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Road trippin' and mind-trippin'

I spent most of the weekend on the road. I drove with my husband to return a truck he had borrowed to Arkansas. I didn't mind too much since I got to drive my new SUV. I even enjoyed driving! If you knew me in a previous life, you would understand what a revelation that is!

Arkansas was very pretty--the trees are just starting to turn colors, and the trees are actually TREES, not the overgrown bushes we have around here. I love leaving town for a day or so just to clear the palate.

Monday dragged in, and I found myself having a few behavior discussions. Behavior in a classroom is a complicated duet with orchestra between the child, the teacher, and the rest of the class. Sometimes its hard to say what strategies are going to work best and whose behaviour needs changing. I think, though, as the adult, that teachers must change the environment and/or their own behavior. After all, that is all they can control. The child then will react in some way that determines what the consequences will be.

I'm not crazy about getting too mixed up in these discussions because I am not a behavior expert and a child who comes to see me in a small group for 30 minutes at a time is not behaving the same in my classroom as they are in a general classroom. However, I do try to work on the pragmatics, or behavioral aspects of communication. We may discuss social skills or practice turn-taking (actually, we are almost -always- forced to practice turn-taking!).

I am amazed that elementary school teachers are not given more instruction on how to handle children with special needs. I feel sorry for them--they are thrown into the classroom with little idea of what to expect unless they dealt with the same problem during student teaching. I am hoping my behavior specialist is going to have some good ideas for changes we can make in the clasroom so that everyone can be successful.


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 30th, 2002 07:24 pm (UTC)
I agree, there isn't enough training for a teacher of ANY level when it comes to special needs students. In my undergrad training, I was required to take a course called Survey of Exceptionalities, which barely nicked the surface of special needs students. Really, they ought to mandate a year's training for pre-service teachers. I know as an experienced secondary school teacher, I have extremely limited experience working with these types of students, and this year, for the first time, I have a class of students who are mostly special ed... :( I do what I know how to do in order to help them learn, but I know it's probably not enough. :(
Sep. 30th, 2002 08:36 pm (UTC)
I think many of us that work with special needs kids feel they are not doing enough. The progress can be very slow. But they will probably make some progress. The good thing about science is that it can be very hands-on, which is helpful for these kids.

Working with kids from Pre-IB down to special ed must be pretty mind-blowing!
Sep. 30th, 2002 09:28 pm (UTC)
I do have an advantage in that I teach a subject which is GREAT for visual-tactile kids, which a lot of my SpecEd kids are. What I've discovered is that they need just as many activities, if not more than, my Honors students. So we do labs constantly. It's good fun, and they learn, and we all have a good time.

And yep...it's quite different going from one end of the spectrum to the other! At least I have a break in between.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )