By implementing an effective classroom management plan the problem addressed is the low success rate of students diagnosed as emotionally disabled, according to standards set by IDEA of 2004, in the general education setting. It is important for students and society that this problem be addressed so all emotionally disabled students have the opportunity to succeed in the general education classroom, which would benefit society by providing functional adults into the workforce. An effective classroom management plan would also help general education teachers educate more students in the general education classroom, which would result in fewer students needing special services for behavioral and academic issues and increase the graduation rate. Although classroom management plans address instructional and behavioral strategies that research suggests are effective with most emotionally disabled students, it is not known why those strategies are not effective for all emotionally disabled students.
In South Carolina, many school districts have recently started encouraging full inclusion for emotionally disabled students and many self-contained classes are being dissolved. This change is due to the part of the U.S. Individuals with Disabilities Act, the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE). The LRE is known as one of the six principles that require schools to provide a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment.
General education teachers have not had the practice or training in effective instructional and behavioral strategies to use with emotionally disabled students. The students leaving the self-contained classroom are also accustomed to having one on one instruction and are not motivated to learn in a large classroom setting, based on research conducted by Adolphson, Hawken, & Carrol (2010). The combination of these problems has resulted in the lack of advancement of emotionally disabled students in the general education setting. Having children with emotional disabilities also benefits the other children in the general education classroom by giving children an opportunity to learn how to make friends with other children who are not similar to them. Those children are able to develop better language and communication skills and are able to learn to accept their own strengths and weaknesses.
The families of children in the classroom benefit from helping their children learn how to accept children’s strengths and needs, and enabling families to work together and share common experiences. The teacher’s grow in developing compassion, kindness and respect for all children, even those with emotional disabilities and expanding their knowledge of emotional disabilities. Teachers also create a setting that encourages a calm state of mind and develops a greater sense of patience.