ERIC Number: EJ867902
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Reference Count: 18
Controls from within the Classroom: Crises or Conversations?
Kerr, Mary Margaret; Valenti, Michael W.
Reclaiming Children and Youth, v17 n4 p30-34 2009
In sharp contrast to the specialized therapeutic environments Redl and Wineman describe in "Controls from Within," today's students with emotional and behavioral disorders usually find themselves in general education classrooms. Sadly, many general educators are not prepared for such challenging students. All too often, their interactions lead to classroom crises and educational "eviction notices." Already academically stalled, students spend too many hours in the school office, detention, in-school suspension, or out of school altogether. Children of color are especially vulnerable to these sentences that suspend their education. Students are not the only ones pushed out of the classroom. Negative interactions also contribute to their teachers' distress and subsequent departures from the classroom. Recent studies have shown that many teachers leave the field because of their inability to handle behavior problems. Thousands of discipline referrals over the years present a regrettable pattern that helps to explain why students (and even some of their teachers) leave the classroom. Teachers may observe a relatively minor behavior and react in a manner that escalates the situation. While the initial misbehavior does not disrupt the classroom environment and would not warrant a trip to the office, the subsequent argument does lead to a referral, lost instructional time, and punishment. In many instances, teachers resort to multiple warnings and threats. Not surprisingly, these communications escalate into power struggles and even physical altercations. If general educators could exert more controls over their communications, they might avoid classroom combat. Respectful conversations between teachers and students clearly reduce the number of physical confrontations, as evidenced by the school safety literature. This article presents four empirically validated strategies that can serve as a great starting block for general educators faced with difficult behaviors in the classroom. (Contains 1 table.)
Descriptors: Special Needs Students, Behavior Disorders, Emotional Disturbances, Classroom Environment, Teacher Student Relationship, Power Structure, Change Strategies, Conflict Resolution, Behavior Modification
Reclaiming Children and Youth. PO Box 57 104 N Main Street, Lennox, SD 57039. Tel: 605-647-2532; Fax: 605-647-5212; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Web site: http://www.reclaiming.com
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A