Strategies for EBD Classroom Management

Updated March 23, 2017

Students who suffer from Emotional and Behavioral Disorders (EBD) often struggle to control their actions and work as productive members of a classroom. These children commonly lack the impulse and emotional control necessary to handle social interactions effectively. While challenging, these students' behaviours can be controlled with a well-developed classroom management plan tailored to the special needs of these students.

Focus on Fairness

Students with Emotional and Behavioral Disorders do not respond well to any situation that appears potentially unfair. If these students feel that they are not being treated with the same respect and consideration as their peers, their behaviour will likely become worse. To ensure that you are consistently fair, do not bend on your established rules and enforce consequences every time. If you allow exceptions, you open yourself up to accusations of unfairness.

Limit the Number of Rules

Your EBD students, as well as your generally able pupils, will likely struggle if you have a list of rules that are too lengthy. Educational consulting firm CAST recommends that teachers keep their list to a manageable length by including a few broad rules that can cover a number of behaviours. CAST also encourages teachers to focus more on what students should do, and less on what they shouldn't, establishing rules such as Be Polite, Be on Task and Be on Time.

Promote Positive Behaviors

While you will certainly have to punish some improper behaviour, rewarding positive behaviour is ultimately more effective. Many Emotional and Behavioral Disorder students see punishments as a personal attack and, therefore, learn little from them. Whenever you can, celebrate these struggling students' successes. As these students receive rewards, they will see that there is a benefit to positive behaviour and feel that you are more of an ally and less of an adversary.

Allow for Mini-Breaks

Some EBD students lack the emotional maturity to remain on task for long periods of time. Instead of consistently chastising these students for not doing something, allow them the short rest period that they require by building mini-breaks into your lessons. Periodically, stop your teaching and allow students who have work to finish to work on their assignment, and those who require the opportunity to move around, to get out of their seats and burn off the excess energy.

Use Motivational Strategies

Many Emotional and Behavioral Disorder students have had predominantly negative school experiences and thus often lack the motivation to succeed in school. To avoid off-task and disruptive behaviours, work to motivate these students. Offer incentives for academic success, celebrate hard work and praise effort regularly to give these students the motivation they require.

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About the Author

Erin Schreiner is a freelance writer and teacher who holds a bachelor's degree from Bowling Green State University. She has been actively freelancing since 2008. Schreiner previously worked for a London-based freelance firm. Her work appears on eHow, and RedEnvelope. She currently teaches writing to middle school students in Ohio and works on her writing craft regularly.