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Is Positive Reinforcement an Effective Strategy for Students with Learning Disabilities?

July 2nd, 2019 | Comments Off on Is Positive Reinforcement an Effective Strategy for Students with Learning Disabilities? | Inclusive Teaching, Teacher's Lounge Blog, Teaching Licenses

Although any child can exhibit behavior issues in the classroom, individuals with learning disabilities often have more conduct problems than their peers. Knowing that he has a learning disability sometimes causes a child to “act out” at home, in class, or other situations. Positive reinforcement is often used to help these students reach desired behaviors. Does it work?

Positive reinforcement, rather than negative reinforcement, can motivate students to stop acting in unacceptable ways. As part of an individually designed behavior intervention plan, positive reinforcement can be used to make specific changes to the environment to alter unwanted behavior. Where negative reinforcement usually involves some punitive discipline, positive reinforcement is a group of techniques that adults can use to aid students with behavior or academic issues to increase favorable behaviors.

Positive reinforcers aid students in learning behaviors necessary to have both social and academic success and increase targeted behaviors. While they are like a reward system, they are not just given one time as a “good job” type of prize. Positive reinforcement increases wanted behaviors over a specific period.

Positive Reinforcement Examples

Any consequence, reward, or action that increases the desired behavior for a particular student can be a positive reinforcer. It is important to get to know the child, as this provides clues as to what will work for the individual. What may be a great reinforcer for one child may not be a motivator for another. Privileges and rewards like free time, a snack, school supplies, books, gold stars, a note from the teacher, etc., can all be effective positive reinforcers depending on the child and his interests.

When Positive Reinforcement Doesn’t Work

Sometimes positive reinforcement doesn’t work to change student’s behavior. In these cases, other options may be necessary. It is important to note that if positive reinforcement doesn’t work, then negative reinforcement like taking away privileges or a coveted object like a cell phone may get better results.

 

PrepForward offers a course on teaching students with disabilities. For each disability, the course includes approaches for lesson planning, effective teaching, classroom management, assessment, strategies for outside the classroom, and technical support tools.

Are Teachers Adequately Prepared to Teach Exceptional Children?

June 11th, 2019 | Comments Off on Are Teachers Adequately Prepared to Teach Exceptional Children? | Certification Prep, Teacher's Lounge Blog, Teaching Licenses

Inclusion Course - Teaching Students with Disabilities

It is a rare elementary classroom, including those in the private sector, where all 15-30 students are of average capability. While the majority do fall within standard parameters, there are those who are both above and below that spectrum, whether due to learning disabilities like ADHD and dyslexia, autism spectrum disorders, emotional issues, or extraordinary intelligence that exceeds that of their peers.

Educators need to have the appropriate training and experience to handle the wide variety of learning abilities in the classroom to effectively reach all students in ways that work best for their requirements. This is a challenge that much of today’s teaching population faces and where many teachers fall short.

A report compiled by Understood.org and the National Center for Learning Disabilities reveals that just 30% of general education teachers strongly believe that they are adequately prepared to teach students with learning disabilities. Also, 1/3 of study participants have not had any professional development instruction on meeting the needs of students with disabilities in the classroom.

Many people believe that this problem stems from teacher education programs that lack a special education course requirement or, if such a class is offered, it does not provide enough “hands-on” work for teachers to feel comfortable teaching students with disabilities. Only ten states have specific teacher education courses for students that have mild to moderate learning disabilities (National Center for Learning Disabilities).

Since there is a lack of requisite options in most teacher education programs across the country, the burden to seek out adequate training lies with educators rather than with school districts and the schools themselves. A course like Prepforward’s “Preparing Teachers for Inclusive Classrooms” goes a long way to help teachers know what to expect and how to prepare for the exceptional child or children who may be part of their classes.

This online course focuses on the challenges that these students pose to an inclusive classroom environment and how the teacher can adapt strategies for meeting the individual needs of these students that include lesson planning, classroom management, and technical support tools as resources.

While many general educators feel that they are unprepared to work with children with disabilities, most want to learn more about how they can help all the students in their classrooms. With additional preparation through online and on-ground coursework and in-services, teachers can ease frustrations about meeting the needs of every student in their care.