Advanced Classroom Management:

Children as Change Agents


Instructor Name:

Dr. Karen Lea


Mick R. Jackson MS/ED



Office Hours:

8 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST Monday – Friday



Virtual Education Software


23403 E Mission Avenue, Suite 220F


Liberty Lake, WA 99019

Technical Support:



Welcome to Advanced Classroom Management: Children as Change Agents (ACM), a course geared primarily for regular or special educators, instructional assistants, school psychologist, counselors and administrator serving children and adolescents presenting social, emotional and/or behavioral problems in the classroom, school or community setting. The course focuses on cognitive and cognitive-behavioral interventions (often lumped together under the rubric "social skills") with an emphasis on teaching students how to adapt, change and manage their own behavior. ACM will also review various stress reducing techniques that may be taught to students as well as used by participants to reduce his/her own stress. Since previous knowledge and understanding of traditional behavioral (operant) concepts and strategies is required, it is strongly recommended that participants have a reasonable understanding of basic behavior management terms. Without this basic behavior management understanding participants might find some of the advanced concepts difficult to follow and apply.


Course Materials (Online)


Advanced Classroom Management: Children as Change Agents


Mick Jackson MS/ED


Virtual Education Software, inc. 2005, Revised 2010, Revised 2014, Revised 2017, Revised 2020,

Revised 2024


Dr. Karen Lea


Mick Jackson MS/ED


Academic Integrity Statement

The structure and format of most distance-learning courses presume a high level of personal and academic integrity in completion and submission of coursework. Individuals enrolled in a distance-learning course are expected to adhere to the following standards of academic conduct.


Academic Work

Academic work submitted by the individual (such as papers, assignments, reports, tests) shall be the student’s own work or appropriately attributed, in part or in whole, to its correct source. Submission of commercially prepared (or group prepared) materials as if they are one’s own work is unacceptable.


Aiding Honesty in Others

The individual will encourage honesty in others by refraining from providing materials or information to another person with knowledge that these materials or information will be used improperly.


Violations of these academic standards will result in the assignment of a failing grade and subsequent loss of credit for the course.


Level of Application

This course is designed to be an informational course with application to educational settings. The intervention strategies are appropriate for the remediation of challenging behavior in students ranging in age from approximately 6 years through adolescence.


Course Objectives:

·         Know the terminology in the areas of behavior management, self-management and cognitive-behavior modification

·         Know the relative merits and limitations of the behavioral and social-cognitive approaches to behavior management

·         Understand the rationale for teaching students how to self-manage their behavior 

·         Understand the roles that cognitions and emotions play in the development of behavior problems

·         Apply the self-management strategies covered in the course to the behavior problems of their own students

·         Review some of the factors that cause stress in classroom, school and social settings

·         Discuss various methods that may be employed to effective lesson or completely eliminate stress

·         Diagnose behavior problems and assess the efficacy of self-management interventions

·         Increase the probability of students using self-management strategies in and outside of the classroom setting

·         Teach problem solving skills that allow students to better resolve social, emotional, behavioral and academic issues

·         Describe how to modify the classroom learning environment to decrease social, emotional and behavioral problems

·         Learn to adapt instructional strategies to increase the chance of student academic success


Course Description

The Advanced Classroom Management course was developed as an alternative to traditional behavior modification approaches to changing student behavior. Although the course discusses and supports several behavior modification techniques, it goes beyond the boundaries of this approach. ACM teaches a social-cognitive approach to behavioral remediation. It compares and contrasts the two approaches, allowing students to gain a knowledge and understanding of each, but not refuting the use of either approach.


ACM incorporates the use of cognitive restructuring to aid in the modification of student behavior. The course teaches how to assist students in retraining their thinking so they may break old thought patterns that led to many aberrant behaviors. The modification of a student’s thought process allows them to view situations differently, process them differently, and then, be able to react to those situations in a more socially acceptable manner.


This course also teaches how to motivate students to be their own agents of change. It gives teachers useable strategies on how to teach self-motivation skills to classroom students. When students learn these self-motivation techniques, they begin altering behavior and responding to social situations and events more positively without parent or teacher intervention.


This course teaches teachers how to train students to recognize, evaluate, and respond to difficult interpersonal, classroom, school, and social situations with limited outside intervention. When students learn how to retrain their negative thought process and become better problem-solvers, it takes the pressure of remediation off the teacher and places it on the student, where it belongs. When this process is taught and used correctly, it will significantly reduce the number of interpersonal conflicts a teacher needs to deal with during school days and free up more time for academic instruction.


Stress has become a concern for children in primary grades all the way through adult life. The demands of today’s fast-paced society where social media and group e-interactions can dramatically affect our thoughts, beliefs, concerns, and stress level. Students who have not been taught effect stress management techniques can easily find themselves overwhelmed and trying to deal with and relieve stress in unhealthy ways, some of which may place the child or adolescent in danger. The course reviews many situations that can increase stress and a variety of methods to reduce overall stress.


Since this is an advanced classroom management course, it is strongly suggested that students taking this course have some type of formal course training in either behavior modification or classroom management. Classroom experience can be substituted for actual course training, but even experienced teachers should have some background training in classroom management or behavior modification.



Student Expectations       

As a student you will be expected to:

·         Complete all four information sections showing a competent understanding of the material presented in each section.

·         Complete all four section examinations, showing a competent understanding of the material presented.  You must obtain an overall score of 70% or higher, with no individual exam score below 50%, to pass this course.  *Please note: Minimum exam score requirements may vary by college or university; therefore, you should refer to your course addendum to determine what your minimum exam score requirements are.

·         Complete a review of any section on which your examination score was below 50%.

·         Retake any examination, after completing an information review, to increase that examination score to a minimum of 50%, making sure to also be achieving an overall exam score of a minimum 70% (maximum of three attempts). *Please note: Minimum exam score requirements may vary by college or university; therefore, you should refer to your course addendum to determine what your minimum exam score requirements are.

·         Complete a course evaluation form at the end of the course.



Course  Overview

Chapter 1: Introduction & Motivation

Presents a comparison of the behavioral and social-cognitive models of behavior management as they are used in the schools. Special attention is paid to the merits and limitations of each model and a rationale for when each should be used. A detailed description of how each model might be applied to a common behavior problem in the class is provided. This chapter also discusses the concepts of extrinsic and intrinsic motivation, introduces the concept of self-motivation (Self-mo) and provides a detailed explanation of how Self-mo can be used with students in school settings to eliminate and prevent behavior problems.


Chapter 2: Cognitive Strategies

Provides an introduction to cognitive behavior modification (CBM), types of cognitions, and how each influences emotions and behavior. Major focus is on the relationship between irrational thinking and anti-social behavior. Provides a detailed explanation of the CBM strategy, cognitive restructuring, and how it can be applied to the behavior problems of children and youth in school settings. This chapter also covers the CBM strategies: self-instructional training (for destructive impulsivity), verbal mediation (dealing with temptation) and problem-solving. Again, a detailed explanation of each strategy is provided along with its application in the classroom.


Chapter 3: Stress Management Strategies

Provides an introduction to stress and stress management, and the importance of the latter in preventing and dealing with behavior problems in the classroom. Focuses on the role of the CBM strategy, stress inoculation, in the management of anger in children and youth. Effective stress management requires a holistic approach. The somatic-physiological interventions are used to modify stress directly and have a direct effect on the stress response. One stressor that can be eliminated from their daily lives may reduce the total stress they experience. Somatic-physiological stress management strategies produce a direct effect on the body. Begin by training your students in diaphragmatic breathing. By alternately making your muscles tense and relaxed, you learn to recognize the subtle differences between the states, and you also learn to relax all your muscles. Exercise is also an effective stress coping skill. Stress inoculation combines relaxation (somatic-physiological) with cognitive restructuring (cognitive-psychological) and behavioral rehearsal or role-play (social-behavioral).


Chapter 4: Using the Strategies

Includes an explanation of how the teacher might decide which of the strategies covered in this course should be taught to students; both the proactive and reactive approaches are discussed. With regard to the latter approach, a detailed explanation of the Pre-Mod analysis strategy for diagnosing behavior problems is provided. Also included is information about how to teach students self-management strategies so that they are more likely to use them outside of the lesson and the classroom, and how to measure the efficacy of these strategies in preventing and eliminating behavior problems.




At the end of each chapter, you will be expected to complete an examination designed to assess your knowledge. You may take these exams a total of three times. Your last score will save, not the highest score.  After your third attempt, each examination will lock and not allow further access.  Your final grade for the course will be determined by calculating an average score of all exams.  This score will be printed on your final certificate.  As this is a self-paced computerized instruction program, you may review course information as often as necessary. You will not be able to exit any examinations until you have answered all questions. If you try to exit the exam before you complete all questions, your information will be lost. You are expected to complete the entire exam in one sitting.



Facilitator Description

Mick Jackson, MS/ED, is an Intervention Specialist with a Master's Degree in Special Education, Behavioral Theory. Mr. Jackson has 15 years of combined experience in self-contained special education classrooms, resource rooms, and hospital day treatment in K–12 settings. He has developed and overseen mental health and intervention programs and directed staff in four states. Mr. Jackson has worked as a higher education adjunct faculty teaching distance courses in behavioral theory, Attention Deficit Disorder, and reading remediation for the past 21 years. Currently his courses are being offered through distance education programs with over 100 colleges and universities nationwide. He is the current President and Dean of Faculty for Virtual Education Software and has been working on distance course development since 1995. Please contact Professor Jackson if you have course content or examination questions.


Instructor Description

Karen Lea holds a Ph.D. in education. Dr. Lea has 15 years’ experience teaching at the K–12 level and another 14 years’ experience teaching education courses at the undergraduate and post-graduate level. Currently she is a coordinator for a cadre of instructional developers and project manager for aerospace online training. Dr. Lea has been professionally published over  times and15 has served on over a dozen panels and boards, including serving on the NCATE (CAEP) Board of Examiners.


Contacting the Facilitator

You may contact the facilitator by emailing Professor Jackson at or calling him at 509-891-7219 Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. PST. Phone messages will be answered within 24 hours. Phone conferences will be limited to 10 minutes per student, per day, given that this is a self-paced instructional program. Please do not contact the instructor about technical problems, course glitches, or other issues that involve the operation of the course.


Technical Questions

If you have questions or problems related to the operation of this course, please try everything twice. If the problem persists please check our support pages for FAQs and known issues at and also the Help section of your course.


If you need personal assistance then email or call 509-891-7219. When contacting technical support, please know your course version number (it is located at the bottom left side of the Welcome Screen) and your operating system, and be seated in front of the computer at the time of your call.


Minimum Computer Requirements

Please refer to VESi’s website: or contact VESi if you have further questions about the compatibility of your operating system.



Refer to the addendum regarding Grading Criteria, Course Completion Information, Items to be Submitted, and how to submit your completed information. The addendum will also note any additional course assignments that you may be required to complete that are not listed in this syllabus.


Bibliography (Suggested Readings)

Arch, J. J., & Craske, M. G. (2008). Acceptance and commitment therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy for anxiety disorders: Different treatments, similar mechanisms? Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 15, 263–279.–2850.2008.00137.x

Beck, J. S. (2023, October 10). CBT in 2023: Current trends in cognitive behavior therapy. Psychiatric Times. Retrieved April 4, 2024, from

Beck, J. S., & Beck, A. T. (2011). Cognitive Behavior Therapy: Basics and beyond. Guilford Press.

Boan, D. M. (2006). Cognitive-behavior modification and organizational culture. Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research, 58(1), 51–61.–9293.58.1.51

Bond, F. W., Hayes, S. C., Baer, R. A., Carpenter, K. M., Guenole, N., Orcutt, H. K., & Zettle, R. D. (2011). Preliminary psychometric properties of the Acceptance and Action Questionnaire—II: A revised measure of psychological inflexibility and experiential avoidance. Behavior Therapy, 42, 676–688.

Bougea, A., Spantideas, N., & Chrousos, G. P. (2017, November). Stress management for headaches in children and adolescents: A review and practical recommendations for health promotion programs and well-being. Journal of Childhood Health Care, 22(1), 19–33.

Callan, G. L., & Cleary, T. J. (2018). Multidimensional assessment of self-regulated learning with middle school math students. School Psychology Quarterly, 33(1), 103–111.

Carter, J. D., McIntosh, V. V., Jordan, J., Porter, C. J., Frampton, P. M., & Joyce, R. (2013, November). Psychotherapy for depression: A randomized clinical trial comparing schema therapy and cognitive behavior therapy. Journal of Affective Disorders, 151(2), 500–505.

Clark, D. A., & Beck, A. T. (2011). Cognitive therapy of anxiety disorders. Guilford Press.

Cleary, T. J., & Callan, G. L. (2013, October). Student self-regulated learning in an urban high school: Predictive validity and relations between teacher ratings and student self-reports. Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment, 32(4), 295–305.

Clinkenbeard, P. R. (2012, June). Motivation and gifted students: Implications of theory and research. Psychology in Schools.

Corey, G. (2009). Theory and practice of counseling and psychotherapy. Thomson Brooks/Cole.

Cuncic, A. (2023, June 27). How the Premack Principle regulates behavior. Very Well Mind.,theyenjoyisprovidedafterward.

Deacon B. J., Fawzy T. I., Lickel J. J., Wolitzky-Taylor K. B. (2011). Cognitive defusion versus cognitive restructuring in the treatment of negative self-referential thoughts: An investigation of process and outcome. Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy: An International Quarterly, 25(3), 218–228.–8391.25.3.218

de Carvalho, C.F., Gadzella, B.M., Henley, T.B., & Ball, S.E. (2009). Locus of control: Differences among college students’ stress levels. Individual Differences Research, 7(3), 182–187.

De Young K. P., Lavender J. M., Washington L. A., Looby A., & Anderson D. A. (2010). A controlled comparison of the word repeating technique with a word association task. Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, 41, 426–432.

Deangelis, S. F. (2018). Why STEM? Success starts with critical thinking, problem-solving skills. Wired.

Dignath, C., van Ewijk, R., Perels, F., & Fabrix, S. (2023, May 31). Let learners monitor the learning content and their learning behavior! A meta-analysis on the effectiveness of tools to foster monitoring. Meta-Analysis, 35, article 62. Retrieved April 4, 2024, from

Ellis, A. (1962). Reason and emotion in psychotherapy. Lyle Stuart.

Ellis, A., & Joffe Ellis, D. (2011). Rational emotive behavior therapy. American Psychological Association.

Eseadi, C., Anyanwu, J. I., Ogbuabor, S. E., & Ikechukwu-Ilomuanya, A. B. (2016, March). Effects of cognitive restructuring intervention program of rational-emotive behavior therapy on adverse childhood stress in Nigeria. Journal of Rational-Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy, 34(1), 51–72.–015–0229–4

Fraser-Thill, R. (updated 2020, June 9). How a personal fable is defined and why it can lead to risk-taking. Very Well Family. Retrieved April 4, 2024, from

Graesser, A. C., Fiore, S. M., & Greiff, S. (2018, November). Advancing the science of collaborative problem solving. Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 19(2), 59–92.

Gureasko-Moore, S., DuPaul, G. J., & White, G. P. (March 2006). The effects of self- management in general education classrooms on the organizational skills of adolescents with ADHD. Behavior Modification, 30(2), 159–183.

Hallis, L., Cameli, L., Dionne, F., & Knäuper, B. (June 2016). Combining cognitive therapy with acceptance and commitment therapy for depression: A group therapy. Journal of Psychotherapy Integration, 26(2), 186–201.

Hayes, S. C. (2015). Foreword. In N. Hooper & A. Larsson (Eds.), The research journey of acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) (pp. x–xvii). Palgrave Macmillan.

Hayes, S. C., Strosahl, K. D., & Wilson, K. G. (2012). Acceptance and commitment therapy: The process and practice of mindful change (2nd ed.). Guilford Press.

He, R., He, X., Su, Y., Wang, Y., Liang, T., Cui, Z., & Zhang, L. (2023). Effect of ABC theory model on negative emotion of young patients with breast cancer during treatment. Journal of Multidisciplinary Healthcare, 16, 1883–1888.

Healy, H., Barnes-Holmes, Y., Barnes-Holmes, D., Keogh, C., Luciano, C., & Wilson, K. (2010). An experimental test of cognitive defusion exercise: Coping with negative and positive self-statements. Psychological Record, 58(4), 623–640.

Hinton, M. J., & Gaynor, J. T. (2010). Cognitive defusion for psychological distress, dysphoria, and low self-esteem: A randomized technique evaluation trial of vocalizing strategies. International Journal of Behavioral Consultation and Therapy, 6, 164–185.

Hooper, N., & McHugh, L. (2013). Cognitive defusion versus thought distraction in the mitigation of learned helplessness. Psychological Record, 63, 209–218.

Hooper, N., Sandoz, E., Ashton, J., & Clarke, A. (2012). Comparing thought suppression and acceptance as coping techniques for food cravings. Eating Behaviors, 13, 62–64.

Hooper, N., Saunders, J., & McHugh, L. (2010). The derived generalization of thought suppression. Learning & Behavior, 38, 160–168.

IRIS Center. (2008). SOS: Helping students become independent learners. Retrieved April 4, 2024, from

Jackson, M. R. (2019). Behavior is language: Strategies for managing disruptive behavior. Virtual Education Software, inc.

Jeffcoat, T., & Hayes, S. C. (2012). A randomized trial of ACT bibliotherapy on the mental health of K–12 teachers and staff. Behavior Research and Therapy, 50, 571–579.

Kaplan, J. S. (1995). Beyond behavior modification: A cognitive behavioral approach to behavior management in the school. Pro-Ed.

Kazin, A. E., & Blasé, S. L. (2011). Rebooting psychotherapy research and practice to reduce the burden of mental illness. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 6, 21–37.

Kiyimba, N., & O’Reilly, M. (2020, July). The clinical use of Subjective Units of Distress scales (SUDs) in child mental health assessments: a thematic evaluation. Journal of Mental Health, 29(4), 418–423.

Larsson, A., Hooper, N., Osborne, L., Bennett, P., McHugh, L. (2015, December 18). Using brief cognitive restructuring and cognitive defusion techniques to cope with negative thoughts. Behavior Modification, 40(3), 452–482.

Locke, E. A., & Latham, G.P. (2004). What should we do about motivation theory? Six recommendations for the twenty-first century. Academy of Management Review, 29(3), 388–403.

Luo, J., Zhang, B., & Roberts, B. W. (2021). Sensitization or inoculation: Investigating the effects of early adversity on personality traits and stress experiences in adulthood. PloS One, 16(4).

Martin, G., & Pear, J. (2015). Behavior modification: What it is and how to do it (10th ed.). Routledge, Taylor & Francis.

Masuda, A., Feinstein, A. B., Wendell, J. W., & Sheehan, S. T. (2010). Cognitive defusion versus thought distraction: A clinical rationale, training, and experiential exercise in altering psychological impact of negative self-referential thoughts. Behavior Modification, 34, 520–538.

Masuda, A., Twohig, M. P., Stormo, A. R., Feinstein, A. B., Chou Y., & Wendell, J. W. (2010). The effects of cognitive defusion and thought distraction on emotional discomfort and believability of negative self-referential thoughts. Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, 44, 11–17.

McIntosh, V. V., Jordan, J., Porter, C. J., Frampton, P. M., Joyce, R., & Carter, J. D, (June 2016). Psychotherapy for transdiagnostic binge eating: A randomized controlled trial of cognitive-behavioural therapy, appetite-focused cognitive-behavioural therapy, and schema therapy. Psychiatry Research, 240, 412–420.

Meichenbaum, D. (1977). Cognitive-Behavior modification: An integrative approach. Springer.

Meichenbaum, D. (1985). Stress inoculation training. Pergamon Press.

Nigg, J. T. (2009, March 19). Cognitive impairments found with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. Psychiatric Times, 28(6). Retrieved April 4, 2024, from

O’Donohue, W. T., & Fisher, J. E. (Eds.). (2012). Cognitive behavior therapy: Core principles for practice. John Wiley.

Olpin, M., & Hesson, M. (2015). Stress management for life: A research-based experiential approach. Cengage Learning.

Perry, N. S., Chaplo, S. D., & Baucom, K. J. (2017, February). The impact of cumulative minority stress on cognitive behavioral treatment with gender minority individuals: Case study and clinical recommendations. Cognitive and Behavioral Practice, 24(4), 472–483.

Rostami, M., Bakhtiarpour, S., Hafezi, F., & Naderi, F. (2023). Investigating the effectiveness of verbal self-education training on academic procrastination and symptoms of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder in adolescent boys with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. Practice in Clinical Psychology, 11(2), 141–150.

Ruiz, F. J. (2010). A review of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) empirical evidence: Correlational, experimental psychopathology, component and outcome studies. International Journal of Psychology and Psychological Therapy, 10, 125–162.

Senn, T. E., Braksmajer, A., Hutchins, H., & Carey, M. P. (2017, January). Development and refinement of a targeted sexual risk reduction intervention for women with a history of childhood sexual abuse. Cognitive Behavior Practice, 24(4), 496–507.

Shubina, I. (2016, February 5). Counseling and therapy of patients with behavioural disorders using the cognitive-behavioural approach. Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences, 217.

Toussaint, L., Nguyen, Q. A., Roettger, C., Dixon, K., Offenbacher, M., Kohls, N., Hirsch, J., & Sirois, F. (2021, July 2). Effectiveness of progressive muscle relaxation, deep breathing, and guided imagery in promoting psychological and physiological states of relaxation. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2021.

Wolff, J. C., Janasek, B., Michel, B. D., Becker, S. J., & Spirito, A. (2017, February). Concurrent treatment of depression in parents and adolescents: A case example. Cognitive Behavior Practices, 24(1), 14–25.

Wolpe, J. (1969). Subjective Units of Distress Scale (SUDS) [Database record]. APA PsycTests.

Yamashita, T., Smith, T. J., Sahoo, S., & Cummins, P. A. (2022). Motivation to learn by age, education, and literacy skills among working-age adults in the United States. Large-scale Assessments in Education, 10(1), 1008–1018.


Course content is updated every three years. Due to this update timeline, some URL links may no longer be active or may have changed. Please type the title of the organization into the command line of any Internet browser search window and you will be able to find whether the URL link is still active or any new link to the corresponding organization's web home page.


Updated 4/17/24 JN