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.