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The academic and behavioral challenges presented by students with EBD affect the nature of their interactions with their teachers. Aggressive behavior patterns increase the likelihood that children will develop negative relationships with their teachers. Indeed, problematic relationships in kindergarten between students with behavior problems and teachers are associated with academic and behavioral problems through eighth grade. Henricsson and Rydell (2004) report that poor teacher -- student relationships tend to be stable over time and have a negative effect on school adjustment. These problematic relationships with teachers may contribute to the documented low rates of positive teacher attention, such as academic interactions and teacher praise in classrooms for students with EBD. Teacher -- student interactions in classrooms for students with EBD have been described both in terms of negative reinforcement and as reflecting the transactional nature of social interchanges.
Students with and at risk for developing EBD are uniquely influenced by teacher -- student interaction patterns in general education classrooms. General education teachers sometimes believe that their classrooms are inappropriate placements for students with EBD. Yet general education teachers tend to make limited accommodations and/or are resistant to changes in tasks, materials, and teaching formats. In addition, these teachers identified alternative placements to be the most needed modification.
This is important because teacher perceptions of students' academic and behavior skills is a critical classroom variable. Unfortunately, students who fail to meet teacher expectations are at risk for social and academic failure, rejected by their teachers, and perceived as having less ideal student characteristic. It is likely that the challenges presented by students with learning and behavior problems, in both special education and general education classrooms, result in their receiving differential rates of desired teacher instructional variables over time, based in part on the ongoing reciprocal influences of teacher and students on each other.
It seems apparent that there are a number of significant issues creating barriers for students with EDB and more needs to be done in order to create a better understanding for all. I feel inclusion is imperative if these students are to have any chance of becoming successful productive adults in our society.
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