My special education placement was very focussed on student participation, safety and behaviour. Due to the complex range of disabilities in the classroom, there were many things that needed to be taken in consideration. The playground area, where students sat and who they were next to, distance from the board, and protecting students from other students were some of the considerations that were required daily at the school.
By creating lessons that were engaging, would help students to maintain focus and would lead to an environment that created success alongside a sense of wellbeing.
Using student overview data about the students in my class and speaking to the experienced staff in the classroom (6.3), I began to build an understanding of some of the situations that may arise during my practicum. My biggest concern was managing the behaviour of a student who would become heightened when the areas he was working in would impact on his behaviour. Mostly, I was concerned for his own well-being as when heightened, as his behaviour could result in the student inflicted punishment upon himself. At times, I understood he could attempt to hurt other students or adults in the classroom (4.4).
However, I knew that having matchbox cars available at all time was a tool that would help with to soothe his behaviour and improve his participation (4.3). When I would complete 1 on 1 lessons with the student, the matchbox cars were always included in the lesson. If his participation and concentration began to become a challenge and the matchbox cars were not available, moving him on to the iPad with educational activities would help alleviate any changes in behaviour. Through my disability subjects, I had learned of ways that my behaviour would help his behaviour. This included not to apply any undue pressure on completing work, providing him with additional time to complete activities, moving him out of the classroom to calm or talking to him and keeping him engaged if distractions began to heighten him.
The students in my classroom would become agitated on a regular basis throughout the day. Behaviour within the classroom could be managed at most times, however just like mainstream classrooms, behaviour breakdowns can occur. By allowing the student outlined above to include matchbox cars in his learning, it allowed me to build a close relationship with and assisted in maintaining a settled classroom.
Using the tools provided to me from my mentor, I was able to maintain challenging behaviour in the classroom at most times (4.3). This was due to my rapport skills and building strong relationships with the students from day one. By having a strong relationship, the students trusted me and would listen to my directions when times of heightened activity began to escalate.
There were times where the challenging behaviour became very escalated and only the mentor teacher was able to step in and assist. I believe that if I had more time in the classroom with my students, I would learn more about them and grow a better understanding on ways to reduce the challenging behaviours.
Looking back, I was nervous about going into a classroom with a diverse array of students. However, I am proud of the ways I built relationships, as they assisted me to manage the behaviours effectively. Not only the challenging behaviours of when a student become heightened, but the other behaviours where students can become silly or emotional due to the work they are doing, the negative influence of their peers or because mum did not give them a pancake for lunch today.
I understand that there will be more for me to learn once I move in to my own classroom, but I feel the more time I have with my students, the stronger the relationships will be and the behaviours will become easier to manage.
4.3 - Manage challenging behaviour.
4.4 - Maintain student safety.
6.3 - Engage with colleagues and improve practice.