Term Paper: Emotional and Behavioral Disorders

Pages: 10 (2504 words)  ·  Style: APA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 10  ·  Topic: Teaching  ·  Buy This Paper

¶ … country's mental health crisis has a direct impact on schools and the ability for teachers to provide reasonable levels of classroom management and thus provide successful educational opportunities and lessons. A large portion of the modern day classroom consist of students with various emotional and behavioral disorders. To deal with these, a teacher needs to understand how to assess the disorder, have set strategies to deal with these disorders, and have the appropriate teaching materials to successfully implement their strategies. Consider this:

In 2000, over 470,000 school-aged children with emotional and behavioral disorders were provided special education and related services in public schools throughout the United States.

Three to five percent of all children born are born with an emotional disorder. Currently, boys out number girls eight to one when being diagnosed with emotional disorders.

Anxiety and other emotional disorders costs the United States over $46.6 billion annually, which is almost one-third of the country's total mental health bill of $148 billion.

4. Nearly nineteen million Americans suffer from various symptoms of emotional depression every year.

5. In low-income households, the percentage of children between the ages of six and eleven who exhibit high levels of behavioral and emotional problems is between seven and thirteen percent.

Clearly, the impact that students with emotional and behavioral disorders is significant. Therefore, a teacher must be prepared to deal with them.

II. Informal Assessment Tools

The first step in successfully teaching a classroom with students suffering from emotional and behavioral disorders is to determine who these students are and what type of problem behaviors they exhibit. Although an official diagnosis requires a medical and/or psychological assessments, the classroom teacher can easily conduct an informal assessment from which they can base their teaching strategies on.

The basis of a teacher's informal assessment process begins with observations. At the start of the school year, the teacher observes all the students in order to identify personalities, learning strengths and weaknesses, and potential problem areas. As part of this process, the teacher will automatically recognize emotional and behavioral problems. When these observations are made, the teacher should take note as to what the behavior was, who was the student, when it occurred and what the surrounding circumstances were. By doing this process for several weeks, the teacher will begin to notice patterns and therefore be able to identify possible triggers to the problem.

From these initial observations, the teacher can then communicate with other staff members, including former teachers of the students, to get their input as to the observations. From here it will make sense to touch base with the student strategist and then proceed to develop the below mentioned strategies for dealing with emotional and behavioral disorder issues.

III. Teaching Strategies

Because emotional and behavioral disorders encompass a broad spectrum of different disorders and needs, a broad strategic approach to teaching these students is needed. Based on numerous studies on the learning patterns of students with emotional and behavioral disorders, several specific teaching strategies should be implemented as part of the classroom teacher's educational repertoire. Namely, these can be categorized into: routine, responsibilities, consequences, targeted behaviors, grouping, and choices.

Many emotional and behavioral issues arise because of a general lack of routine in all aspects of these students life. Thus, one of the most beneficial steps an educational instructor can take is to establish set classroom routines in which to follow. For example, divide the day's activities into set structures of time that are followed daily. Make use of a visual time clock for the children to monitor the structure themselves. Further, the use of auditory sound cues are often helpful when used with visual cues. The use of these cues, as opposed to telling the students when it is "time to change" helps the students learn time management in an efficient way. Other helpful routine builders include posting a daily schedule in a prominent part of the classroom and referring to it on a regular basis. It is often helpful to begin the day centering the class on the daily schedule so as to limit, if not eliminate, any causes for surprise or disruptions. However, routines take time to establish, often up to eight weeks. Therefore it is important that the classroom routine is clearly established and adhered to from the first day of class.

However, as with anything in life, even classroom structure can be quite unpredictable and changes are a regular part of even the most structured day. It is these unexpected changes to a well-established routine that often trigger emotional and behavioral disorder problems. For this reason, it is important to include lessons on flexibility and dealing with change into the lessons on setting routine. Essentially, the teacher must make change part of the classroom routine. Helpful strategies for the teacher to use in order to limit any negative behavior associated with changes include letting the students know of the change as far in advance as possible. This will allow the student to make the individual adjustments necessary and give the teacher time to take preventative measures against any student anxieties or potential problem behavior. The key to successfully handling changes in the classroom routine is to let the students know of the change as soon as possible. The more time the students have to adjust to the new routine, the less room there is for either emotional or behavioral disruptions.

When organizing the classroom routine, the teacher should consider designating a portion of the day as incentive time. The teacher can discuss with the students what they need to do in order to get this reward or prize at the end of each day.

Another important strategy to use in managing student emotional and behavioral issues is to bring the individual behavior child into a position of responsibility within the classroom structure. All to often students with emotional and behavioral issues remain only that: problem children. Instead of being an active participant in the classroom, they are regulated to the peripheries while the leadership positions and other responsibilities are delegated to the well-behaved children. However, this often leads to feelings of frustration, and even boredom, both triggers to many emotional and behavioral issues.

In order to help prevent these feelings of alienation, a teacher should delegate various responsibilities to the students with emotional and behavioral issues. For example, classroom jobs are the perfect opportunity for a student to step into a responsibility role. In order to ensure that a Classroom Jobs system works properly, the teacher should take steps to ensure that every student has an opportunity to experience every job. This will prevent certain jobs as being seen as "punishments" as opposed to "responsibilities," something that will happen if the typically behavioral students are always given a certain job and the non-behavioral students other jobs. The point is to remove any stigmatisms from the particular job.

One possible system to use in order to efficiently manage a classroom jobs program is to create a chart with each of the students names on it. The chart will also have columns for every available job. At the start of each new school week, the teacher will rotate the jobs. Teachers who use this type of chart often double up the chart's duties and use it to inform students on lining up orders or choosing particular classroom activities. Because students with emotional and behavioral disorders tend to be competitive, even in such mundane procedures as lining up and picking activities, having a set routine and procedure for making these decisions can go a long way in preventing emotional and behavioral disruptions to the classroom.

Along with any taking on of responsibilities is the need for well-established consequences. If a student does not behave as they should, there needs to be standardized, or routine consequences associated with such behavior. Often times the aforementioned responsibilities can be used as a form of consequences to punish inappropriate classroom behavior. For example, if a student misbehaves, their responsibility will be taken away.

It is important that, when making the classroom rules and procedures, the teacher keeps in mind that all consequences must be logical. In other words, the punishment must make sense as to the inappropriate behavior. Without this logic, the student will fail to make the connection between their actions and the intended consequences and the targeted behavior will not be eradicated. To do this, consequences should be seen as negative responsibilities. Thus, when a student breaks something, they have the responsibility to fix it. If a student pushes over a desk, it is their responsibility to pick it back up. Likewise, if a student is running through the halls, it is their responsibility to learn how to walk through the halls correctly. Finally, if a student talks during the teaching of a lesson, that student has the responsibility to make up the work they did not get done in class on their own time. The theme here is consistency with consequences, therefore… [END OF PREVIEW]

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