Teachers' Guides to Inclusive Practices : Behavioral Support

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9781557663559: Teachers' Guides to Inclusive Practices : Behavioral Support

This short manual addresses ways that teachers, family members, and counselors can guide students' behavior and help them develop appropriate behavioral skills by forming positive relationships, communicating effectively with peers, and taking an active role in school and their communities. Janney (education, Radford U., Virginia) and Snell (education, U. of Virginia) incorporate example forms and specific step-by-step instructions for designing behavioral support plans. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

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About the Author:

Rachel Janney has worked with children and adults with disabilities in a number of capacities, including special education teacher, camp counselor, educational consultant, and researcher. She received her master's degree from Syracuse University and her doctorate from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Dr. Janney now teaches courses in special education, supervises student teachers, and coordinates the undergraduate program in special education at RadfordUniversity. She also serves as Co-director of the Training and Technical Assistance Center (T/TAC) for Professionals Serving Individuals with Disabilities at Radford University. The T/TAC, part of a statewide technical assistance network that is funded by the Virginia Department of Education, provides a variety of services and resources to special education teams in school divisions throughout southwest Virginia.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

An Ecological Orientation to Behavior Problems

Excerpted from Chapter 1 of Teachers' Guides to Inclusive Practices: Behavioral Support, by Rachel Janney, Ph.D., & Martha E. Snell, Ph.D., with invited contributors

Copyright © 2000 Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Anyone who has been a teacher knows that there are always some students who have difficulty following the rules, getting along with others, controlling their emotions, or staying focused on the task at hand. Some students seem to get into trouble on purpose or seem to do things that make it difficult for others to want to spend time with them. Why do some children (and adults) behave in ways that can be so difficult to understand?

The approach to behavior problems that is described in this booklet is based on an ecological theory of behavior problems. According to this theory, behavior problems are not just a reflection of some emotional or mental disturbance that dwells within the person. Instead, the way that someone behaves in a given time and place is a function of the interaction between the person and the situation or environment. Each person brings abilities, wants, motivations, expectations, and a personality to any situation. These attributes have been influenced by many sources, including the values of the individual's family, his or her personal experiences, and his or her cultural norms and traditions. Physical or medical conditions also may affect a person's behavior.

In addition to these personal influences on behavior, the environment - which includes the physical space, the people present, the social atmosphere, the events and activities, and the rules and norms - also affects how a person will act. The environment can elicit as well as inhibit certain types of behavior. For example, most people behave quite differently at a football game than in a library. The atmosphere of a football stadium elicits enthusiastic cheering and conversation, whereas the atmosphere of a library inhibits boisterousness. Because of the personal traits and feelings that each person brings to a situation, some people feel more at ease at a football game, whereas others feel more comfortable in a library. Personal factors, however, can interact differently with the environment at different points in time: A person who typically enjoys football games may leave early rather than remain at a game when she or he gets a migraine headache.

This ecological view of behavior is especially useful for educators because it provides many avenues for helping students with behavior problems. Intervention can focus on the student's social, physical, and emotional well-being; the student's skills and abilities; the student's social and physical environment; or the attitudes and skills of other people. Because the role of educators is to help students grow and develop, intervention typically begins with teachers. It is the responsibility of educators to take the first step. Educators cannot control a student's history or personality, but they can create and control many of the conditions that will help support success and inhibit failure.

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