Academic journal article International Education Studies

Teacher Trainees' Strategies for Managing the Behaviours of Students with Special Needs

Academic journal article International Education Studies

Teacher Trainees' Strategies for Managing the Behaviours of Students with Special Needs

Article excerpt


This study aimed to determine how a group of teacher trainees handled challenging behaviour by students during teaching practice. A total of 35 teacher trainees from the special education programme of a local university were chosen as respondents. A questionnaire based on a 5-point Likert-type scale was administered in this study. The data were analysed descriptively involving frequencies and percentages, mean scores and standard deviations. The results showed that the most frequent types of challenging behaviours shown by the students were joking and chatting with friends, as well as making noise, while the teacher was teaching. The most frequent action taken by the respondents to prevent the negative behaviours was to immediately reprimand the students and advise them. The respondents reported that the challenges they faced in managing behaviours in the classroom included limited time to manage behaviours, lack of skills and knowledge regarding behaviour management and heavy teaching workloads. The findings of this study imply that future teachers and teacher trainees should be exposed to knowledge and skills regarding behaviour management of students with special needs in real settings before they begin their teaching practice.

Keywords: teacher trainees, challenging behaviour, managing behaviour, special education programme

1. Introduction

A behaviour problem is defined as an action that a student should not demonstrate while in the classroom. These actions if done consistently and continuously over time will bring negative effects on students' learning progress and prevent their social acceptance both in and outside of the classroom. Among the specific characteristics used to describe students with challenging behaviours listed by Zirpoli (2013) are disruptive, non-compliant; impulsive; does not pay attention; or demonstrates hyperactivity, aggression, temper tantrums, stereotypes and depression. Duchame and Adamo (2005) stated that the number of behaviour problems in children with disabilities is higher than in children who are typically developed. In addition, behaviour problems bring enormous challenges to the classroom, especially in terms of behaviour and classroom management.

The main goal of behaviour management in special education class is to increase appropriate behaviour and decrease inappropriate behaviour among students with special needs. The success of teachers in terms of behaviour management is one of the indicators of good classroom management. Thus, the earlier the behaviour management programmes or interventions are started, the more effective they will be in preventing children from directly facing the possibility that their negative behaviour that will affect academic performance. Therefore, it is important that special education teachers develop skills in managing the diversity of negative behaviours among special needs students in the teaching and learning process.

For special education teacher trainees, working with students with special needs who have a variety of individual behaviours is a new experience. Amerrudin (2005) asserted that the requirement to educate students with special needs is not as easy as might be expected and usually requires patience and commitment. Thus, it is important for future teachers to equip themselves with the knowledge and skills related to behaviour management in preparation to face these situations. Knowledge of typical types of behaviours shown by children with special needs, the actions taken and the common challenges faced in managing the behaviour of these students provide preliminary information to teachers about the actual classroom climate.

Ali and Salleh (2008) states that teachers must have specific training to work with students with special needs.

The lack of knowledge and experience in handling students with behaviour problems in the classroom also reduces the effectiveness of the teaching and learning process. …

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