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Study on category of emotional and behavioural difficulties

Within this essay I will be focusing on the category of emotional and behavioural difficulties. I will be highlighting many key features throughout the essay such as, role of the teachers talking about the pastoral duties and the skills teachers need to be able to cater for the child with an additional need, effects the problem may have on learning for an individual and also the rest of the class, here I will focus on how their additional need may impact the child personally and achievement in school, I will then move on and talk about how a teacher can adapt their lessons to meet the pupil’s needs and finally issues in labelling the students with the additional need.

Hollahan and Kauffman (1994) suggest there are two categorise in placing children with an emotional and behavioural disorder in these are internalising and externalising. They believe that children who tend to be hyperactive, uncooperative, defiance, hostile and cruel are showing externalising behaviours. However pupils who have problems with, social withdrawal, guilt, depression, anxiety and poor peer relations are showing signs of internalising behaviours. By categorising these characteristics you can see that externalising behaviours are a lot more overt and attract most attention, whereas internalising behaviours often go unnoticed as they don’t have the high profile of externalising behaviours.

A teacher’s role in the classroom is vital, they are responsible for providing and developing learning to cater for all children within the classroom. As long suggested in his quote there has been a move away from the simplistic approach of having groups of children separated and it has become a lot more inclusive. “Based on the notion that it is the right of all learners to a quality of education that meets basic learning needs” (www.unesco.org/education accessed on 30 November 2010). Furthermore to this quote the inclusion of all pupils in mainstream classrooms and schools is part of a great worldwide human rights movement, which calls for the full inclusion of every single pupil in all aspects of life. One strategy a teacher may use to do with inclusion is if they have pupils with EBD is to try and nature all children to become friends and build a great rapport with them, by doing this the pupil will become to feel like he/she is part of something and feel a lot more confident in getting involved in working with peers they know well. This may also reduce misbehaviour due to the fact the child may not want to let down the rest of their peers who are now friends etc.

The teacher’s role in spotting the difficulties is crucial. It is important to identify EBD as early as possible so that support can be provided. A pupil with suspected EBD should have their behaviour monitored closely so that experts can assess the pupil’s needs. For example, you could think of a pupil (or group of pupils) and check their behaviour against following typical incidents.

Children with emotional and behavioural difficulties require many different types of pastoral needs. Clebsc and Jackle define pastoral care as “helping acts, done by representative persons, directed toward healing, sustaining, guiding and reconciling of troubled persons whose troubles arise in the context of ultimate meaning and concerns” (Grossoehme, 1999, p3). Children with this disorder may, find it difficult to form friendships, often appear preoccupied and therefore find it difficult to get involved in activities, have difficulty keeping on task and even in some extreme cases have a phobia of school itself. It is the teacher’s responsibility to spot these characteristics and deal with them appropriately. Teachers who have pupils in their class with EBD have many pastoral responsibilities and skills to be able to meet the needs of that specific child. Apart from parents, teachers see the child more than anyone else and could be an important source of description for professionals outside the classroom. The pastoral everyday jobs of all teachers include, promoting and safeguarding the health, wellbeing and safety of pupils, providing advice and direction to pupils on issues related to their education, working in partnership with parents, support staff and other professionals and contributing towards good order and the wider needs of the school. More focused on helping pupils with EBD there are a range of tasks they will need to carry out, these are things like taking an active interest in the behaviour of the pupils, encourage good behaviour and offer them support and also encourage them to increase achievements or even maintain high levels (http://www.snct.org.uk/library/127/Glasgow_LNCT_-_pastoral_care.pdf accessed on 1st December 2010).

However it is the teachers role to also meet these needs, children with EBD do not know how to behave and do not understand how their behaviour affects other children in the class. It is key to show them different ways to behave and to be adamant on good behaviour. Usually unsuitable behaviour has a trigger point. Identifying this can help you to intervene and stop the behaviour occurring. Common trigger points when pupils are working in groups or in classes include such things as:

•moving around the room (to collect material)

•sitting with a particular pupil or group

•not understanding what is wanted from them

•not having support for the task they have been set

•sharing resources.

Equally bad behaviour and good behaviour are learned and you can model the kind of good behaviour that all pupils (and especially those with EBD) need in order to function efficiently in school (http://www.napta.org.uk/art_ebd.html accessed on 1st December 2010).

There are many policies on meeting the special educational needs of children. Such as the SEN Code of Practice which was effective from January 2002 this policy takes account of the Special Educational Needs and Disability Act (2001) and “provides practical advice to Local Authorities, maintained schools, early education settings and others on carrying out their statutory duties to identify, assess and make provision for pupil’s special educational needs. Nevertheless “Removing Barriers to Achievement- the Government’s Strategy for SEN” (2004), is the main policy which focuses on early intervention they outline many strategies which include removing barriers to learning, raising expectations and Achievement and finally delivering Improvements in Partnership. (Reference)

Some emotional and behavioural problems may be temporary and can be dealt with using standard pastoral strategies. But others are so complex that outside professionals need to be involved to help the child cope with daily living and learning. There are many support agencies who work closely with schools to help children with their problems, such as social emotional and behavioural difficulties association and also young minds. “Young Minds is the leading charity committed to improving the emotional wellbeing of children and young people and empowering their parents and cares (http://www.youngminds.org.uk/ accessed on 3 December 2010). They run many campaigns and projects to get the best out of the children who are suffering from emotional difficulties. Also the child may be referred to the Childhood and Adolescent Mental Health Service unit which is usually located at a local hospital. Or you can ask for the child to be seen by the Educational Psychologist or a Pediatrician. The problems may become so severe the child may have to see a Consultant Psychotherapist once a week or more and if it’s causing problems with the whole family then they may see a Family Counsellor every other week.

Unfortunately having EBD may affect a pupil’s development and also educational achievement in schools. Children with EBD are at great risk of under-achievement, educationally and in their personal development. They can also disrupt the education of others. Many problems may occur within the school setting for both the teacher and pupil, they often experience difficulties such as, have difficulty keeping on task, often become tearful or throw tantrums for no apparent reason, have low self-esteem and often become victims of bullies, become bullies themselves, be excessively attention-seeking through either negative behaviour or clinginess and underachieve in many areas of the school curriculum. As you can imagine a child who performs all these characteristics is going to find it hard to learn anything in the classroom and therefore not achieve his/her best. This is what causes not only the child to fall behind but may also have an impact on the rest of the class, for example if a child is persistently being disruptive and naughty at some stage the teacher must intervene and take action, due to this the whole class is going to be disturbed for however long it takes to settle the child down or remove him/her.

As I suggested the child may become a bully this causes additional problems for the teacher and also the other pupils. The UK government defines bullying as “Repetitive, willful or persistent behaviour intended to cause harm, although one-off incidents can in some cases also be defined as bullying.

Intentionally harmful behaviour, carried out by an individual or a group. An imbalance of power leaving the person being feeling defenseless” (House of Commons, Education and Select Committee, 2007: 7-8). This is a major issue for the teacher as the negatives of bullying are enormous it may cause absence, disengagement, drop out physical/mental illness, self harm and will have a negative impact on teaching. This is why it is important for the teacher to intervene as soon as possible, by following the anti bullying policy all schools have. Interventions a teacher may use can be split into two groups institutional and educational, institutional tactics may be things such as better supervision needed, disciplinary action and partnerships e.g. charities, police. On the other hand educational tactics are seen to focus more on classroom work and peer mentoring. This may involve the child pairing up with a well behaved child in class and hopefully learn from this peer how to behave whilst in the classroom. Evidence from the study of promoting health and wellbeing shows that tackling bullying improves behaviour, attendance and academic achievement throughout the school (www.nice.org.uk/niceMedia/documents/promoting_health_wellbeing.pdf accessed 5 December 2010).

There are many different strategies a teacher can use to meet the needs of the child with the additional need depending on whether it is an emotional need or a behavioural problem. For example one strategy a teacher may use if a pupil is constantly misbehaving is to try and encourage the provision of a positive classroom environment, the actual layout of a classroom is also very important for a teacher. As (Kyriacou, 2001, p 74) states the “general appearance of a classroom indicates to the pupils the care that goes into providing them with an environment which is conducive to learning. A clean and well kept room, with appropriate resources of evidence, comfortable, light and well aired, helps establish a positive expectation towards a lesson”. It has a strong effect on students learning, behaviour and what will actually happen inside of the classroom. The discipline plan report by (Elton, 1989) found that there was a connection between the appearance of their schools and the behaviour of their pupils. He recognised that even though there is no evidence that the environment of the school may have an impact on pupil’s behaviour but states “there is a much clearer evidence of link between shabby, untidy classrooms without posters, plants or displays of pupils work and poorer standards of behaviour. Teachers on a day to day basis have to tackle a wide range of misbehaviour from butting out and calling out, not having correct equipment, noisy and late pupils. Discipline is one of the most stressful aspects of a teachers demanding role, they need good planning and skill along with a personality. Teachers identify good classroom control and management (32%), as one of the most important qualities that a teacher should have” (Atici, 2007 p15).

A teacher’s personality and teaching styles have a massive impact on a child with EBD. Good teacher- student relationship is based on mutual respect (Petty, 2004). Teachers must show a genuine interest in each and every one of their students. Knowing their pupils as individuals, which means knowing there names, personalities, interests and who their friends are. This can help as if the teacher knows a pupil well they can maybe adapt the lesson. Also if a teacher is familiar with the child personally and has encountered he/she has a problem they can compromise with the pupil and not put as much pressure on the pupils in terms of getting their work done class and even homework. Teachers can also build a rapport with the pupils by finding out their interest, what they like and what they dislike. By doing this teachers can then put this into practice whilst teaching. Teachers must discipline their students when they are behaving badly as I mentioned earlier on, if a teacher has a positive relationship it will be easier for the student to accept the sanction and to re-establish a working relationship.

Another strategy a teacher may use to combat bad behaviour is the use of rewards and sanctions. Rewards are very powerful tools a teacher can use. All teachers use rewards and sanctions even if they do not like the idea of giving prizes, praise, affection and attention in a rewarding way. It is the most effective way of reinforcing good behaviour and to show the child how pleases you are. The behavioural approach believes that the most important factor in learning behaviour is what happens immediately following that behaviour. Pleasant consequences are more likely to reinforce behaviour and make it more likely to happen again. For teachers, this means it is vital on how they manage the use of rewards (Smith, 1993). The wide-ranging practice of classroom management involves a number of rewards giving to the children on a daily basis. However it is very important especially for a child with a behaviour problem that rewards are refreshed regularly. As (Cowley, 2006) states “ a particular reward might work well with the pupils at first, but then may gradually run out of steam as the children get used to receiving the same reward”. Sanctions are also very important, children need to be aware of the consequences they face when breaking rules. Sanctions may take the form of losing out on break and lunch times, if a child tends to be performing or behaving badly in an unacceptable way, the teacher must apply their authority.

There are many issues a teacher may have to be careful of in categorising and labelling students with an additional need. If a teacher suspects that a child has an additional need they should not just assume and diagnose this child with the disorder. I believe there are several things to do first, the teacher should set up a conference with the parents to explain his/her concerns. If the teacher has evidence that shows the child is not performing at the level they should be, then that evidence should be considered. As I stated earlier, teachers spend more time with children during the school year than parents do, so the teacher should be able to tell fairly easily whether a child is underachieving or not. A child suffering from EBD may gain a label, by having this label may cause unfortunate affects for the childand attracts a wide array of labels, which in themselves can be very harmful to children. As Rutherford et al, 2004 pg 39 suggests “First many children identified as having an EBD do not like there label, Second a label may prompt teachers to adopt lower behaviour and achievement expectations for the labelled child”. If the child becomes aware of this they may start to perform to the lowered expectation the teacher has given them which is known as self fulfilling prophecy. This could reflect on the children and there future positions within society, seeing it has normal and expected to be looked down upon.

The way in educating children with special educational needs has changed drastically over the years, e.g. segregation, integration and inclusion. Firstly the view was that SEN's pupils should be segregated into specialist SEN schools which are specially built facilities to accommodate there additional needs which are accessed by other pupils with a similar additional need. There are many pros and cons for this type of education, as some see this as the best solution due to the pupils having specialised teaching and schools set up for their additional needs however some disagree and argue that pupils learn from their peers so in terms of the additional need of emotional and behavioural difficulties if children are in classes full of other children with similar problems then they will only learn from them whereas if they were in mainstream classes they could pick up good behaviour characteristics from their peers. As the education process moved on integration based schools become more popular. Schools are connected at a single point and share right to use to common facilities such as dining halls. The connection points between schools and the activities that can be accommodated there give a strong impression of the relationship between the two and their approach towards the integration of students. So this approach would have pupils with additional needs being taught in a separate part of the school but then will be involved in assemblies and have dinner the same time as the other children in that school. Finally there is the inclusion view this is where all pupils are educated in the same classes despite of the fact they may have additional needs. This is the view that Long supports and what are common today. Within education there has been an increased stress on inclusion through a number of legislations such as national curriculum (2000), statuary inclusion statement, SENDA and the revised code of practice. Evidence from the DFES (2007) suggests that there is a greater focus on inclusion and that from year to year the number of children with a SEN who are attending a mainstream school is rising. (Hodkinson and Vickerman, 2009)

My findings show that the role of the teacher is vital when it comes to working with children with EBD. They must not only spot the problem the child is creating but also deal with it effectively. This means they have a great responsibility and many skills to ensure they provide the best possible care of the child. A teacher with good skills are able to establish good relationships with their pupils, they have the skill in being able to create a classroom climate which pupils are able to gain popularity without causing trouble. I also found that having EBD not only affects the child’s health and well being but also causes them to underachieve within school because of things such as low expectation and self esteem. Finally I established that labelling children can also have a major effect not only in school but it can also be taking outside of the classroom into later life.

REFERENCES – One complete alphabetical list with no sub-headings

Atici, M (2007). A small- scale study on student teachers perceptions of classroom management and methods for dealing with misbehaviour, Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties, Volume 12, Issue 1 March 2007, pages 15 - 27

Cowley, S (2006). Getting the buggers to behave, London, Continuum International Publishing Group

Elton, L (1989). Discipline in schools, London, Her Majesty’s Stationary Office.

Grossohme, D (1999). The pastoral care of children. New York: The Howarth pastoral press.

Hallahon, D and Kauffman, J (1994). Exceptional children: Introduction to special education. 9th Ed. New York: Pearson Education.

Hodkinson, A and Vickerman, P (2009). Key issues in special educational needs. London: SAGE publications.

House of Commons, Education and Select Committee, 2007: 7-8.

Kyriacou, C (2001). Essential teaching skills, Cheltenham, Stanley Thorne’s Publishers

Long, M (2000). The psychology of education. Oxon: Routledge farmer.

Petty, G (2004). Teaching today, Cheltenham, Nelson Thorne’s ltd

Rutherford, R, Quinn, M and Mothur, S (2004). Handbook of research in emotional and behavioural disorders. New York: The Guilford press.

Smith, C and Laslett, R (1993). Effective Classroom Management, London, Routledge

Woolfolk, A, Hughes, M and Walkup, V (2007). Psychology in education. Essex: Pearson Education.

http://www.napta.org.uk/art_ebd.html

www.nice.org.uk/niceMedia/documents/promoting_health_wellbeing.pdf

http://www.snct.org.uk/library/127/Glasgow_LNCT_-_pastoral_care.pdf

www.unesco.org/education

http://www.youngminds.org.uk/

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