Teaching Students With Disabilities
What are the most important skills and requirements for teachers of students with emotional or behavioral disorders?
The Concordia University list of skills includes keeping the rules and guidelines “simple and clear.” That means if a lengthy list of “complicated rules and demands” are made, that will lead to an evitable struggle with difficult students (i.e., students with behavioral and emotional problems). Keep classroom rules very simple and broad, in fact the Concordia University suggestion is that no more than 3 to 5 “main” rules should be enforced in a classroom with these students. Suggestions for those main rules include: a) be on time; b) try your best; c) be polite; and d) respect one another (Concordia University).
Also, Concordia suggests rewarding positive behaviors; certainly there will be moments when discipline is necessary; and in fact many students exhibiting emotional and behavioral disorders (EBD) take discipline “as a personal attack” because they don’t have the sophistication to understand why they are being asked to settle in and follow rules.
But to balance that, teachers should “celebrate the successes” even “more than you reprimand of punish their mistakes”; in time, many EBD students will connect the dots and see that good behaviors lead to rewards and praise. They will in fact see the teacher as an ally rather than an adversary (Concordia University).
Other suggestions for skills and requirements include: a) allowing for mini-breaks (short rest periods should be built into the curriculum throughout the day; let students step away from their desks, stretch, move around and have conversations with their friends and fellow students; they will burn off some excess energy this way); b) be certain to treat all students equally (EBD students react very strongly if they feel there is a situation that is unfair to them — even if it really isn’t truly unfair — if it appears that way it can set them off); and c) there are motivational strategies such as offering incentives for completing their work and praise good work they do “constantly” in order to show them you care and that you appreciate their cooperation and academic effort (Concordia University).
TWO: Why should post school outcomes drive educational programming for secondary students with disabilities?
The National Council on Disability (NCD) reports that notwithstanding a lot of attention that has been paid to the education of youth with disabilities, such as…