In creating effective classroom management strategies for special education students, it is important to remember that a one size behavioral intervention may not meet the needs of any students operating within the constructive framework of an IEP (Individualized Education Plan).
Each student is unique and different in behavioral needs within the classroom. Interventions that address behavioral issues must be individualized and implemented with specific behavioral outcomes that meet the unique needs of special education students. The student's IEP (Individualized Education Plan) will present diagnostic behavioral concerns and the IEP team members may have shared outcome strategies in the FBA (Functional Behavioral Analysis) or the BIP (Behavioral Intervention Plan) if included in the IEP. However, it is the teacher in the student's classroom who must understand that students with special needs must be addressed individually when creating effective classroom management strategies for the classroom.
Monitor and Adjust
Oftentimes, teachers are asked to monitor and adjust expectations according to the students behavioral or learning disability. Students could have defined learning disabilities which require curriculum and instructional modifications to accommodate the learning needs of the students or they could have physical or emotional disabilities that require a different intervention or adjustment. The following strategies can create effective classroom management goals that are win-win for both teacher and students in the classroom.
The Strategies and Interventions
- In designing effective curriculum and instruction to meet the academic needs of the student, create lessons that scaffold into smaller chunks of learning and instructional access. Students must be able to feel success in learning which translates into more on task behavior and less off task monitoring during the class period.
- Provide collaborative peer pair sharing groups so that special education students feel valued and included in the learning process. Have expectations of constructive contributions within group projects so that all students understand that inclusion equals academic and behavioral accountability.
- Use assistive technology or other learning tools to provide a diversity of educational aids that promote student opportunities to process and practice the learning objectives.
- Monitor and adjust assignment expectations so that students can feel more win-win moments and fewer lose-lose moments when they may have difficulty understanding and producing academic and behavioral outcome.
- Create classroom management plans that are doable with constructive consequences and adjustments for special education students.
- Provide students with graphic organizers or a diversity of learning strategies to process and master learning chunks.
- Create a classroom SIP (Student Intervention Plan) capitalizing on the unique needs of the student using input from the student on behavioral actions and re-directions needed to create academic and behavioral success in the classroom.
By providing special education students with high expectations to self-monitor academic and behavioral performance in the classroom, teachers are providing them with tools to understand and redirect their own behavior in more constructive and proactive ways that say win-win in learning and in life.