down the page and click on the orange lettering ‘Manual’ next to the class “Why Children...”. It will download as a PDF. While there is no fee for the manual, you may have to pay to order a book from the bibliography or one of your own choosing. Or, you may borrow one from a friend or check one out at the public library for free.



Assignments done in a course forum will show responses from all educators who have or are taking the course independently. Feel free to read and respond to others' comments. 
Group participants can only view and respond to their group members in the Forum. 

Assignment #1: Read The Manual

Read the entire manual and send a one page summary of what you hope to learn in this class. Everyone taking the class, including in groups, must complete this assignment. Download the current manual from my website.

Assignment #2: Read Your Chosen Book

Read a book from the bibliography or one of student's choice. If taking this course in a group, each person should read a book.  Only one person needs to write a summary. 

Critique the book based on personal experiences and insights.  Write a 2-3 page paper.

Assignment #3: Complete Designated Worksheets.

Complete the following pages:

a)  Many Aspects of Children (pgs. 13-14).  one page summary
b)  Optimist or Pessimist  (p. 24)  one page summary
c)  Function of Behavior (pgs. 30-32)   one page summary

Assignment #4: Erikson’s Eight Stages

RLook over Erikson’s stages on page 12.  Look at your own life and choose one stage to focus on.  How did you or will you negotiate this stage?  Write a 1-2 page summary.

Assignment #5: Read Manual Article.

After reading “Function of Behavior” article-located at end of manual (pgs. 44-46) , write a 2-page summary.  

Assignment #6: Observation.

Observe another classroom/group setting (or observe behavior in a community setting) and discuss the areas of behavior observed and suspected function of various behaviors.  Write a 2-page summary. 

Assignment #7: Share Your Findings.

Discuss areas of this class with another educator.  What function or motivation areas are they most concerned about in their setting?  Write a one page summary.  

Assignment #8: Read Manual Article on Young Kids Acting Out

Read the article titled “Young Kids Acting Out In School” on pages 19-22.  Write a 2 page summary of this article sharing your personal thoughts and perspective.  



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 do not have a classroom available to you, please contact the instructor for course modifications. Assignments done in a course forum will show responses from all educators who have or are taking the course independently. ​Feel free to read and respond to others' comments. Group participants can only view and respond to their group members in the Forum. 


Assignment #9: Intervention Plan.

Choose one behavior observed in Assignment #6 and develop an intervention plan for reducing this behavior. Be sure to integrate ideas from the manual into your paper.  You may want to use the “Teacher Interview” form (p. 42) at the end of this manual as a helpful guideline.  Write a 2-page summary.

Assignment #10: Research and Read 2 Articles.

Go on-line and read 2 articles that focus on acting out behaviors and intervention approaches.  Share your learning with another person.   Summarize your reading and conversation in a 2 page summary.

Assignment #11: Lesson Development.

Assignment #A:

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.


Assignment #B: 

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.

Assignment #12: (500 Level ONLY)

In addition to the 400 level assignments complete one (1) of the following options:

Option A)  Mentor another individual in the concepts of this class. Have them share two or three key concepts that they would like to implement within their work or social setting. Develop a plan for the implementation of these ideas. (2 pages).


Option B)  Create a PowerPoint presentation for your staff based on this course and focused on perspectives or strategies you feel would be beneficial for your school. Minimum of 15 slides.  Save this as a pdf.OR


Option C)  Another assignment of your own design, with instructor prior approval.


Assignment #13: (Required for 400 and 500 level)

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

Write a 400-500 word Integration Paper answering these 5 questions:

  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?


Instructors will comment on each assignment. If you do not hear from the instructor within a few days of posting your assignment, please get in touch with them immediately.


Mike Sedler, M.S.W., D. Min., brings over 40 year of educational experience as a special education director, social worker, behavior specialist and teacher to each of his classes.   He provides consultation and seminars throughout the United States and Canada for schools, agencies and businesses. He has a graduate degree in Social Work, a Doctoral degree in Ministry, a Counseling license, as well as his teaching certification. Mike has worked with children of all ages, specifically with children exhibiting behavioral challenges, mental health concerns, and characteristics of Autism Spectrum Disorder.  In addition, he taught general education classes in the elementary school and middle school arenas.   All of Mikeʼs classes are practical and “field tested” in schools and classrooms. Educators have found success in implementing Mikeʼs clear and concise approaches. All of his course material may be immediately implemented into a school or a home.



You may choose a book from this list or one of your own choosing that is compatible to this course.  Please let the instructor know if you choose a book that is not on this list.

Barron, Laurie, and Kinney, Patti.  We Belong, 50 Strategies to Create Community and Revolutionize Classroom Management, ASCD, 2021,  (Grades P-12).

Bunting, Bryce and Baldwin, Amy.  Promoting Belonging, Growth Mindsets, and Resilience To Foster Student Success.  National Resource Center, 2020.  

Coyne, Peter.  The Unbreakable Mind: Overcoming Anxiety, Stress, and Overthinking.  Independently Published, 2023.  Avoiding obstacles of negative habit patterns. (P-12) 

Guzman, Katherine.  Raising an  Anxious Child.  EnzoBsty Publishing Press, 2021.  Demystifying anxiety in children.  (P-12)  

Hannigan, John.   Behavior Solutions.  Solution Tree Press, 2020.  User friendly approach to RTI to familiarize self with student behaviors and emotions.  (P-12)

Kranowitz, Carol Stock and Miller, Lucy Jane.  The Out of Sync Child.  TarcherPerigee, 2022.  Understanding sensory issues in children  (Preschool -3rd grade)

Lyttle, Cameron.  Address The Behavior.  Independently Published, 2022.  Learn what causes more problems and how to reduce them.  (P-12).

Marzano, Robert and Scott, Darrel.  Motivating and Inspiring Students.  Marzano Research Laboratory, 2016. Strategies to keep students involved in class. (grades P-12).

Plevin, Rob.  Take Control of the Noisy Class.  Life Raft Media Ltd, 2019.  Quick and fast techniques to help educators connect and succeed with students.  (P-12).  

Sharpe, Valerie Saxton and Strosnider, Roberta.  Everyday Executive Function Strategies.  Corwin Press, 2022.  Focuses on 75 executive functioning strategies.  (P-12)