Effective classroom teaching strategies for emotionally disturbed children

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Effective classroom teaching strategies for emotionally disturbed children Powered By Docstoc                                  Dissertation Writing Service

    What are the most effective classroom teaching strategies

                 for emotionally disturbed children?

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       A. Research Interest

       B. Topic research

       C. Research Issue

       D. Research question

       E. Research problem

       F. Data Sources

       G. Literature Review

       H. Method for collecting observables or data

       I. Analysis

       J. Recommendations/ Action Plan

       K. Bibliography

       Description. This is a research proposal which offers a research on the

       topic of education of emotionally disturbed children. We briefly outlined

       the main sections of our proposal and suggested the main research

       question, issue, and problem as well as data of the future research paper.

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     The problem of education of emotionally disturbed children is very urgent and

important. It’s of great significance even for most experienced teachers, who often feel

appalled and confused because of the behavior of the students with emotional disturbances.

Teachers can feel frustrated when they realize that the classroom is beyond their control.

     School psychologists believe that tantrums, defiance, aggression, poor academic

progress, poor social skills and passive noncompliance of requests (such as putting heads

down on desks) can present a challenge for any teacher /Dr. Andrea Ogonosky, School


     But it doesn’t mean that these children are hopeless and good-for-nothing. Teachers

CAN have success with children who have emotional disturbances. For this, they should

receive support from co-workers as well as constantly implement behavioral strategies and

classroom management techniques. Our research project aims to find out the most effective

techniques for managing such students and to provide support for teachers educating them.

     1. The Interest of our project is emotionally disturbed children. So first of all we should

briefly overview the notion of the emotionally disturbed children.

     Having analyzed the literature we can conclude that there exist many terms for

description of the emotional, behavioral or mental disorders. Students having such disorders

are categorized as having an emotional disturbance. The definition of the Individuals with

Disabilities Education Act is as follows:

     “...a condition exhibiting one or more of the following characteristics over a long period

of time and to a marked degree that adversely affects a child’s educational performance –

     (A) A student is unable to learn and this inability is independent of intellectual, sensory,

or health factors.

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     (B) A student is not able to socialize and maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships

with peers and teachers.

     (C) Even under normal circumstances such students can behave or feel inappropriately.

     (D) Such children often feel unhappy or depressed.

     (E) These children are predisposed to develop physical symptoms or fears associated

with personal or school problems.” /U.S. FEDERAL REGISTER, 42, August 23, 1977, pp.


     As defined by the IDEA, emotional disturbance includes schizophrenia but does not

apply to children who are socially maladjusted, unless it is determined that they have an

emotional disturbance /Code of Federal Regulation, Title 34, Section 300.7(c)(4)(ii)/.

     Rhodes and Tracy in “A Study of Child Variance” (1974) proposed several conceptual

models, which will help to specify emotional and behavioral disorders. By means of

biophysical, psychoanalytical, behavioral, sociological, and ecological models they

represented different theoretical views on the nature and main causes of such behavioral


     If to have a closer look at the causes of such emotional disturbance we can conclude that

they have not been adequately determined and sufficiently studied. This presents one more

aspect of the interest in our investigation.

     Some research on emotionally disturbed children maintains that the possible causes of

the disturbance are heredity, brain disorder, diet, stress, and family functioning. But in fact

none of them proves any of these factors to cause emotional problems directly.

     Children who have emotional disturbances often exhibit the following characteristics.

They may be rather hyperactive, which is characterized by short attention span and great

impulsiveness. Children with emotional disturbances are often aggressive and behave fierce

and truculent. They are predisposed to the self-injurious behavior, which results in acting out

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or fighting. These children are often withdrawn from their immediate social environment.

They usually fail to initiate interaction with others, retreat from exchanges of social

interaction and experience excessive fear or anxiety.

     Children with emotionally disturbances often display their immaturity, which reveals

itself in inappropriate crying, temper tantrums, or poor coping skills. Finally, such children

experience learning difficulties and academically perform below grade level.

     In many cases, children with the most serious emotional disturbances may exhibit

distorted thinking, excessive anxiety, bizarre motor acts, and abnormal mood swings. Some

are even identified as children who have a severe psychosis or schizophrenia. Even those

children who do not have emotional disturbances may display some of these behaviors from

time to time during their development.

     The other question that arises is how many children are emotionally disturbed? In our

research we will investigate this problem closer, but even a brief overview of the problem

shows the difference between the real number of such children and their number as estimated

by teachers.

     Teachers usually say that over 10%-20% of their students are emotionally disturbed, but

in fact, according to a conservative approach, the number of such children is no more than

2%-3% of the school-age population /Zabel, 2006/ . The other problem to investigate is why

only one-half of those children acquire special education services.

     2. The topic of our research is timely and urgent. We focus our attention on the education

of emotionally disturbed children. The results of it may be further implemented in actual

process of education.

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     It’s obvious that teaching strategies applied to emotionally disturbed children should be

rather different from that applied to ordinary ones. Such children must be regarded as special

one and treated carefully and tactfully.

     The main difference should be that the educational programs for emotional disturbed

children must be focused on emotional and behavioral health of a child as well as on

mastering the subjects. Teachers should teach such child how to behave in the society and

help a student to develop self-control and self-esteem.

     Lately there appeared a considerable number of researches, focusing primarily on

methods of providing children with positive behavioral support (PBS) in the school. Due to

such methods, all problem behaviors are reduced to a minimum and positive ones are


     For students with emotional disturbance there should be developed an Individualized

Education Program, which will take into consideration necessary strategies and include

psychological or counseling services. The latter should be provided by a qualified social

worker, psychologist, or other qualified personnel.

     3. The issue of our research is teaching strategies in general and teaching strategies

applied to the education of the emotionally disturbed children in particular. We will make a

brief overview of the most popular teaching strategies and than proceed to that one, which

seems to be the most effective in our case.

      It’s quite natural that educational program should be adjusted to the needs of students

with emotional disorders. An educational team consisting of representatives of different

disciplines as well as parents, must work out such a program, which would meet the

individual emotional and academic needs of students with emotional disturbance.

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      The individual approach must be applied to each student. For some students it will be

enough to receive supportive treatments given within the frame of regular programs. But the

other students will not benefit from this and need to be placed at least for a short time in

special classrooms, schools, or institutional programs.

       We will make a closer look at such special institutions and programs in the course of

the research paper. We will focus our attention on special programs attempting to create

special “therapeutic milieu”. The latter is identified as a special environment intended to give

students a feeling of success. Here all rules and routines can be predicted. Students, who

behave in a proper way, are consistently rewarded.

       Teachers of emotionally disturbed children should include in their work special

behavior management techniques. The assessment and systematic teaching of social skills

through modeling, discussion, and rehearsal are frequently used to help students increase

control over their behavior and improve their relations with others. In addition, supportive

therapies involving music, art, exercise, and relaxation techniques, as well as affective

education, individual, and group counseling are sometimes employed to improve self-

understanding, self-esteem, and self-control.

     4. The main research question, which we are going to solve in research paper, is the

following: What are the most effective classroom teaching strategies for emotionally

disturbed children? We will try to look through possible strategies and than chose the most

acceptable one and adjust it to education of the emotionally disturbed children.

     5. In the course of the research paper we will naturally face some problems. It may be

difficult to study emotionally disturbed children. Besides the problem of teaching strategy, we

may also find it difficult to study children’s behavior immediately in their school

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environment. It’s difficult to get access to children because researchers need the parent’s

permission to study them.

     Teachers must also give assistance not only to children but to their families as well.

Children’s parents usually need help to realize the causes and characteristic features of their

children’s condition and to learn to treat them in the right way.

     Such assistance can also be provided by psychiatrists, psychologists or other mental

health professionals. This coordination between the home, school, and therapeutic community

will provide better results and prove more effective in educating children with emotional


     6. The data for our research paper are obtained from schools, parents, counselors, and

teachers. Of particular interest are data obtained from teachers of emotionally disturbed

children with at least five years or more of experience, male and female teachers.

     7. In our research we will overview the later works by psychologists, pedagogues.

Literature Review will include the works by native and foreign psychologists and

pedagogues. These will include the books, newspaper articles, results of previous researches.

They will help us to work out our individual teaching strategy and to give necessary

explanation and support to out data.

      We read through a bulk of literature, devoted to education of emotionally disturbed

children. Within the stock of this literature we can differentiate the works devoted to

psychological side of the disturbance. This can be either professional theoretical researches,

aimed especially for psychologists to give psychological assistance to emotionally disturbant

children ( Miller, Wilen).

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      This can also be works intended to give support to parents of emotionally disturbed

children and helping them to manage their children (Jordan, Koplewicz). Still the other

researches view the problem of children with emotionally disturbance with regard to juvenile


      This problem has been viewed from the beginning of the 19th century. Thus, House of

Refuge, the first institution for juvenile delinquent in the USA, was founded in New York in

1825, in Boston in 1826 and in Philadelphia in 1828.

      Since then the problem of emotionally disturbance of children was in the focus of

attention of educators and psychologists. In 1866 there appeared the first serious study of

emotional and brain disorders. It was “Idiocy and Its Treatment by the Physiological Method”

by Edward Seguin.

      But it should be noticed that at that time there was no strict differentiation between

emotional and behavioral disorders. We can see that the interest in children’s psychology in

particular was very urgent and instant. If we have a closer look at the works of Leo Kanner,

we can see that Child Psychiatry, published in 1935, and later in 1943 he described the

phenomenon of early infantile autism.

      Little by little there appeared the woks interested not only in psychological side of the

problem, but also aimed to give assistance and some pieces of advice for teachers educating

emotionally disturbed children. The first book that described classroom teaching methods of

disturbed children, was “A Class for Disturbed Children” by Leonard Kornberg (1955). In

1960 there appeared the book “The Disturbed Child” by Pearl Berkowitz and Esther

Rothman, which described permissive psychological educational approach.

      We can view the results of the research conducted by William Cruickshank and

published in his book “A Teaching Method for Brain-Injured and Hyperactive Children”. In

this book he reported the results of an educational program in Montgomery County,

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Maryland. “Educating Emotionally Disturbed Children” by Norris Haring and Lakin Phillips

describes the results of a structured program conducted in Arlington.

      In 1968 there appeared a book by Hewett “The Emotionally Disturbed Child in the

Classroom” which supplied educators with useful recommendations made on the results of

investigation in an engineered classroom in Santa Monica, California. Some time later

William Rhodes started his work at the “Conceptual Project in Emotional Disturbance”, in

which he made an attempt to give a comprehensive summary of all existing theory, research,

and intervention.

      Rhodes and Tracy in their “A Study of Child Variance” differentiated between several

conceptual models, prescribed to understand emotional and behavioral disorders of a child.

Biophysical, sociological, behavioral, psychoanalytical, and ecological conceptual models

present different theoretical perspectives and results in behavioral deviance.

      In the existing literature we can differentiate some general types of disordered behavior.

For example, Achenbach proposes two patterns called “externalizers” (to which aggressive,

behavior and acting out belongs) and “internalizers” (to which anxious, depressed behavior


      Quay makes differentiation between the following types of disorders: Conduct

Disorders (with aggression, irritability); Personality Disorders (with anxiety, physical

complaints; Immaturity (with passivity, poor coping); and Socialized Delinquency implying

the involvement in gang subcultures).

      The most recent researches include studies of emotional disorders from the viewpoint

of psychology: “Treating children with serious emotional disturbances in schools and

community: The intensive mental health program” by Roberts, M. C., Jacobs, A. K., Puddy,

R. W., Nyre, J. E., Vernberg, and “Structural Equation Modeling: Stressful Life Events,

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Coping Styles and Emotional Disorder of Junior Middle Student Students” by Shi-jie, J., Guo-

an, Y.”.

      The other are focused on teaching strategies with regard to psychological factors of

emotional disturbance: “Innovative Treatment for Children With Serious Emotional

Disturbance: Preliminary Outcomes for a School-Based Intensive Mental Health Program”by

Vernberg, E. M., Jacobs, A. K., Nyre, J. E., Puddy, R. W., and “Handbook of special and

remedial education: Research and practice” by Wang, Margaret C.

     Still the other are interested mainly in the problem of emotional disturbance and aimed to

draw pedagogical implications how to manage this children in the classroom: research made

by Forness, S. R. “Parting reflections on education of children with emotional or behavioral

disorders”, by Griffin-Shirley, N., Almon, P., Kelley, P. “ Visually impaired personnel

preparation program: A collaborative distance education model”, by Marlowe, M., Disney,

G., Wilson, K. J. “Classroom management of children with emotional and behavioral

disorders: A storied model: Torey Hayden’s “One Child” and the article by Oyinlade, A.,

Gellhaus, M., Darboe, K. “Behavioral qualities for effective leadership in schools for students

who are visually impaired: A national study”.

      Although we have analyzed great many works by different researchers, but in our

bibliography we included only the most recent researches.

     8. In the process of investigation we will analyze the literary works. We will also collect

some empirical data, which will help us to understand peculiarities of behavior of children

with emotional disturbance. For collecting data will can use the following methods.

     First of all one of the most important methods used for research is a type of qualitative

method, e.i. observation. This is best of all done in the classroom during the natural

conversation between teacher and students.

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      But these data are rather difficult to analyze and that’s why we may use such methods

as surveys or interviews. These methods may be applied to students themselves, to teachers,

school psychologists and counselors.

     We can also apply some elements of the quantitative methods in order to find out the

most prototypical deviances, most typical teaching strategies and establish whether this or that

teaching method is more effective.

     9. As we already mentioned we will use the following methods: elements of the

quantitative method, observation, survey, and interview. We will analyze the observed data

with regard to the posed research question. We will seek to support theories proposed by

distinguished pedagogues, and psychologist.

     10.      Recommendations/ Action Plan. The results of our research paper can be

applied to teaching methods used in school. The results are also applicable to the families and

may be of great use to parents, for whom rearing up of children with emotional disturbance

presents a big problem. The results of the investigation can be used in further works

concerning education of emotionally disturbed children. The data may be taken into account

by school psychologists and school administration, who are able to create environment

necessary for promotion of development of emotionally disturbed children.

     11.      Bibliography

   1. Altshuler, K. Z., Frieda Spady (1978). The Emotionally Disturbed Deaf Child: A First

       Program of Research and Therapy. Journal of Communication Disorders.

   2. Dimigen, G., Roy, A. W. N., Horn, J., Swan, M. (2001). Integration of visually

       impaired students into mainstream education: Two case studies. Journal of Visual

       Impairment & Blindness.

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   3. Dote-Kwan, J., Chen, D. (1995). Learners with visual impairment and blindness. New

      York, NY, US: Elsevier Science.

   4. Forness, S. R. (2003). Parting reflections on education of children with emotional or

      behavioral disorders, Behavioral Disorders.

   5. Griffin-Shirley, N., Almon, P., Kelley, P. (2002). Visually impaired personnel

      preparation program: A collaborative distance education model. Journal of Visual

      Impairment & Blindness.

   6. Greenberg, M. T. and Carol A. Kusche. (1998) Promoting Social and Emotional

      Development in Deaf Children. The PATHS Project.

   7. Jensema, C., Trybus R. J. (1975). Reported Emotional/Behavioral Problems Among

      Hearing Impaired Children in Special Education Programs. Hearing Rehabilitation


   8. Lennan, R. K. (1970).      Report on a Program for emotionally Disturbed Boys.

      American Annals of the Deaf.

   9. Marlowe, M., Disney, G., Wilson, K. J. (2004). Classroom management of children

      with emotional and behavioral disorders: A storied model: Torey Hayden's One Child.

      Emotional & Behavioural Difficulties.

   10. Naiman, D., Jerome D. Scheim, and Larry Stewart. (1973). New Vistas for

      Emotionally Disturbed Deaf Children. American Annals of the Deaf.

   11. Ogonosky, A. Teaching emotionally disturbed students. How to prepare for successful

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   12. Oyinlade, A., Gellhaus, M., Darboe, K. (2003). Behavioral qualities for effective

      leadership in schools for students who are visually impaired: A national study. Journal

      of Visual Impairment & Blindness.

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   13. Patterson, G. R. (2001). Living with children: new methods for parents and teachers

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   14. Paul, N. (1991). Educating Emotionally Disturbed Children and Youth: Theories and

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   15. Rhodes, W. C., and M. L. Tracy. (1974). A Study Of Child Variance (3 vols.). Ann

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   16. Rizzo, J. R., and R. H. Zabel. (1988). Educating children and adolescents with

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   17. Roberts, M. C., Jacobs, A. K., Puddy, R. W., Nyre, J. E., Vernberg, E. M. (2003).

      Treating children with serious emotional disturbances in schools and community: The

      intensive mental health program. Professional Psychology: Research & Practice.

   18. Shi-jie, J., Guo-an, Y. (2004). Structural Equation Modeling: Stressful Life Events,

      Coping Styles and Emotional Disorder of Junior Middle Student Students. Chinese

      Journal of Clinical Psychology.

   19. Tobin, L. (July 1991). What Do You Do With a Child Like This: Inside the Lives of

      Troubled Children. Whole Person Associates.

   20. Treatment Needs of Emotionally Disturbed Deaf Youths: A California Perspective. By

      Katherine A. Briccetti (1988). American Annals of the Deaf.

   21. Vernberg, E. M., Jacobs, A. K., Nyre, J. E., Puddy, R. W. (2004). Innovative

      Treatment for Children With Serious Emotional Disturbance: Preliminary Outcomes

      for a School-Based Intensive Mental Health Program. Journal of Clinical Child &

      Adolescent Psychology.

   22. Wang, Margaret C. (ED); Reynolds, Maynard C. (ED) (2003). et al. Handbook of

      special and remedial education: Research and practice (2nd ed.). New York, NY, US:

      Elsevier Science.

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   23. Weiner, L. T. (1962). Educating the Emotionally Disturbed Blind Child. International

      Journal for the Education of the Blind.

   24. Zabel,     R.      H.      Emotional      Disturbance.       [Online]:      Available

      from: [17 April]

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