Another essential teaching strategy is the use of targeting specific behaviors. Once a teacher becomes familiar with a student's problem behaviors through daily interaction and observations, the teacher should spend time determining which specific behavior or behaviors need to be attended to. Typically the most disruptive or dangerous behaviors are targeted, as often times these are the causes of other, more minor problems. Next, the teacher should work individually with the student in developing a plan on how they, as a team, plan to replace the undesirable behavior with a more appropriate behavior. For example, if the targeted behavior is inappropriate anger placement, such as when a student throws a desk or other classroom materials when angry, the teacher should have that student work on talking about their anger with an adult or other trusted peer. The goal of these conversations is to learn how to be assertive without being actively aggressive.
Because students with emotional and behavior disorders often have trouble in building relationships with classmates, which is one of the root causes of behavior problems, large groups often are intimidating to such a student and thus a trigger for problem behavior. Often times, because of the group nature of the activity, this problem behavior is disruptive and interfering to the entire classroom learning process. Therefore the use of small groups with mixed emotional, behavioral and general students will create the best learning environment for everyone. Specifically, it will decrease distractions, increase the student-to-teacher ratio and make classroom management more manageable.
However, behavior problems will undoubtedly occur, no matter how well-planned a teacher's strategies are. When a behavior episode occurs, the instructor must have strategies in place in order to handle the situation both safely and appropriately. For example, often times behavior issues arise in front of the entire classroom, as has been previously discussed. The behavioral student's behavior is often a way of getting needed attention. Thus, one of the most effective strategies a teacher can use is to simply remove the motive by removing the audience, either by having the student move away or having the class move somewhere else. A developed procedure should be in place to assist with getting everybody out when needed. This is also important when the student's behavior may place other students' safety at risk.
As part of the teacher's strategy for dealing with behavior problems when they do occur, the teacher should consider designating a particular part of the classroom as a calm spot. This is the place where the student can go to after an incident in order to calm down. For this reason, it should be promoted as a positive, or safe place, as opposed to a punishment or traditional time out. Alternatively, this same calm spot can be used as a place for a student to go on their own in order to calm down and prevent a potential disruption.
Finally, it is important to grant students choices and options when given a task that needs to be completed. For example, a teacher can tell the student that a project needs to be done by the end of the day and then give them the option to do it now or on their own time. This not only gives the student responsibility in their own learning process, it also empowers them.
IV. Teaching Materials
In order to successfully implement the above listed strategies, the classroom teacher will have to have appropriate resources. Of most importance is that of human resources. Because of the multitude of individual personalities that are found in a modern-day classroom, a classroom teacher cannot be left alone and expected to successfully provide both management and learning. For this reason, it is absolutely essential that the teacher is provided with competent support staff.
Support staff in itself must be diverse in order to handle all the unique classroom needs. A the administrative level, there needs to be administrative support and interventions available when a situation cannot be easily handled within the classroom as it disrupts the flow of the entire class. The administration should also have a student strategist who is in charge of coordinating and developing the individual student behavior strategies, a job that often requires the coordination of numerous service providers.
Within the classroom the teacher must have associates, the number depending on the number of behavioral students there are in a particular classroom. The job of the associate is to provide one-on-one attention to the students, along with assisting in secretarial work that will free-up time for the teacher to deal with student issues.
Also within the classroom there needs to be specialist. Both special education cooperating teachers and mental health, behavioral, and other form of specialist. This will ensure that each student's particular needs are met while not taking away from the entire classroom's learning activities.
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