Teaching art to students with emotional/behavioral disorders.
It is not possible to learn the skills needed for teaching art to special-needs students in a few sessions of a standard art-methods course. Art education students require a separate course to teach students with specific disorders. The need for such a course is substantiated by factors such as the dramatic increase in the number of students identified as handicapped, mainstreaming, and Regular Education Initiative (REI), a movement to integrate classes of regular and special education students to better and more economically serve all students. As a result, art teachers will be responsible for the education of increasing numbers of handicapped students. The critical issue is determining the most expedient ex·pe·di·ent
1. Appropriate to a purpose.
a. Serving to promote one's interest: was merciful only when mercy was expedient.
b. way to prepare teachers to meet this challenge.
Categories of Learners
Special-education literature generally categorizes handicapped learners as mentally retarded Noun 1. mentally retarded - people collectively who are mentally retarded; "he started a school for the retarded"
developmentally challenged, retarded , physically impaired See assistive technology. or emotionally disturbed. The category of mentally retarded can be broken down into mildly, moderately or severely retarded re·tard·ed
1. Often Offensive Affected with mental retardation.
2. Occurring or developing later than desired or expected; delayed. . The category of physically impaired can be broken down into learning disabled or orthopedically impaired, neurologically, visually or hearing impaired. Although there is no consensus for classifying the emotionally disturbed, some psychologists and educators recommended classifying them as suffering from conduct disorder Conduct Disorder Definition
Conduct disorder (CD) is a behavioral and emotional disorder of childhood and adolescence. Children with conduct disorder act inappropriately, infringe on the rights of others, and violate the behavioral expectations of , anxiety-withdrawal behavior, immaturity im·ma·ture
1. Not fully grown or developed. See Synonyms at young.
2. Marked by or suggesting a lack of normal maturity: silly, immature behavior. or socialized so·cial·ize
v. so·cial·ized, so·cial·iz·ing, so·cial·iz·es
1. To place under government or group ownership or control.
2. To make fit for companionship with others; make sociable. aggression (acting out), allowing for individual differences within each classification.
The Mainstreaming Course
In most teacher-preparation programs, a course in mainstreaming is now required for certification. This course is designed to introduce preservice teachers to the concept of mainstreaming, different handicapping conditions and the associated learning, social/emotional behavioral characteristics. The course focuses on practical methods and techniques for adapting various subject areas (math, social studies, science, language, music and art) for mainstreamed, handicapped students.
Although informative, the course has limited value. Student teachers need a course where they can gain hands-on experience with diverse populations of special-needs students, helping them to develop two important aspects of teaching handicapped students: skills and attitudes.
Art Methods for Special Education
In a course focusing on special education, each handicapping condition should be treated separately. The following format is suggested: definition and characteristics of the impairment Impairment
1. A reduction in a company's stated capital.
2. The total capital that is less than the par value of the company's capital stock.
1. This is usually reduced because of poorly estimated losses or gains.
2. ; educational approaches; strategies for art programming; and suggested art media, materials and activities. Activities taught within each handicapping condition should address adaptation to meet group and individual needs. The following outlines emotional/behavioral disorders:
Definition and Characteristics of
This condition adversely affects students' educational and social experience and results in an inability to learn. Behavior deviates from age-appropriate norms, and range from immature immature /im·ma·ture/ (im?ah-chldbomacr´) unripe or not fully developed.
Not fully grown or developed.
unripe or not fully developed. or withdrawn behavior to aggressive acting out. This maladaptive Maladaptive
Unsuitable or counterproductive; for example, maladaptive behavior is behavior that is inappropriate to a given situation.
Mentioned in: Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy behavior interferes with their development, and negatively impacts those with whom they interact, often making them social outcasts The Outcasts are a fictional criminal organization from the Digital Anvil/Microsoft game Freelancer.
Based on the planet Malta, the Outcasts are the descendants of colonists from the sleeper ship Hispania. .
To be prepared to teach this population, it is critical that teachers develop attitudes different from those required for most students. It comes as no surprise that teachers with mainstreamed classes find these students to be the most undesirable. This attitude may be exacerbated by anxiety due to a lack of confidence and skills in managing these students. In this situation, skills in behavior management behavior management Psychology Any nonpharmacologic maneuver–eg contingency reinforcement–that is intended to correct behavioral problems in a child with a mental disorder–eg, ADHD. See Attention-deficit-hyperactivity syndrome. and adapting materials and techniques are critical.
Classroom Management. A classroom environment that is well-organized, highly structured, predictable, yet tolerant and flexible will prevent frustration and potential eruptions. Examples of good classroom management are setting up rules, regulations and routines, and establishing the parameters of acceptable behavior.
Behavior Management. Aggressive behavior in the classroom (hitting, yelling yell
v. yelled, yell·ing, yells
To cry out loudly, as in pain, fright, surprise, or enthusiasm.
To utter or express with a loud cry. See Synonyms at shout.
n. , refusing to take directions, etc.) requires behavior management - a key factor in establishing a climate where effective art teaching can occur. Students who behave aggressively are frequently faced with teacher disdain, criticism and punishment. The teacher who reacts to aggressive behavior with inconsistency in·con·sis·ten·cy
n. pl. in·con·sis·ten·cies
1. The state or quality of being inconsistent.
2. Something inconsistent: many inconsistencies in your proposal. , delayed reactions delayed reaction
An allergic or immune response that begins 24 to 48 hours after exposure to an antigen to which the individual has been sensitized. , or attempts to ignore such occurrences will likely elicit e·lic·it
tr.v. e·lic·it·ed, e·lic·it·ing, e·lic·its
a. To bring or draw out (something latent); educe.
b. To arrive at (a truth, for example) by logic.
2. more aggression in the student.
Behaviorists and social-learning advocates view aggression as learned behavior. They believe it is possible to teach students to respond more appropriately with nonaggressive responses. Examples are setting up conditions where negative behavior is not met with support by other students and "time-out" or "social isolation" for brief periods.
It has been found that these students benefit from a structured and predictable environment, where there are clearly established parameters of acceptable behavior. A different set of skills is needed to respond appropriately to students who manifest immature or withdrawn behavior. Regardless of classification, each student is an individual and presents different problems; no one technique can be applied to all.
Limitations. Successful lessons for students with emotional/behavior disorders involve art programming: limiting movement around the classroom, materials (amounts and choices), number of steps for each activity, time allotted al·lot
tr.v. al·lot·ted, al·lot·ting, al·lots
1. To parcel out; distribute or apportion: allotting land to homesteaders; allot blame.
2. each session and the number of sessions required to complete an activity.
At the beginning of the term, it is advisable to select experiences that have a high success factor, which can be completed within a single session. As students acclimate, activities that extend over several sessions can be introduced. Although limitations are necessary, providing students with choices is imperative for authentic art expressions. This includes decision making and organizing ideas and feelings - factors that can contribute to their artistic growth and possibly modify their responses.
Activities, Techniques and Materials. These should be based on age-appropriate considerations, combined with a realistic appraisal of the student's behavioral response. Art activities that present a modicum mod·i·cum
n. pl. mod·i·cums or mod·i·ca
A small, moderate, or token amount: "England still expects a modicum of eccentricity in its artists" Ian Jack. of challenge should be selected so that students experience a sense of pride and accomplishment.
The Art Teacher as Facilitator. The aforementioned factors are not effective unless the art teacher has the necessary temperament temperament, in music, the altering of certain intervals from their acoustically correct values to provide a system of tuning whereby music can move from key to key without unacceptably impure sonorities. . Flexibility, sensitivity, patience and empathy empathy
Ability to imagine oneself in another's place and understand the other's feelings, desires, ideas, and actions. The empathic actor or singer is one who genuinely feels the part he or she is performing. - attributes generally associated with good teaching - are crucial. Teachers must tolerate aggression and rejection without withdrawing or responding negatively. They must be sensitive to signs of frustration that may materialize into a student outburst. Despite the negative or lack of response from students, teachers must maintain trust in their intuition, techniques and interventions.
A Special Course
The following is a case study of a course funded by a grant from the Guggenheim Museum's Learning through the Arts Program. Although the course deals with only one condition, it can serve as a model for courses that deal with other disorders. The results demonstrate the value of the program.
The first time this course was offered, it was on an experimental basis. The class was composed of ten art education majors who were each randomly assigned to teach one of ten children, ages eight to twelve, classified as emotionally/behaviorally disordered.
Before the first meeting, the university students were assigned text pertaining per·tain
intr.v. per·tained, per·tain·ing, per·tains
1. To have reference; relate: evidence that pertains to the accident.
2. to emotional/behavioral disorders. They also met with the supervisor of the special-education unit from a local public school who reviewed characteristics pertaining to these disorders, and how the condition may manifest itself in the classroom. She also gave them a little background on the students participating in the program. She stated that a number of the youngsters had a history of family neglect, and/or sexual, physical or emotional abuse. Some came from broken homes or had parents who were substance abusers. She advised them to remember that they were preparing to become art teachers, not art therapists, and cautioned them that it was not their place to analyze the artwork, no matter how evocative e·voc·a·tive
Tending or having the power to evoke.
e·voca·tive·ly adv. they found it to be. If the artwork seemed particularly bizarre, however, they were instructed to contact her immediately.
For eleven weeks, the children, accompanied by a special-education teacher, came to the college twice a week for one-hour sessions. The half-hour before the pupil's arrival was devoted to discussion and preparation; the half-hour after was utilized for sharing, evaluating and writing individual reports.
The thematic content was divided into three phases, each focusing on one of the following aspects of the youths' experiences: Myself, Me and Others, and Me and My Environment. The goal was to provide authentic art experiences that would broaden the students' frame of reference from a sole concern with self, to the self and others, and the self in relation to the larger environment.
Phase I: Myself was designed to make students more aware of their physical bodies - parts, functions and actions. Phase 2: Me and Others centered on activities with friends or family. Phase 3: Me and My Environment introduced activities on experiencing their environment (e.g., the home, school, playground). Activities included drawing, painting, collage collage (kəläzh`, kō–) [Fr.,=pasting], technique in art consisting of cutting and pasting natural or manufactured materials to a painted or unpainted surface—hence, a work of art in this medium. , construction and modeling. The projects introduced first were designed to be completed within one session. As students demonstrated an ability to maintain interest, projects that extended over two or more sessions were introduced. Each session was ended with a dictated or written story about the artwork. Most students resisted writing, but agreed to dictate to their instructor.
The objectives for the course were: (1) To give student teachers experience with handicapped students under supervision, and to introduce them to a thematic approach to art instruction. (2) To have handicapped youngsters use art skills to represent ideas and feelings, and to talk about their art with their instructors.
Most activities were designed to be executed on an individual basis; some required a partner to foster social interaction and cooperation. Two youngsters and two student instructors sat at each table, allowing for informal conversation, exchange of materials and the possibility of children helping one another.
Although specific activities were planned for each session, instructors were informed that they were free to modify the activity if they felt it did not meet the needs, interests or abilities of the youngster. It was stressed that accommodation to the individual learner was particularly important when instructing special-needs students. At the beginning, instructors tended to adhere to adhere to
verb 1. follow, keep, maintain, respect, observe, be true, fulfil, obey, heed, keep to, abide by, be loyal, mind, be constant, be faithful
2. the plan; as they gained confidence and came to know the children, they modified the time for the activity, substituted methods or materials, and even changed subject matter.
Although an hour was allotted for each activity, the students were not expected to remain on task that long, based on the literature describing short attention spans, low frustration levels and periodic emotional outbursts. To offset potential problems, regulations were clearly presented at the beginning of the first session.
To everyone's relief, the program went smoothly from the start. The children became involved in their activities and there was little need to implement some of the planned restrictions. As the program progressed, children began to arrive early and leave late, although it cut into their lunch hour. No matter how much we extended the period, the children said the session was too short.
Over the span of the program, it became apparent that some unanticipated changes had transpired for the instructors and their students - a bonding had occurred. The instructors dropped any stereotypic stereotypic /ster·eo·typ·ic/ (ster?e-o-tip´ik) having a fixed, unvarying form. notions or anxieties they had about the students; they were dealing with individuals with whom they established a rapport The former name of device management software from Wyse Technology, San Jose, CA (www.wyse.com) that is designed to centrally control up to 100,000+ devices, including Wyse thin clients (see Winterm), Palm, PocketPC and other mobile devices. and about whom they were concerned.
Early in the program, communication between children was almost nonexistent non·ex·is·tence
1. The condition of not existing.
2. Something that does not exist.
non . Comments about each other's work were derogatory de·rog·a·to·ry
1. Disparaging; belittling: a derogatory comment.
2. Tending to detract or diminish. or teasing teasing
the act of parading a male before a female to see if she displays estrus, and is therefore in a state where mating is likely to be fertile. . As the program progressed, it was not uncommon to find children complimenting each other's accomplishments.
The children affirmed af·firm
v. af·firmed, af·firm·ing, af·firms
1. To declare positively or firmly; maintain to be true.
2. To support or uphold the validity of; confirm.
v.intr. the success of the program through their artwork, and their request to return next term. The program was implemented under ideal conditions: a one-to-one student-instructor ratio; sufficient time a plan, teach, reflect and evaluate and an ample budget. But the value of the experience for the instructors went beyond these specifics. The instructors learned how to teach art to youngsters with emotional/behavioral disorders, and their anxieties and negative attitudes toward this challenging population of learners were dispelled.
The experience proved that submerging art for special education in a general art-methods course is not sufficient. A separate art class must be mandated as part of art-teacher training. The class must include opportunities for students to go beyond the realm of theory into the real world of teaching.