How can a teacher can apply knowledge of educational psychology on special needs children, emphasizing greater positivity towards society and family?

Expert Answers
Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that there are a couple of elements from educational psychology that can be used to ensure a curriculum for special needs students that emphasizes greater positivity.  Part of this can come from selecting texts or readings that emphasize greater emotional positivity or more emotionally sounds ways of dealing with challenges. Reflection on these texts from student point of views can start to generate discussion and articulation as to how greater positivity towards society and family can be evident.  The educational psychological component is evident in that the focus of the curriculum is not the "what," as much as it is how the curriculum can gear itself towards a socially redemptive end.  This fits the current "trend" of educational psychology to gear itself towards a more holistic and humanistic approach to learning.  I think that using this with special needs kids, who might have emotional challenges, as well as all students, who are struggling with emotions themselves, can result in a curriculum that emphasizes greater positivity and does so with an implicit understanding of educational psychology in the process.

jacsweetee | Student

As an educator working with a Special Education population, one of the most effective ways to teach anything to this demographics of students is by modeling the desired outcome. 

If, for example, you want to teach a child with emotional issues to learn how to handle conflict more peacefully, there needs to be a clear discussion of 1) what handling a conflict peacefully looks like, 2) what it does not look like, and 3) what are steps that can be taken "in the moment" to create a peaceful outcome.  From there, role playing with the child should take place in order for him/her to more deeply internalize this social skill.

Modeling, scaffolding, and providing a direct experience to understand are three key components to teach a child with special needs how to have a more positive outlook on family and society as a whole.

Additionally, it would be beneficial for the school psychologist or counselor to come in and work with special needs students, providing opportunities to explore a variety of topics that may come up in a family or social situation.