Urgent need to help difficult school children

15 May 2013

NZ is facing a compelling need to address the needs of students with serious behavioural problems, says an education professor visiting the University of Canterbury.

New Zealand is facing a compelling need to address the needs of students with serious behavioural problems so they can become productive members of society, an education professor visiting the University of Canterbury (UC) says.
Professor Bill Evans, Director of the School of Education at the University of West Florida, is a visiting Canterbury Fellow lecturing and researching at UC, looking into issues relating to students with serious problems.
"The schools in New Zealand are among the best in the world. But all teachers need to have an array of skills to meet the needs of these children. 
"Serious consideration needs to be given to the settings in which these children are taught so that students can have access to an effective and efficient instructional programme.
"Students with serious behaviour problems present exceptional challenges for schools. These students often have significant academic and behaviour problems that tax the most experienced and effective teacher. 
"They often face serious obstacles and are among the most likely to drop out of school, become unemployed or underemployed and have significantly higher imprisonment rates. The social and economic effects of these problems are significant to society in general and certainly to students and their families. 
"There are a host of effective school and classroom interventions that have been proven to be effective in addressing the needs of students who manifest serious behaviour problems. 
"These solutions involve regular, as well as special education teachers, in examining the practices and making them an embedded part of the programmes that train teachers. These tools and techniques will help teachers who are engaged in inclusive education and increase the probability of success for all students."
Professor Evans will give a public lecture at UC next week (22 May) on the issue of difficult children in schools. See here for details: http://www.canterbury.ac.nz/wiw/

"Seriously unruly students who cause problems still have a right to an effective and appropriate education. Without this education, their chance of becoming productive members of society is extremely limited. 
"In New Zealand, most people are not comfortable with an educational system in which the needs of all students are not met, but students with behaviour problems are much more likely to drop out of school and suffer from a variety of social ills.
"The solutions for the effective teaching of students who have serious behaviour problems are complex. We must carefully examine the way that we train teachers and the ways that we provide ongoing training to teachers in schools."


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Kip Brook
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University of Canterbury
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