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The Effects of Behavior Modification in an Inclusion Classroom

by Patti Richards

Practicing behavior modification in an inclusion classroom addresses behavior issues for individual students. Teachers with special-needs students in their classroom hold all students to the same behavioral expectations while individualizing behavior modifications to address specific needs. Inclusion classroom teachers consider the special need child’s ability to comply with expectations and adjust behavior plans accordingly.

Creating a Positive Classroom Environment

Creating a positive classroom environment is the first step in addressing behavioral issues within an inclusion classroom. Special needs students need structure, and having clear expectations, goals and procedures for every student in the classroom can deter behavior problems before they begin. Classroom management plans coincide with any school-wide positive behavior plan and reflect the behavior goals of the entire building. Pearson Higher Education suggests that a classroom environment that is proactive and culturally sensitive can prevent problem behaviors before they occur and help teachers identify and change any environment that is causing or contributing to behavior issues.

Making Environmental Changes

Having an inclusion classroom requires flexibility when it comes to managing student behaviors. Not all special-needs students will respond in the same way to attempted behavior modifications, and being aware of individual needs will help you make the right changes when they are needed. Researchers at the University of North Florida recommend identifying the types of behavior problems that are happening in your classroom, the time of day and the type of circumstances surrounding the unacceptable behaviors. They also recommend providing a place of personal space in your classroom so a student’s environment can be changed quickly, as well as decreasing the amount or changing the placement of stimulating visuals, making sure there are clear walking pathways in your room, addressing acoustic issues and eliminating anything that might be producing background noise. Making these environmental changes prevents problems before they begin.

Assessing the Behavior Needs of Students

Assessing the behavior needs of individual students and planning behavior modification strategies ahead of time can cut down on lost learning time due to behavior problems. Assess student needs in areas like appropriate, interesting curriculum and teaching methods; the student’s ability to understand directions and expectations; how the student’s disability affects his behavior; and what part of the behavior is subject to the teacher’s control or the classroom environment, says Vera Daniels in "Teacher Vision."

Using Behavior Modifications Correctly

Evaluating your own use of behavior modification techniques is an important part of behavior modification in an inclusion classroom. Learning how to implement a behavior program successfully will decrease disruptions caused by inappropriate behaviors. The University of North Florida suggests looking at whether or not you are using behavior modifications correctly, consistently and as they were intended to be used. Make correct modifications if any part of your behavior plan needs changing.

About the Author

Patti Richards has been a writer since 1990. She writes children’s books and articles on parenting, women's health and education. Her credits include San Diego Family Magazine, Metro Parent Magazine, Boys' Quest Magazine and many others. Richards has a Bachelor of Science in English/secondary education from Welch College.

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