Student Author(s)

Claire Kenyon

Faculty Mentor(s)

Dr. Jane Finn, Education

Document Type


Event Date



Previous research shows that a challenging area that keeps emerging for beginning teachers is maintaining order in the classroom or competent behavioral management skills. In special education, classroom management is complex. This extra layer of complexion is due to additional federal legislation including specific assessments and formal behavioral plans that must be completed on special education students. Studies note that shortages of special education teachers can be linked to behavioral management problems that cause burnout in the special education field. However, there is very limited research from special education practitioners and administrators in the field focusing on beginning behavior competencies. To fill this gap, a survey was completed by over 150 Michigan educators and administrators to identify those skills and practices necessary for effective behavioral management in the special education classroom. Questions included aspects of pre-service training, behaviors commonly seen in the classroom, as well as professional development opportunities available to practicing teachers. Statistical methods that were used include descriptive statistics, and ANOVAs. The results will inform principals, district administrators, and mentor teachers on the topics for continued professional development of first year special education teachers as well guide the training for the pre-service teacher.


This research was funded by the Hope College Frost Research Center.