Discipline in a Classroom with EBD Children

Manila Bulletin, February 21, 2010 | Go to article overview

Discipline in a Classroom with EBD Children


Question: I came across your articles in the web and I would like to seek help from you. I am teaching in one of the private schools here in Baguio. Our school admits regular students and also children with special needs. One of the problems of these teachers of children with special needs is discipline. Since students with special needs are mainstreamed with the regular students, how can teachers impose discipline particularly children with EBD (emotional/ behavioral disorder). I wanted to be prepared in case I would handle children with special needs. – Cherry Ann MalecdanTeacher Genevieve says: Thank you for your question Teacher Cherry Ann! It is heart-warming to know that there are teachers like you who are taking the initiative to help children with special needs who are found in the regular classrooms.I have met many teachers with discouraging attitudes towards children with emotional and behavioral disorders (EBD), wrongly labeling these students as “hopeless,” “criminals-to-be,” and “good-for-nothing” or will “amount-to-nothing” individuals. Yes, they are a handful to handle in the regular classroom with 35 or more other students, but it is possible to get the best out of them while modeling respect for diversity, patience, and a sincere desire to reach out to every child regardless of individual differences.DISCIPLINE for ALLThe United Nation’s Salamanca Statement and Framework for Action on Inclusive Education (1994) states that “regular schools adopting inclusion effectively combat discriminatory attitudes. These become the training ground for a people-oriented society that respects both the differences and the dignity of all human beings.”Children with EBDs pose a challenge to traditional ways of enforcing classroom discipline. Even for seasoned teachers, they soon find out that time-tested methods of managing their students fail with the presence of a child with EBD in their classroom. However, with the right attitude and belief in every child’s potential to learn and become, teachers can turn out to be one of the best advocates for the child with special needs, in the process creating a classroom climate that fosters collaboration and unity in spite of differences in students’ strengths and limitations. It is important to understand that for any disciplining strategy to work, it has to apply to ALL children in the classroom and not just the child with EBD.• RULES. The first step in systematically managing classroom behavior is to agree on a set of simply-stated rules that have corresponding consequences when broken. The classroom rules have to be posted in a visible part of the room for all to see. Such visual reminder is more effective than a hundred verbal reminders that are bound to make the teacher lose her patience with repetitive requests falling on seemingly deaf ears.At the start of the day, it would help if the class would run through the posted classroom rules to make expectations clear and set the stage for optimal learning with disruptions kept at a minimum. …

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