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Introduction

Classroom Presentation!
Joe Harrison!
Ivy Tech Community College!

Project Overview

This presentation describes the climate, culture and
classroom of an learning community designed to
optimize success in academics, instill virtues and remain
an inclusive and accessible to students with
exceptionalities. Classroom management and
instructional instructional approaches used to attain
these ideal learning communities will also be described
as well as some common types of exceptionality seen
in elementary school-aged children.

The hypothetical classroom consists of twenty-eight students in a thirty-eight by twenty-five
foot classroom with one teacher. The classroom has a project table, technology station,
group-work table and a library. Students know where materials for daily work (worksheets,
reading and writing prompts) are stored and are given a limited amount of autonomy to
work in regard to when they complete their daily work. Some students have regular study
peers others prefer to work alone or in a larger group

Daily, the teacher spends time with students in groups and individually for informal
assessments and specialized instruction, and maintains three rules: show respect for the
learning environment and those in it, work hard and make good choices. In addition to these
rules, procedures for transitions, addressing the teacher or the class, and how instruction and
class discussion are conducted is demonstrated to students. Repeated failure to comply with
rules and procedures results in temporary loss of autonomy.

Desk Arrangement and Seating



Desks are arranged in a concentric U-shape with a gap to allow movement and create
more locations that have only one neighbor . The U-shape encourages interaction in the
instruction area and provides teachers with a central point of observation. Research done
by Marx, Furher and Hartig (2008) shows semicircular desk arrangements are more likely
to stimulate question asking and discussion than rows. This shape focuses students
attention on the instruction area and provides locations with varying degrees of access and
visibility. Access in this case refers to a student s access to the teacher, the teacher s
access to the student, or the student s access to their classmates. Visibility refers to line of
sight or ease of observation between teacher and student.

The chart to the right shows a
suggested distribution of students,
based on behavioral tendencies, into
four categories:



low access/low visibility

low access/high visibility

high access/low visibility

high access/high visibility



Seats in the diagram on the following
slide correspond to these colors

Classroom Space

Learning Disabilities

Exceptionalities

Good language skills preclude many aspects of learning and often students with learning disorders struggle with reading
comprehension and writing. Because of this, special consideration must be made when administering tests to students with
learning disabilities. Extended time may be given during testing in order for students to be accurately assessed (Hallahan et
al., 2015). In doing so, those students who are slow readers and capable of demonstrating content knowledge are allowed to
have their learning recognized. Many students with learning disabilities do not have adequate reading skills for content
knowledge to be evaluated by means of a written test, and may require a teacher to deliver assessments orally (Hallahan et
al., 2015). By this, the validity of the assessment is ensured and the student s learning can be recognized.



In addition to accommodation, instructional strategies such as reciprocal teaching and scaffolded instruction would be
employed to show students what learning processes might look like and how they can happen (Hallahan et al., 2015). These
strategies put students in the midst of learning and draw specific focus on the behaviors and processes that learners engage
to attain understanding, giving students who struggle a model for learning. Students with learning disabilities may need more
time and assistance to complete their schoolwork and may require remediation in one or more areas. Frequent informal
assessments should be conducted to increase progress monitoring, and the student s assessments should be carefully
conducted.

Exceptionalities

Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder


Students with ADHD struggle with maintaining on-task behavior may need to be situated in seats which minimize a
distractions and maximize focus. To determine a student s triggers, a functional behavior assessment should be conducted
(Hallahan et al., 2015). The assessment examines the ways a student arrives at points of distraction and the reasons he
engages in misbehavior. Students must be given strategies for managing their behavior, and a functional behavior assessment
gives the necessary insights.



While highly structured teacher directed programming is shown to be effective for students with ADHD, students must be
given the tools for managing and monitoring their own behavior. Contingency based self management programs require
students to monitor and record their own behavior (Hallahan et al., 2015). Good student behavior should be reinforced
quickly to allow students to build their concept of good behavior and rewards associated with it. To ensure valid testing
students might be offered a quiet place individually or in small groups to complete their tests and may be given extended
times and more frequent breaks (Hallahan et al., 2015).



Finding the right ways to accommodate students with ADHD, and giving them opportunities to develop their strategies for
maintaining on task behavior are both necessary components of effective instruction. Understanding the functions of one s
misbehavior is not only a way to identify situations that trigger such reactions but also leads to developing proactive
responses to challenging stimuli.

Exceptionalities

Emotional Behavioral Disorders


These are disorders in which maladaptive behaviors are observed in at least two settings, one of which must be the
student s school. Specific disorders in this category include mood disorders, schizophrenia and anxiety disorders. A
student s cultural and ethnic background must be carefully considered when interpreting behavior, and sometimes specific
diagnoses are unavailable. Students with emotional behavioral disorders are more likely to be slow learners or
underachievers, and often lack the social and emotional support to make gains in academic environments (Hallahan et al.,
2015).



Because of high prevalence and changing definitions, emotional behavioral disorders are a significant challenge facing special
educators. Not only will these students need special education services at school, but may also require other family related
services. During effective instruction students with EBD are less likely to engage in misbehavior, and are likely to benefit
from social skills training. Though most students with EBD are in the general classroom, they do not assimilate good
behavior well and require explicit instruction in social skills. (Hallahan et el,. 2015).



There is a considerable overlap of students with ADHD and students with EBD, and in some ways there are very similar
educational implications. Both groups show maladaptive behavior and the social and emotional growth of both groups is at
risk. Understanding this behavior may be achieved by use of a functional behavior assessment and is a step towards
identifying the intended results of the behavior.

Classroom Management

Whenever possible, I think the use of a few with broad implications may be a better option to teach children how to
make good decisions. Such rules should also only describe the desired behaviors and not the misbehaviors. Don t
steal could be presented as be honest . These types of rules require students to extrapolate, ask questions, and to
consider what the broader implications of honesty might be. Rules are too often viewed as restrictive, when they are in
fact guideposts to desirable ways of being.



I also believe that if teachers present the rules of the classroom as mandates that they themselves must follow, then
model this behavior, students are less likely to consider them unfair; this a perspective if rules as an agreement.Young
people are often given rules to follow and no reason why; students are not directed to expand their own moral
thinking and understanding. It s possible that one conversation clarifying the rule make good choices could be of
more benefit than a clearly posted list of rules, however every class is different. I think approaching the task of moral
behavior can be taught as a problem solving exercise; one in which students are led to discover questions they can ask
themselves to determine what behavior is most appropriate for the environments and situations they find themselves
in. As John Covaleski notes, (1992) The child who has been taught only a behavioral approach lacks a moral compass
to guide her of him in those circumstances .



With that being, said some aspects of assertive discipline programs are useful for teachers in more challenging
classroom settings, and those programs should include a maximum of five consequences and a minimum of three levels
of correction (verbal warning, name on board etc.) before consequences are enforced. Reinforcement should relate as
much to the misbehavior as possible (Canter, L. 1989). The teacher should also direct attention to observe appropriate
behavior on two occasions before levels of correction advance. I feel behavioral approaches may be appropriate for
some classrooms, but I would prefer no to use behavioral methods for a whole class, but would embrace any such
training on an individual level, if prescribed in a student s IEP.

Teacher Support

Teachers may need additional training and support to become effective educators of students with exceptional
needs. If a teacher is committed to expanding their knowledge and skills concerning the education of exceptional
students and is resourceful, many opportunities to do so can be discovered. In addition to extra coursework,
teachers can attend diversity workshops, or enroll in a inclusion training program, or disability awareness
seminar. Many programs like these are available to teachers and those in the disabled community. Organizations

such as the Association for the Education of Young Children and The Council for Exceptional children offer these
types of professional development for teachers who feel they lack the background in special education required in
today s classrooms. The trend toward diversity and inclusion indicates that these traits will at least in some ways
become a part of the fabric of educational culture in the United States. Beyond programs, informal research can be
conducted by reaching out to local communities, schools and families to increase awareness and elicit
understanding. Other options such as attending multicultural events, learning a new language or volunteering at a
special school could also serve to furher inform teachers about special education services and provide context.
Teachers can work with their administrators to schedule time in a resource room working with the school s
special educators. By using professional skills and knowledge of learning teachers can advance their own education;
being a part of a institution of learning not only gives teachers access to professional development but is a
requirement of the position. In any case, seeking out opportunities to advance their knowledge of special education,
and being committed to personal learning outcomes is a place where all teachers and aspiring teachers can begin; in
the absence of formal training, one must be resourceful, professionally committed and personally dedicated to
learning.

Summary

In this cursory learning of Special Education, I have come to learn about the nature of specific disabilities and the
research regarding alternative instructional methods deemed to be most useful in providing students with exceptional
needs the strategies to manage the disabling aspects of their conditions and maximize the usefulness of their abilities.
This is the primary directive of special education services: to provide the skills for life and learning by enhancing a
student s ability to perform academically by using accommodation and adaptation and specialized instruction. Special
educators rely on their practical knowledge of these skills and research surrounding disability to provide appropriate
educational services.



I ve also learned about practices commonly found in IEP s such as frequent progress monitoring and and functional
behavior assessments. These insights tell us a great deal about what works for an individual students needs. I now know
the process used to determine a students eligibility for special education services, and the rights and options that
students and their families are entitled to and. I ve learned about strategies including cognitive training, self instruction,
systematic instruction and direct instruction which could be appropriate for many students with intellectual or learning
disabilities and also about the importance of consistent rapid reinforcement. Other other instructional methods
including reciprocal teaching, scaffolded instruction and offer teachers alternative ways of working with material.

References

Hallahan, D. P. (2015). Exceptional Learners: An Introduction to Special Education. United





Noll, J. W. (1993). Taking sides. Guilford, CT: Dushkin Pub. Group.



Wannarka, R., & Ruhl, K. (2008). Seating arrangements that promote positive academic and

behavioural outcomes: A review of empirical research. Support for Learning, 23(2), 89-93.doi:
10.1111/j.1467-9604.2008.00375.x