Academic journal article Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri

Teacher and Student Behaviors in Inclusive Classrooms*

Academic journal article Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri

Teacher and Student Behaviors in Inclusive Classrooms*

Article excerpt

Inclusion can be defined as students with special needs participating in education within the same settings with their non-disabled peers and benefiting from support services as needed (Odom, 2000). Inclusive education is becoming widespread in Turkey and in the world. Although participation of students with special needs in general education classrooms increases day by day, research has found that general education teachers' views towards students with special needs are generally negative (Hines, 2001; Scruggs & Mastropieri, 1996; Uysal, 2004). Teachers stated that students with disabilities had more behavior problems than their peers and that these created more difficulties in maintaining class order, with teachers suggesting that these students should be placed in separate classrooms (Jordan, Schwartz, & McGhie-Richmond, 2009; McClean, 2007; Mitchem & Benyo, 2000). Moreover, students with disabilities required special attention and time for dealing with behavior problems and engaging them in lessons (Daniels, 1998; Niesyn, 2009). However, whether with or without special needs, all students' behaviors are directly related to teachers' behaviors (Greenwood & Carta, 1987) as teachers leading order in the classroom can increase students' success.

Increasing students' engagement in classroom activities is considered to be one of the most effective tools for managing student behaviors (Jordan et al., 2009; Munk & Repp, 1994; Niesyn, 2009). Students' level of engagement in academic activities is an important factor effecting their learning and success. Studies showed a strong relationship between learning and engagement in academic activities (Baker, Clark, Maier, & Viger, 2008; Berliner, 1984; Greenwood, Horton, & Utley, 2002). Therefore, teachers can decrease behavior problems and unproductive time by keeping students busier on class work (Anderson & Brophy, 1979; Emmer & Stough, 2001; Evertson, 1989).

Approval and reinforcement are other tools used in managing students' behaviors. Studies emphasized that teachers need to approve students' behaviors for increasing students' appropriate academic and social behaviors and decrease inappropriate behaviors (Brophy, 2006; Landrum & Kauffman, 2006; Swinson & Harrop, 2001); however, disapproval of students' behaviors should be the last strategy that teachers should manifest (Landrum & Kauffman, 2006). Approval behavior is defined as teachers (a) reinforcing students' appropriate behaviors; (b) praising a student or students after an appropriate behavior; or (c) expressing satisfaction about students' class work, behavior, or performance (Gresham, 1998, 2001; Swinson & Harrop, 2001). Disapproval behavior is defined as teachers reprimanding and criticizing with a verbal or nonverbal response after an inappropriate behavior (Partin, 2010; Swinson & Harrop, 2001). Approval and disapproval behavior can be manifested as verbal or nonverbal behavior or a combination of both (Partin, 2010). Verbal approval behaviors are especially emphasized as effective aspects of successful teaching and decreasing problem behaviors (Ferguson & Houghton, 1992). In fact, teachers' use of more verbal approvals during lessons enable them to spend less time dealing with problem behaviors and, thus, more time for academic work (Brophy, 1983; Chalk & Bizo, 2004). Studies showed that teachers used more disapproval behaviors and little approval behaviors toward students with special needs (Partin, 2010; Sutherland, 2000).

In the literature, several studies examined teachers' behaviors towards students with special needs (McIntosh, Vaughn, Schumm, Haager, & Lee, 1993; Skrtic, 1980). Skrtic (1980) indicated that teachers showed more critical behaviors and less approval behaviors towards students with special needs. In another study, students with special needs communicated with their teachers less than their non-disabled peers did; however, teachers' behavior toward students did not vary depending on whether or not they had special needs (McIntosh et al. …

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