Classroom Management in Inclusive Settings

As inclusive education is becomeing more and more prominent, it is important for us as new teachers to be ready and prepared to reach these students.  I know it will be hard for me to change my traditional view of classroom management, but I will need to do so in order to meet my students’ differing needs.

It is interesting to think about how the term “classroom management” usually has a negative connotation, when effective classroom management should actually be a positive and proactive experience.  I am a strong believer in the importance of “community” within the classroom, fostering a sense of belonging, membership, and acceptance in all students.  But it is not enough just to put all of the children in the same classroom…they must be supported by the teachers, parents, and other school staff.  I really liked the way the article discussed how “some schools actively strive to fister friendships among children.”  It is so important for students to feel accepted and loved not only by their teachers, but also by their peers.  As we learned from the “Peter” documentary from last semester, ALL students can greatly benefit from interacting with students with special needs. 

It is important not to forget the influence of families on a student’s educational experience.  As parents must be given the opportunity to collaborate in decision making, they should also be involved in the everyday experience of the classroom.

My current placement classroom does not include any students with severe disabilities.  We do, however, have students with attention challenges and other focusing needs.  It has been interesting to see how my cooperating teachers has modified her teaching to meet these students needs.  I have realized that teachers don’t always need to develop a formal IEP or personal behavior plan.  Sometimes the modifications are made almost subconsciously.  I think this is a sign of an experienced, involved teacher who wants the best for her students.

I was glad to see that the article touched on supporting positive behavior in all students.  Punishment and expulsion are not necessarily the best techniques for changing behavior in children, and they can actually exclude students from the classroom community.  I firmly believe that positive, preventive interventions are more effective. 

My placement school does not have a school-wide Positive Behavior Support plan in place, but my teacher has just this year changed her classroom behavior policy from a negative to a positive card-flipping strategy.  At first this was a difficult concept for the students to grasp, since it was a drastic change from their experience the prior year.  But the students seem to be responding well to the new policy.

This article definitely helped me to look again at the “big picture” of inclusive classrooms.  As teachers we will have so many decisions to make every day that will impact the lives of our students.  It is crucial that we are well informed of the benefits and drawbacks of various classroom management techniques so that we can make the best decisions for our students.

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5 Comments

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5 responses to “Classroom Management in Inclusive Settings

  1. sydneypender

    I like that you pointed out the quote about parents feeling like they need to spend less time in schools when there is established trust and respect between families, teachers, and schools. I had never really thought about this before either. I think that statement applies to one group of parents, though. The parents who are comfortable in schools, and who are able to advocate for their child’s learning. I think that if these parents are in our schools because they do not trust us, that message could be passed onto their children, which would create a disconnect in the child’s mind between home and school – Who is right, my teacher or my parents?

    I think that there is also a group of parents who may not be trusting of what is going on at school, but who do not come to school because they have negative feelings towards their schooling experiences, and do not feel comfortable in school. Many times, these are the parents of our language learners and children who are of a low socioeconomic class. Ultimately, I think it is our goal to create these positive relationships with all families, so that they all feel welcome, but not NEEDED, in our classrooms.

  2. sydneypender

    sorry katie, the previous comment by me was supposed to be on kristen wendover’s site, i can’t figure out how to delete it though, so just disregard it!

  3. sydneypender

    I like the way your teacher changed something that was previously a negative behavior enforcement system to become a positive one. I can picture kids being confused about this at first, but I bet it works a lot better once they get used to it. My question for you is this, what if a student is really misbehaving one day? Do you just continue to focus on the positives of other students? Does that work? Or maybe your PBS works so well that there are no times when students are really misbehaving? I guess it’s hard for me to think about having a classroom where there are no punishments for kids who are really not doing the right thing.

  4. I especially liked where you pointed out your teacher subconsciously makes adjustments and modifications to meet the needs of your students. I agree that in all situations it is not always necessary for formal IEP or behavior plans. In my own placement we do not have any students with physical or mental disabilities either, and only a few IEPs. However, there are students in my classroom whom teachers in the past have thought and IEP was necessary, though my CT does not. She figures out how to address their behavior problems but in an almost instinctive manner.
    I also liked your point about family involvement and influence. I feel this aspect of the classroom can also not be pushed to the side. We need their support at home in order to make our learning environment at school successful.

  5. kristenwendover

    As you know, we do have some students mainstreamed into my classroom. Unfortunately, there is no set behavior plan for them in our classroom. After an IEP for one of the students last week, I brought this up to my CT. We are working on a positive behavior support for these students, because they too should be rewarded when they are caught being good. In recent days, one of the Special Ed students has been the first to follow directions. He was recognized, but he had not stick to flip as other students do. In my mind, this shows that we need to work harder to make sure all students have pbs, even if they are not the same. Do you have different behavior plans for any of your students with attention disorders?

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