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Can There Be Improvements in Behavior with Special Needs Children if there is a Reward System in Place Concordia University-Portland An Action Research Report Presented to The Graduate Program in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements For the Degree of Masters in Education Concordia University 2013 Statement of the Problem The purpose of this paper was to explore behavior modification by using intrinsic and extrinsic rewards to encourage positive behavior changes in my students while helping them to understand the importance of the change.

As an educator, there are insistently opportunities to positively influence their students’ behavior as well as their education. I wanted to see if the idea of behavior modification was an effective method for teaching and encouraging students’ age-appropriate behaviors and social skills. The issue at hand is that the special needs students have more problematic classrooms and less resources, so to find alternative would be a great asset to the special needs educators. Behavior modification takes work and patience on the teachers and students behalf.

This research was utilized to determine if it would be effective in inclusive classrooms as well as mainstream classes. The dynamics are different; however, it is worth the risk to alleviate some of the stress in the classroom. Literature Review According to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, a child with a condition demonstrating one or more characteristics over a long period of time adversely affecting the child’s educational routine is the definition of a child with an emotional behavior disability.

The characteristics include an inability to learn that isn’t explained by sensory, intellectual, or health factors, the lack of interpersonal legislations with peers and teachers and inability to build or maintain sufficient productive encounters in the classroom, displaying types of behavior or feelings inappropriate under normal circumstances, a mood of unhappiness or depression that is commonplace, and while in school developing physical symptoms and fears associated with personal and school factors (Gladdest, 2012).

Analysis Newbie (1991) found that beginning teachers use extrinsic motivation such as rewards and incentives more frequently than any other classroom management technique. Rewards and extrinsic motivation may be popular, but their use in the lassoer is debatable. Special educators typically use extrinsic rewards because of the nature of the students with whom they work. The study researched all of the effects that rewards may have on behavior and how it can assist however all cases may be different depending on the needs.

It also discussed the dependency special needs students have on the educators as well as the fairness and mistreatment that these students may be subjected to. The consensus within the analyses shows that not only can rewards be effective at achieving short-term outcomes. They can also help build intrinsic motivation in a student. In the article “Improving behavior through differential reinforcement: a praise note system for elementary school students. ” the purpose was to demonstrate the effectiveness of a simple behavior management system, and second, to begin the process of providing some guidance for the application of similar systems.

This study was implemented to change the negative behavior in the lunchroom. The students that were sampled were approximately 200 first through fifth grade students at a rural elementary school in Northern Utah. The students were predominantly white which represented 80% of he students, and from middle to lower-middle socioeconomic backgrounds. (Whitley et al, 2009). In special education, dealing with student behavior is important for minimizing distractions and having students focus on academic topics.

It’s logical to assume that classroom management is a concern for students with disabilities who may have repeatedly failed academically. (Witted & Mercer, 2003) A behavior management plan is designed to address misbehaving, not to address physical handicaps. If the child’s misbehaving is related to his handicap, that is not the place to implement a behavior modification plan, that is the place to address the hill’s PIPE, due to their status as Special Education services-receiving children. (Farrell, 1998).

Addressing specific physical handicaps that are causes of a child’s misbehaving is beyond the scope of the regular education teacher – that is an issue for parents and physicians, in concerting with the school psychologist or psychiatrist, or failing that the school’s counselor. (Witted & Mercer, 2003) Behavior that is not related to the child’s handicap may be appropriately addressed by a behavior intervention plan as described above, in the original solution, and is similar to a plan or a non-handicapped student, regardless if the target student is physically handicapped.

Handicaps may influence the alternative strategies available to the child to take in place of the inappropriate behavior, and may also affect the consequences for choosing to misbehave, depending on the child’s specific handicap. However, the behavior is the issue here, not the handicap, unless of course the behavior is caused by the handicap, and that is another creature entirely. The behavior management plan is for a specific physically handicapped child who also is evidencing behavior problems to such an extent as to require a behavior intervention, or management plan.

However, any child who has behavior difficulties is a child with behavior difficulties, and that is dealt with in much the same way as a child who does not also have a physical handicap. Does a physical handicap mean that we simply allow the child to behave any way he chooses, because we are so sorry that he is handicapped, and that Justifies his misbehaving? This should not be the case. We need to address all bad behavior in an appropriate manner but consider the individual needs and comprehension level. There is not a one size fit all approach to discipline.

The punishment should fit the crime so to speak. A child who has a physical handicap must be treated, to the extent possible, as any other child would be treated, whether there are behavior difficulties or not. When there are behavior difficulties the primary difference between a handicapped misbehaving child and a non-handicapped misbehaving child, is that the handicapping condition must be ruled out as a primary cause of the misbehaving first, then a behavior plan can be designed and implemented as described. Gay et al, 2009). If there are physiological reasons for the misbehaving, then a behavior plan must involve the child’s physician, psychiatrist, parents and/or guardians and the Special Education teacher primarily, with the classroom teachers asked for their input pretty much as a formality. It is more of an informing session at the conference for regular education teachers about what the specialists have determined is in the child’s best interests, and what steps should be taken to improve this bad behavior.

Sometimes medication is prescribed, to help control such behavior when there is the underlying physical cause, therefore, regular classroom teachers have no say in that (Corrosive et al, 2004). Ruling out that he physical handicap as a cause of the misbehaving before implementing a regular behavior management plan is important in creating a better dynamic for an improved student. The point is that the handicapping condition is not an excuse for bad behavior.

Handicapped children are capable of much more than is normally asked of them – and controlling their inappropriate behavior is included in that. Steps to Increase Positive Behavior Browning- Wright (2001) discusses some alternatives and tips. It is stated that one trick is to choose consequences that are important to the child, not to the adults who re attempting to address the misbehaving. It should be based on what the child will actually be affected by and not what the parent or teacher thinks will work. This is why out of school suspension is as seldom successful as a discipline tactic.

The child often views JOSS as a temporary vacation, and often the result of such “punishment” is an increase in the targeted misbehaving, as oppose to a decrease, in order to gain more vacation time at home. Consider what the child appears to enjoy and deny them, these misbehaving students are statistically more likely to be male, those things when he chooses to misbehave. First, is to have what is called an intervention conference with the child and parents/guardians, the school counselor, an administrator and the teachers the child will have in class.

This is so that the child can clearly see that everyone is teamed up against the bad behaviors (not the child himself) and that everyone knows that the child understands what is inappropriate behavior, and the consequences that will result from misbehaving. Some alternate strategies can be spelled out that the child may use instead of the bad behaviors, such as removal to an alternate location (a peer teacher’s class, the counselor’s office, etc. Kick one) to allow for a cooling off time for the child to regain control before returning to the classroom.

Other strategies may also be discussed, depending on the behaviors, and their severity. Once alternate behaviors are agreed upon, then it is time to consider the consequences for choosing to misbehave anyway. This is where the experience of the parents and teachers come into play, because it is the things the child enjoys that will be removed or restricted when he chooses to misbehave. These strategies must also be agreed upon, so that the child knows what will happen, in stages of increasing severity, according to his or her behavior.

Lastly, some rewards must be considered and agreed upon. If the child manages to get through one class with no instances of misbehaving, he will earn a reward. Maybe start out with his choice from two or three items which may give the other students an incentive to work towards demonstrating positive behavior. A contract spelling out these interventions is made out and signed, and, most importantly, a return conference date is also chosen, to evaluate whether the plan is succeeding or not, and if it needs to be modified.

Teachers should construct a behavior reporting page hat goes home with the child daily, so the parent can see how the day went – and so that the parent will know to expect the sheet daily. How to Implement Step 1 Define Positive Behaviors Some students may understand what positive behavior is but for those students who do not understand they may require some examples. Give them some examples or show them a cartoon and point out the positive things that are being demonstrated. Allow them to give feedback and some examples they can think of in order to show they truly understand.

Give them some paper and ask them to write down what positive behavior they want to demonstrate. Step 2 Good Examples Play a game with the students and allow them to tell you if what you say is a good thing or a bad thing. Ask them to stand up for good behavior and stay seated for bad. This will allow them to be interactive in the class and get their blood pumping. Step 3 Monitor the Behavior Explain to the students that you will monitor their behavior and keep a log of their positive interactions. Show them where the log is and make it visible throughout the class.

This will allow them to know where they stand at all times. Keep the log for their PIPE meetings to demonstrate improvements or lack thereof. A good idea is to no log anything while the students are off task because this could escalate their bad behavior. Step 4 Reinforce the Positive Reinforce the positive by playing a game for rewards. This will help the students get excited about being positive and will reinforce the positive behavior. Present activities that focus on being positive and the rewards that will follow. This reiterates positivist and repetition will help them remember.

Reward those behaviors that warrant reinforcement. Repetition is very helpful. Conclusion Teachers should employ strategies based on changing the behavior and help the hillier understand why it has to be changed. Teachers who choose to implement a system that is centered on discouraging the bad behavior and rewarding the desired behavior can implement a classroom where the special needs children can be successful. (Hocus, 1996). The first step is to identify the unwanted behaviors and make note of where to start for the desired behavior.

The teacher should always create a plan specific to each individual student and document the improvements. Teachers should look closely at the information from the first step and note goals that they want the children to achieve. When you implement the reward system the plan needs to be evaluated to see if the behavior was reduced. In the final step the teacher makes changes in the plan that reinforces the desired outcome. (Gladdest, 2012). Special needs children have to be handled with care but not sympathy because they have a disability.

In order to increase positive behavior rewards are acceptable. First you find out what they like to do and take that away when they misbehave. Find different alternatives that coincide with the child’s disability. (O’Neill et al. , 1997). Each child have to be treated differently since no two disabilities are the name and neither are the two children. If the child makes it through several days of good behavior then give them back whatever toy was taken. If they continue to misbehave then find other ways to discipline them that are agreed upon by the principal and parent.

The teachers will be privy to what is expected and will document any changes during the extracurricular activities. TARGET GROUP: Who are the students you are trying to impact? (Do not use names – you must use another identifier. ) How do you think this strategy or content focus will benefit the target group? My target group are the students who are placed in main stream classrooms as oppose to inclusive classes. I think the students in the inclusive classroom will have better results due to their environment. I am trying to impact the special needs students who are integrated into main stream classrooms.

My strategy is relevant to all special needs students because there has been behavioral issues hat tend to escalate in main stream classes. I feel as though special needs students need tangible incentives to motivate them to adjust their actions. If a child has deficits in language and social skills, which can significantly impact the way they need to be parented. Not only is it important for their education that we understand their different ways of learning, but it is also important for managing their behavior in and out of the classroom.

BASELINE DATA: What are the baseline data that support your choice for this area of focus? What patterns or trends do you see in the data? What is your proof that an sue exists in this focus area? (NOTE: You may not depend solely on Standardized Test Scores. ) There’s been an increase in behavioral issues in special needs students. It is common for children with developmental disabilities to have problems with behavior. The main reason why this occurs so frequently with children who have developmental disabilities is because of the deficits that they have and often times lack of understanding to their individual needs.

Explain the process and the desired outcomes. Issue the documentation forms to the teachers. Explain what behaviors they are looking for. Rewards are based on their discretion. Then focus on helping the students understand the sys in which they can earn prizes. Some students may understand what positive behavior is but for those studs who do not understand they may require some examples. Play a game with the students and allow them to tell you if what you say is a g thing or a bad thing. Explain to the students that you will monitor their behavior and keep a log oft positive interactions.

Reinforce the positive by playing a game for rewards. Friday- Document all behavior. Place behavior in a graph. Utilize the data to determine which students’ are showing improvements and to see who needs MO motivation. Week 2: Moon-Thru Increase the rewards and continue to document the behavior on the chart that is located in front of the class. Discuss any improvements with the other instructors Talk to parents to determine if the process works in the home environment. Utilize games and videos to continuously demonstrate the why positive behavior is important.