Academic journal article The Behavior Analyst Today

Inclusion and Challenging Behaviors: Greek General Educators' Perspectives

Academic journal article The Behavior Analyst Today

Inclusion and Challenging Behaviors: Greek General Educators' Perspectives

Article excerpt

Abstract

Research evidence from several educational systems indicates that students with developmental disabilities who exhibit challenging behaviors are in the bottom of the agenda as candidates for inclusion. The present investigation of the perspectives of 85 Greek teachers in primary education indicates that they are in need of training that it will enable them to deal with the presence of a student with challenging behaviors in their classroom and that it will assist them to overcome their concerns about the impact of inclusion of students with challenging behaviors on their time and emotional well-being, the routine of the class, the peer acceptance and the educational progress of the student with challenging behaviors. The implications for training are briefly discussed.

Key words: inclusion, challenging behaviors, self-management.

In the last decade the trend towards inclusion became vigorous on an international scale (Forlin, 1997; Yuen & Westwood, 2001). The implication of this is that more inexperienced and unprepared general education teachers are coming into contact with challenging behaviors (Hastings, Remington, & Hopper, 1995), which impede the flow of learning in the classroom and require considerable amount of teachers' time, while they have to focus on the achievement of good academic results (Daniels, 1998).

In many instances, inclusion has occurred without an adequate understanding of the implications for the general education teachers (Evans, & Lunt, 2002; Goodfellow, 1990), since the primary focus was on promoting the principles and the ideals related with inclusion (Evans & Lunt, 2002) and not on scrutinizing the teachers' concerns about the presence of students with challenging behaviors in their classrooms.

General teachers' attitudes

It is widely accepted that the success of inclusion schemes depends on teachers' attitudes towards inclusion (e.g. Chow & Winzer, 1992; Hayes & Gunn, 1988; Hastings & Oakford, 2003; Minke, Baer, Deemer, & Griffin, 1996; Olson, Chalmers & Hoover, 1997; Williams & Algozine, 1977; Wood, 1995) and on the sophistication of their skills (Koegel, Harrower, & Koegel, 1999; Rock, Rosenberg & Carran, 1995; Wood, 1995).

Although teachers' attitudes towards inclusion are positive (e.g. European Agency for Development in Special Needs Education, 2001; Evans, & Lunt, 2002; Katz & Mirenda, 2001; Scruggs & Mastropieri, 1996; Yuen & Westwood, 2001) research evidence from Australia (Forlin, 1997), E. U. (European Agency for Development in Special Needs Education, 2001; Evans, & Lunt, 2002), Honk Kong (Yuen & Westwood, 2001) and US (Scruggs & Mastropieri, 1996; Semmel, Abernathy, Butera, & Lesar, 1991) indicates that teachers feel insecure and ill-equipped (1) (Kennedy, Shukla & Fryxell, 1997; Scruggs & Mastropieri, 1996; Shinn, Powell-Smith, Good & Baker, 1997; Smith, 2000; Vaughn, Schumm, Jallard, Slusher, & Saumell, 1996) to cope with the prospect of having a student with challenging behaviors in their own classrooms.

Thus, students with special needs who are less demanding in terms of teachers' time and skills are generally viewed more positively as candidates for inclusion than students with challenging behaviors who are typically rated less positively by samples of teachers (e.g., Avramidis, Bayliss, & Burden, 2000; Evans & Lunt, 2002; Forlin, 1997; Soodak, Podell, & Lehman 1998; Yuen & Westwood, 2001) and student-teachers (Hastings & Oakford, 2003). This is understandable if it is taken into account that general teachers are under pressure for the delivery of good academic results.

Actually, the pressure for good academic results impedes the inclusive attempts because it poses such a strain on teachers' time that it leads to the exclusion of students with challenging behaviors from the inclusive settings. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.