How a Practitioner Thinks in Action:
Shaping Pedagogical and Didactic
Strategies for Students with
Emotional and Behavioral Difficulties
through Textual Analysis of a
Studies in Social, Emotional and
Behavioral Education, Vol. 2
Manufactured and published by
BoD - Books on Demand
Norderstedt, Germany 2015, 2nd ed.
Preface … 10
1. Introduction … 12
2. Research questions … 13
3. Theoretical framework … 14
4. Research design and methodology … 18
5. Results … 19
5.1. Working conditions at the school … 19
5.2. Student behavior … 20
5.2.1. Disruptive patterns in student behavior … 21
Not abiding by school rules … 21
Acting aggressively toward other students … 22
Actively rejecting curricular learning … 23
Acting aggressively toward the teacher … 24
Destroying learning materials and objects … 26
Disruptive Behavior in the wider community … 26
Not following teacher instructions … 28
Engaging in highly dangerous behavior … 28
5.2.2. Positive patterns in student behavior … 29
Willingness to engage in curricular learning … 30
Communicating positively with other students … 30
Following school rules (attendance) … 31
Positive behavior during self-determined activities … 31
Reflecting on own behaviors and life backgrounds … 32
Building a positive relationship with the teacher … 33
Asking the teacher for help, assistance or shelter … 34
Exhibiting successful emotional self-control … 35
5.2.3. Positives and negatives lie close together and
interlock … 35
5.3. The teacher´s actions … 39
Managing disruptive student behavior … 39
Fostering curricular learning and implementing learning
assessment … 40
Exploring and reflecting the students´ world … 42
Teaching and acknowledging positive behavior … 42
Developing learning motivation and future perspectives … 44
Creating and maintaining classroom order and a healthy
learning environment … 45
Building positive teacher-student relationships … 46
Clarifying group conflicts … 47
5.4. The teacher's thoughts, emotions and reflections
Seeing through and beyond the student behavior … 48
Reflecting and clarifying self-perceptions and
own emotions … 49
Pedagogical and didactical planning … 50
Evaluating the effectiveness of own actions … 51
Planning behavior-related interventions … 52
Analyzing teaching and learning processes … 52
Dealing with pedagogical dilemmata … 53
Reflecting on teacher-student relationships … 54
5.5. The school culture … 55
Collaborating with fellow teachers and the principal … 55
Collaborating with parents or guardians … 57
Interprofessional work and relationship between
school and community … 59
6. Interpretation and discussion … 61
6.1. Student behavior … 61
Acatey … 61
Leon … 62
Fabian … 64
Max … 64
Patrick … 65
Dominik … 66
Tim … 66
Jonas … 67
6.2. The teacher´s actions … 67
6.3. The teacher´s reflections … 69
6.4. The school culture as a whole … 70
7. Implications … 72
8. Limitations and future applications … 76
9. References … 77
Figures … 88
Notes on the author … 97
An experienced special education teacher, newly
arrived in an urban school for students with emotional,
social and behavioral difficulties, kept a journal
spanning the first 95 days at work.
Using qualitative content analysis, his field notes
were organized by subject areas (work conditions,
student behavior, teacher interventions, collaboration
with colleagues, work with parents, inter-professional
work and school-community relationships, as well as
the teacher's reflections) and analyzed with reference
to the patterns in them.
For selected patterns, the frequency of occurrence
and related changes over the course of the school
days were analyzed. The results not only provide
insights into a challenging educational reality but also
provide information for a deeper understanding of
student behavior, for the further development of
teaching and behavior-related intervention, for
supporting the journal-keeping teacher, and for
improvement of the overall pedagogical culture of
1 The results of this study were presented as a poster at the
Council for Children with Behavioral Disorders´ (CCBD)
International Conference `A brighter future: Prevention and
intervention on behalf of students with challenging behaviors´.
Chicago, September 27, 2013.
The positive effects of journal writing in the context of
Teacher Preparation and Teacher Training are well
documented (e.g., Diamond, 1993; Dieker and Monda-
Amaya 1995; Jarvis, 1992; Hoover, 1994; Rao et al.
2003; Gilar et al. 2007).
Here a special education teacher started a journal
upon commencing work at a large German city's
SEBD school to help him cope with the transition. At
that time, he had more than 12 years professional
The journal covers the first 95 work days at the new
school. During the first 33 work days, the teacher
made daily entries without interruption followed by a
lengthy hiatus lasting 36 work days. Finally, he started
making entries again sporadically summarizing events
on work days 70-95 (see Figure 1). There the journal
These `field notes´ (Patton 2002, p. 302) offer
insights into a challenging pedagogical world. The
teacher made his journal available for a scholarly
2. Research questions
The several perspectives from which we can view
these journal contents can be viewed yield the follow-
ing questions for research:
1. What student behavior is displayed here?
2. What didactic and pedagogical strategies does
the teacher employ and how can these be made still
3. How does the journal-keeping teacher reflect on
his educational work and how could one-on-one
coaching provide him with effective support?
4. What do we learn about the school culture as a
whole and how it could be improved to better support
the teacher’s efforts in the classroom?
3. Theoretical framework
With regard to the first research question, an extensive
literature shows that students with emotional and
social needs often do not work on the tasks assigned
by the teacher, that their disruptive behavior interrupts
the lesson if it does not shut it down completely, and
that they often provoke conflicts during class with other
students and teachers (e.g., Kauffman and Landrum
2011; Stichter, Conroy and Kauffman 2008),
depending on how well developed the individual
students‘ coping strategies (e.g., McSherry 2013) are.
The situation is exacerbated by the concurrent
existence of learning problems (e.g., Algozzine, Wang
and Violette, 2011; Nicholson 2014).
Seen as helpful and effective in the SEBD and
school context, and hence as the backdrop for the
second research question, is a caring teacher-student
relationship (e.g., Cefai 2013; Kniveton 2004; Garza
2009; Cooper 2011), responding with sensitivity to the
developmental needs of the students (e.g., Doyle
2003; Colley 2009), tuning into the students' life
experiences and learning preferences (e.g., O´Connor
et al. 2011), and a teaching approach that also makes
use of humor (e.g., Rogers 2013) in case of doubt.
The teaching of social skills and emotional literacy
(e.g., Kavale, Mathur and Mostert 2004; Rae 2012)
and teaching self-regulation (e.g., Mowat 2010) are
additional action approaches holding the promise for
In didactic terms, the following is held to be
effective: employing variable and differentiated
learning methods (e.g., Kern et al. 2001; Popp et al.
2011), reducing the level of task difficulty and the task
duration in order to decrease escape-motivated
problem behavior (e.g., Lee, Sugai and Horner 1999;
Moore, Anderson and Kumar 2005), offering
opportunities to respond (e.g., Haydon, MacSuga-
Gage, Simonsen and Hawkins 2012), offering choices
(e.g., Shogren, Faggella-Luby, Bae and Wehmeyer
2004) and giving behavior-specific praise (e.g.,
Marchant and Anderson 2012).
All pedagogical and didactic strategies must be
carefully tailored to the specific context of a learning
group (see also Conroy, Alter and Sutherland 2014).
With regard to the third research question, we can
fall back on a literature that addresses reflection on
one’s own practices (e.g., Schoen 1983), teacher self-
awareness and teacher resilience (e.g., Howard and
Johnson 2004; Richardson and Shupe 2003; Skovolt
and Trotter-Mathison 2011) as well as coaching and
performance feedback (e.g., Lane et al. 2014).
The goal always remains the same: Reinforce the
individual teacher’s professionalism and optimize the
application of available know-how, here in the SEBD
field (Anderson-DeMello and Hendrickson 2014). A
solution-focused approach (e.g., Rae 2012) adds a
great deal of value to this. Coach-the-teacher then is
geared to the question of what works well.
Fourth, looking at the school’s overall culture, a key
factor is involving the parents in all school-related
issues (e.g., Ogden 2013; Sheldon and Epstein 2002).
Segregating their schooling in self-contained
classrooms impairs the students‘ opportunities for
social communication and participation (Panacek and
Dunlap 2003). The active involvement of the
surrounding school community (e.g., Klein 2000) in
school life therefore seems all the more significant.
Support for the individual teacher by his colleagues
and a dedicated principal (e.g., Gamman 2003;
Gardiner and Enomoto 2006), either through joint
supervision or reflection and the development of
school-wide strategies, are indispensable.
Further, well-developed interprofessional work (e.g.,
Eber and Keenan 2004; Hamill and Boyd 2001;
O'Connor 2013) and an after-school program that
offers stability and direction and, at the same time,
relevant learning opportunities specifically to students
in the SEBD field (e.g., Woodland 2008) are important
pillars of a school culture that effectively supports the
work of teachers in the classrooms.
4. Research design and methodology
To answer the research questions defined at the start,
the field notes were subjected to a document analysis.
For objectivity's sake, a second researcher worked in
parallel, carrying out every step independently
herself.2 The two researchers compared results.
The content analysis filtered `themes´ and
`patterns´ (Patton 2002) from the journal text. To this
end, the text of 28,700 words was first divided into the
smallest possible meaningful units. The next step dealt
2 The author wishes to thank Dr. Nicola Kluge, Conroe, TX, for
supporting the qualitative evaluation
with `labeling themes´ and assigning the material to
these overarching thematic categories (see Figure 2).
This was followed by `finding patterns´ within the
thematic areas. The `case study´ (Patton, pp. 447-452)
also serves as a point of reference here, for threaded
through this teacher’s journal in effect are eight
interwoven student cases.
What follows is an overview of the themes and
patterns that were found. These are illustrated by way
of sample excerpts from the teacher's journal.
5.1. Working conditions at the school
Description of the working conditions prevailing at this
school takes up 4% of the entire journal:
... brief handover talk with the departing classroom
teacher... I am taking over five of his students, with
three new students from outside to be added, all of
them between 14 and 16 years old... I will teach for
27.5 hours. Weekly... three schoolyard supervisions of
thirty minutes each... I work alone in my classroom
throughout. Every week, I can send a small group of
students to departmental colleagues in the media
classroom and shop classroom. There is a... billiards
room... gym... foosball room and... school kitchen (2).3
5.2. Student behavior
Description of student behavior makes up nearly one-
third (31%) of the journal text. Sorting all related
patterns, 400 (62%) belong to the disruptive category
and 242 (37%) to the constructive group. Nine cases
(1%) are mixed:
Leon4 is busily filing away... at a piece of wood that
he found outside in front of the school. He is making
3 Number of days when the teacher made his entries
4 All student names have been changed
one end pointed like a spear. As file, he is using a
screw that he had fished out of my junk drawer.
Working with such simple means, he says, reminds
him of the survival strategies of the Huns... he wraps
one end of the piece of wood with bast fiber, and now
he has an archaic-looking hand weapon (13).
5.2.1. Disruptive patterns in student
Let us take a look at problematic patterns of student
behavior (see Figure 3).
Not abiding by school rules
With 22%, this is the most-frequently encountered
pattern. Individually, this means: being late, leaving
early, leaving school premises during recess. The
frequency trend line for these patterns over the 95
days slopes slightly upward:
Patrick takes off without permission after recess
(11)... Max drops out of sight, Patrick also disappears
(16)... Acatey walks out of the individual class set up
for him after a few minutes (28)... Dominic, Max, Tim
and Leon for days already have been leaving the
school grounds during yard recess and roam around
the shopping street (29)... Jonas presumably has been
truant for days already. He has a cough, he says on
the phone. During the past year, Jonas has missed
more than 70% of school days (33)... Patrick's cell
phone rings, and he is gone (80).
Acting aggressively toward other students
This behavioral pattern that can exhibit itself verbally
and/or physically is also highly represented with 21%:
Acatey holds Fabian's book bag out the window and
drops it... Acatey hurls the ball... straight into Tim's
face... To the bike shed with Fabian, to unlock his bike
for him. Acatey squeezes in between us and rides off
on Fabian's bike, disappearing into the city (7)...
Acatey strikes at Patrick's head as he stands in front of
the window. The latter's head hits window frame.
Furious, Patrick attacks Acatey (14)... Acatey... tries
constantly to provoke Leon, by hitting or kicking, or
waving his hands or fist in front of his face, pretending
to kick his head... gets very close to Leon's face,
gathers spittle in his mouth and makes as if he is going
to spit it at him... hurls curses at Leon: 'Fuck your
mother! Your mother is a whore. You freak! Your
mother crapped you! (15)... The computer network
cables are ripped out. Loud yelling and carrying on
Actively rejecting curricular learning
This behavior pattern registers at 18%. The trend line
shows a marked downward slope (see Figure 4).
Nobody wants to work on the assignment sheets
passed out (3)... The first one refuses. The next one
reads a couple of sentences and stops... then Max
throws his notebook, nearly hitting my head: 'Here, you
can have it back!' Three, four more notebooks land on
my desk (4)... the boys work maybe three to eight
minutes. Max complains his sheet is too easy. 'I won't
do it, don't want to, give me something more difficult;
naw, now that is too difficult for me, I'm not doing it,'
throws the sheet on the floor... It's all over with the
others, too (6)... Leon protests... when I pass out the
homework (14)... The boys refuse to take out their
work folders and books... Fabian gives subtraction on
paper a try, but gives up already after five minutes...
He will not accept any help (15)... 'I want to get on the
PC and play; I'm bored'... that Fabian has not filled out
a single part of the English Level 1 work book from the
previous school year... 'So what, it's all boring, can I go
Acting aggressively toward the teacher
This disruptive pattern, expressed verbally and/or
physically, was determined in 16% of cases:
Patrick swears at me: 'Hey, you jackass! You
mongoloid!' (11). Max... turns up his cell phone, it is a
screeching, shrill piece of music... He says: 'What's
your problem? I'll punch you in the face in a second!'
(15)... Acatey... 'What did you talk about with my
mother? I'll sock you!... (19)... While I sit next to Fabian
to show him written division, Acatey waves the
broomstick behind my head (19)... Patrick attacks me,
'what's with all this queer jabbering, and what do I care
how they are doing. Tim... he would love to beat me up
good for all the 'crap' we are doing during class here...
moves his hands and arms karate-style. 'You're just
fucking with me'... Acatey demands to be returned to
regular class. 'Freak! German potato! Rat fag!' he
hisses at me (28)... Leon says to me: 'Freak, you can
suck my big one!... I have nothing to say to you, you
joker!´ (32)... Leon threatens to beat me up if I dare to
give him a new weekly lesson plan (33).
Destroying learning materials and objects
This behavioral pattern makes up 14% of the
disruptive student behavior recorded by the teacher.
The trend line clearly points down (see Figure 5).
Numerous objects fly out the window... the
classroom is on the 5th floor and ceiling is very high...
dishes, books, paper, notebooks... food... the sink is
plugged up with glue and overflows (3)... Acatey rips a
door from the cabinet that has a locker for each
student (7)... Fabian with a piece of wood knocks
stucco off places where the walls are already
damaged. 'So what, what's your problem? They're
going to renovate in here anyway', he says (10).
Disruptive Behavior in the wider community
This pattern was a factor 5% of the time:
While I pay, Acatey and Fabian steal cones behind
the ice cream seller's back... Fabian jostles an
oncoming man... Fabian, with a smile, asks a woman if
he can pet her dog...then pulls the yowling beast by its
tail... the boys want to go to the cathedral... they go to
a side altar and blow out dozens of candles... Acatey
has seized on an offering box and is shaking it... to get
at the coins inside... heads over to the candles again
and spits the flame out on two of them... by the Rhine
river promenade, they pull each other into a fountain
(3)... Acatey tears open the door to a midday care
center. Children are playing with beads and blocks...
Acatey sweeps everything off the table (14)... Acatey...
puts down fifty Euro and says: 'From a cell phone, with
camera, ripped off... in... sold… (15)... Leon, Max and
Tim... threatened the owner of a health food store...
when she asks them if she can help with anything
else, they say no, but still do not leave the store...
when the owner asked the boys to leave the store...
Leon walked up to her and said: 'You're about to get a
punch in the mouth´ (31)... Fabian... gives a parked
car a kick. A colleague reports... that he had slammed
a shopping cart against a parked car; then he jumped
on the hood of another car (80).
Not following teacher instructions
In 2% of the cases, the students ignored the teacher's
While driving the pedal cars, Acatey once more
disregards the rules, crosses the threshold, purposely
crashes into the others, drives through the door out on
the street (11)... Max, during recess, climbs on top of
the toilet house, and runs around on it (12)... Acatey
shows up too early, he is trying to sabotage the new
class schedule. He is also not ready to leave again
(15)... as soon as the computers are up, the
students… games are booted up: Counterstrike and
Engaging in highly dangerous behavior
In a further 2% of cases, the teacher had to deal with
really dangerous behaviors by his students:
Twice, Max tosses a chair (with iron frame) against
the wall (3)... Acatey runs over a first grader with the
heavy pedal car while the teacher was crossing the
schoolyard to the gym with her charges (6)... Leon is
at the window sill... suddenly, a giant flame almost sets
the curtain ablaze. He had wrapped a ping pong ball in
aluminum foil and... lit it with a lighter (18)... Leon
opens firecrackers, pretends he wants to examine the
powder and finally pours it into a tennis ball. He fills
the remaining empty space with thin paper and mounts
a fuse on it (29)... Leon carries hair spray in his
pocket... A... jet of fire shoots through the room (31).
5.2.2. Positive patterns in student behavior
We now turn to the 242 constructive patterns in
student behavior (37%). Figure 6 shows how the
patterns were differentiated by the following
Willingness to engage in curricular learning
With 31%, this pattern is the constructive behavior
most often encountered among the students. The
trend line drops slightly:
Tim and Dominic participate in a half hour of English
instruction (7)... It goes well for about twenty minutes.
Then the boys want to get on the computer (13)...
They actually begin to do math (14)... Acatey works
along well today during the individual mentoring. After
forty minutes, the air has gone out of him (30). They
mostly take the weekly lesson plans home now and
work on them more or less thoroughly... between 5%
and 70%, on the daily plans 5% and 40% (72).
Communicating positively with other students
Fifteen percent of cases fit this pattern:
Some of the boys have not breakfasted and want to
go buy buns and cold cuts. When they return, they set
the round table in back of the classroom (13)... Leon
has brought buns to be heated... Because no one had
yet done the dishes and cutlery, an improvised
breakfast is served on a stolen tabloid newspaper on
my desk, because the boys opine that it was the
cleanest place. Margarine and chocolate spread... are
ladled on with the finger, `just like in a Hun
encampment´, Leon says (18).
Following school rules (attendance)
In 14% of cases, the teacher took the trouble to note
that certain students were in class. This shows a
slightly decreasing tendency.
Positive behavior during self-determined activities
Twelve percent of positive patterns relate to quiet,
constructive behavior by the students during low-
threshold, self-determined activities such as computer
games, listening to music or playing foosball.
Reflecting on own behaviors and life backgrounds
This pattern factored in 12% of the time. The trend line
'Can you picture it, how he beat me, my father? For
years... He drank his fill and then he always started
in... I swear, nothing was going on between that man
and my mother... There my father stood in the
doorway, legs apart... my mother told him that she was
so tired... Yes, from screwing! says my father... He
goes for her. `Don't you hit her´, I said, `I'll kill you!´
But, he keeps after her and hits her in the face, several
times. She is bleeding... she tears open a drawer...
takes out a long knife and says to him: `All right, come
on!´ I run outside, take my cell phone and call the
police... my father is lying on the floor, gurgling... I was
totally out of it, my mother in the corner, totally done in,
shaking, crying' (25)... Tim asks me, if I knew what
`psychological stress´ is. A friend of his supposedly
has it, so his doctor had told him. And that's why he
still bed wets at night, at the age of thirteen. He himself
had the same problem for quite a while. Did I have any
advice for his friend by chance? (90).
Building a positive relationship with the teacher
This pattern was encountered in 9% of cases, with a
slightly falling trend line.
Patrick shows me a picture of his attack dog... Then
he offers me peanuts (3)... Leon tells me about his life
as part of a Hun horde... that his identity was largely
that of a Hun... his shock of dark hair, standing up on
his head, long in back and shaved at the temples,
emphasizes it (12)... I am invited to join an improvised
breakfast. Tim insists that I also take a bun (13)...
leafed through the Guinness Book of Records with
Patrick and Leon. Leon lies to left of me on the side
table and Patrick stands immediately to my right...
we... comment on the pictures... Patrick smiles...
friendly... there follow tentative touches to my hand, my
arm or my shoulder (13)... Leon rides a skateboard...
constantly, he calls out to me. 'Look at me... Look at
me...' (15) Leon meanwhile crisps his bread, and then
mine also. He insists on doing this for me (16)... Leon
rides skateboard again and constantly wants my
attention, also physical touching, with me pushing him.
This moves Patrick to pat me on the back and
shoulder several times; this, from the same Patrick
who usually avoids all physical contact (17)... Leon
asks me if I have any chap stick, his lips were so dry
Asking the teacher for help, assistance or shelter
This pattern was found in 5% of cases:
The new students seek sanctuary and protection
with me, even if in disguised fashion (3)... Leon says
he is afraid of getting into fights and so want to stay
close to me all the time (10)... Leon is still afraid and
wants to sit in the office when I am not on the yard
(11)... Leon... stays... in my vicinity in the school yard
Exhibiting successful emotional self-control
This pattern shows up in 2% of cases:
Acatey can't get on the PCs, because of passwords
set by the other students. He succeeds in maintaining
control of himself (30).
5.2.3. Positives and negatives lie close
together and interlock
Acatey invariably buys breakfast only for himself; now
and then he shares some candy, but tosses it over
so... contemptuously... that the others do not accept
the stuff. Max, Dominic, Tim and Leon, in contrast,
develop solidarity arrangements among themselves;
different students alternate, even if irregularly, in
bringing something to eat and sharing with the
others... When Acatey sits at his desk and eats
whatever he has brought... he does so with loud
smacking noises, something the others have a hard
time putting up with (20).
The positive can quickly tip into the destructive:
Leon devises a plan for a 'cozy kitchen corner', with
food in the refrigerator to be bought out of a common
kitty. 'When the others are ready, I mean, when they
don't destroy or throw stuff around, then'... Acatey...
provokes Leon... This time, Leon loses his cool and he
shouts furiously at Acatey: 'For once, just shut your
mouth, you damn foreigner! They must have crapped
you out, huh? One of these days we'll wipe all our
damn foreigners out!' and raises a chair and threatens
to throw it at Acatey (16)... (in the billiard room) We
have been playing for three or four minutes, when
Acatey's constructive mood suddenly turns. He hits the
white ball so hard that it bounds over the table edge
and shoots in the direction of my face. All the while, he
grins at me out of his dark, glittering eyes. Acatey
changes his stance, so get a better shot at me. Then
he waves the queue in front of my face as if about to
hit me with it (23).
Ambiguous situations can be productive but require
coolness and vision:
Leon has brought in a condom, fills it with water,
knots it and plays with it... He reads attentively what I
write on a poster, while he sits cross-legged to my right
on the table... Leon raises the water filled condom to
his mouth and sucks on it... Leon suddenly stands
behind me and touches me on the throat, ears, neck
with this phallic symbol... He does all this in a joking...
way. Then he splats the water filled condom against
my thigh so that it bursts. Leon contorts with laughter,
but at the same time he seems embarrassed, and he
apologizes (24)... Then Leon takes two... tables...
shoves them up against the sides of my desk, lies
across them... pensively sucks and draws on the water
filled condom... Then he says: 'Oh, crap, my life is
really messed up. I'm in an institution and then here, in
this school, what kind of life am I going to have?... I've
thought about jumping off a bridge' (25).
Behavioral progress takes time:
Fabian is eating candy again and drops the
wrappers on the floor. He picks them up unwillingly at
the end of the class, but instead of throwing them into
the waste basket purposely misses it. Finally, he does
pick up some of the papers again. He leaves the rest
on the floor (16)... Max is still spitting pumpkin seed
shells on the floor, but more and more frequently
directly into the waste basket (85).
In a few instances, a student helps the teacher
clarify his pedagogic concern, however, in a language
suitable for precipitating the next conflict among the
Patrick: 'You idiot, you bastard, you fly shit, didn't
you get it? He means that you are responsible for what
you learn here! Get it?!' (25).
5.3. The teacher´s actions
The documented teacher's behavior corresponds to
almost the same extent (31%) with the
comprehensively described student behavior. This we
broke down into the following patterns (see Figure 7).
Managing disruptive student behavior
In 30% of the cases, the teacher is busy containing
transgressive or destructive behavior:
The boys... are kicking the ball around the
classroom. I... lock the ball up again (4)... then I grab
the chair and pull it down... to the floor again (10)... I
announce that I will send Max home immediately if he
tears my seating arrangement up again... `It is not
acceptable to speak with me in that tone of voice´… I
ask him to turn off the music (15)... This time, I insist
that Fabian picks up all the candy wrappers (16)... I
approach Acatey determinedly and tell him that I do
not like his game (23)... I plant myself in front of
Acatey... will he manage today to abide by three rules:
no insults, no physical contact with another, no
damaging anything? (25)... Acatey demands to be
returned to the regular classes. I tell him the conditions
(28)... one day suspension from school for Leon, for
reason of the hairspray and flame jet (32).
Fostering curricular learning and
implementing learning assessment
This pattern is represented with 24%:
I choose a text about friendships in a clique and ask
the students to read (4)... pass out math sheets at
differing levels of difficulty (6)... test his knowledge and
skills in math and English... grade Leon's first
homework assignment... exchange a more difficult text
book for Leon's English book (10)... propose to delve
into the Hun subject as part of school work (12)... try to
be in better tune with the boys' actual math skills, test
Tim's learning level (15)... Leon is interested in
geometry, so we skip around in the book a bit (18)... I
come up with the idea of taking what Leon said...
developing it... into questions for research (24)... I
engage the youths... in discussions about computer
games... what they think about the effect of games on
perceptions and behavior of the players (30)...
discussion about Preußler's book Krabat... how far
they have read in it, what they find interesting in it,
where they are having difficulty understanding, I paint
a poster... with the names of the fictional characters
(33)... Next... step by step got the students... used to a
weekly lesson plan, with regard to homework... The
challenges... are widely varied, so that there is...
something for every ability level in it... Later, I
introduced... additionally daily lesson plans, in order to
give the morning a firm but flexible structure (72)... I
spoke about performance evaluations... that there
would be objective content requirements for the
various subjects, and I provide an overview for math,
biology and English... to give them a chance to
recognize their own performance level (75).
Exploring and reflecting the students´ world
This pattern was represented at 10%:
I start by talking about getting acquainted. I thought
about a kind of chart for self-presentation... categories
like interests, neighborhood, and age (3)... a
discussion about experiences during summer vacation
(5)... I speak extensively with Leon about the Hun
horde... to which he belongs (12)... I ask the new
arrivals how they are doing, how they spent the
afternoon the day before and the evening (16).
Teaching and acknowledging positive behavior
This pattern occurred in 9% of cases:
I thank Dominic for his cooperation (5)... Acatey
worked for ten minutes on problems he picked out
himself from the math book. I praise him for this (11)...
I repeatedly speak with Leon about not letting himself
be lured into a brawl with Acatey and give him praise
for already having restrained himself for so long...
Later, corrected Fabian's essay. I praised him for doing
the work (16)... To Max: `Did you not see a chance to
come to Gerrit's aid or to at least exert a calming
influence on the situation?´ (19)... To Leon: `Your great
strength is that you can think so well about yourself
and about everything that goes on inside you, that you
are aware of these things´ (25)... I boil water... and
rinse the breakfast dishes... Does he ever help out in
the kitchen at home, I ask Acatey... `Wouldn't you like
to sweep up? That way, you also have something to
do. Besides, then I'll be finished faster and we can
read something together´ (27). I brought a Ju Jitsu
trainer to class with me. The trainer and I acted as if
we were provoking each other, then used different
defensive techniques, he from Ju Jitsu, me from Tai
Chi... we discussed aspects such as... inner strength,
controlling one's own aggression, self-discipline,
protecting one's own private space, and simply walking
away at times (90).
Developing learning motivation
and future perspectives
This pattern was found in 8% of the teacher
I take up the wish of resuming schooling in a
mainstream school and encourage the boys not to let
up from applying themselves to their work (7)... Asked
Max today about his perspective on job prospects,
wants to 'turn tricks as whore at the train station' (14)...
talk with Leon about his career goals... I suggest
looking into which job specifications touch on his
interests... electric equipment installer, electronic
technician for drive technology, what the job
descriptions are for these professions, what the
training prerequisites and requirements are (25).
Creating and maintaining classroom order
and a healthy learning environment
This pattern was found in 7% of cases:
In the cabinets, I lock up anything I can grab, so that
everything does not go sailing out the windows... there
is still sweeping up, with a borrowed broom (3)... I set
up a schedule who can go when to the shop room and
the media room (9)... I inform them about the new
regime with the second time-shifted lesson plan (11)...
I take Tim and Dominic with me... to buy... broom,
hand broom, dustpan, rinsing bowl, dishwashing liquid,
soap and a new binder for each student (17)... I
obtained green plants and put them on the
windowsills. In the back of the classroom, I put up
natural science maps of fauna and flora and a
teaching poster with all ship types (24).
Building positive teacher-student relationships
This pattern was a 7% factor.
I invite the boys out for ice cream (3)... I continually
get... students from the two classrooms adjoining mine
on either side. I take the opportunity to start a
conversation with these boys as well (4)... I absolutely
must sit down for this... I bring a teapot and buttered
bread with me and sit down with the four of them. Tim
insists that I also take a bun (13)... I ask Max and the
others how they are getting along (15)... Leon crisps
his bread in the meantime, later mine as well. He
insists on doing this for me (16)... I bring more green
plants to the classroom, sweep, wipe bookshelves,
window sills, and tables with a moist cloth, rinse
drinking cups, boil water, make lemon tea for the
boys... create a familial ambiance (85).
Clarifying group conflicts
This pattern was found in 5% of cases:
Back in the classroom, I try to unwind the conflict
between Acatey and Patrick (14)... after a short rest
period the opponents spend in separate classrooms,
we succeed in clearing up what happened and the
interior process (17)... We end the talk with the
agreement that they would avoid each other and
should their paths cross, not to start arguing (19)... I
also prepare two posters, one in orange, the other in
yellow. This time with the headings `External
complaints´ and `Inner complaints´ (24)... As I am
trying to pull apart two scufflers tied up in each other,
Leon tries to stop me from doing so. First, I have to
shake him off before I can intervene in the heated
struggle of the two boys now fighting on the ground,
already ringed by... spectators (30).
5.4. The teacher's thoughts, emotions
This theme makes up 13% of the teacher´s journal
entries. We differentiated among the following patterns
(see Figure 9):
Seeing through and beyond the student behavior
This pattern occurred in almost 30% of cases.
Why the wanton throwing of stuff out the window?...
Establishing a hierarchy among one themselves?... To
let go... of the teacher left?... Find out how I react to
these things? (3)... Neither of the two budges. Perhaps
it would mean a loss of face... Acatey hangs on... to
Patrick, although... physically the weaker. It is as if he
was inviting... the punches and kicks... every few days
he has blue splotches on his face (14)... The first,
deeper-going relations take root among the students
over the communal breakfast... that Acatey will not be
asked to join in anymore, because he has blown it with
this group... It is also possible that he does not find
any kind of model for this kind of social interaction
within himself (20). Leon has now emerged for good
from my protective shadow and has changed sides.
He starts to continually attack and insult me in front of
the other students... he wants to arrive once and for all
in the group of classmates and be accepted in it (30).
Reflecting and clarifying self-perceptions
and own emotions
This pattern was encountered in 19% of cases:
I'm becoming uneasy (3)... the boys are as big as
me and even with Tai Chi and fitness training, I do not
want risk any physical altercations (5)... near-chaos
(10)... Acatey takes my backpack, and, stupidly, in that
class that day my valuables happen to be in it... the
students have several times removed my bundle of
keys from the desk. A... game, that... is nerve wracking
(14)... The situation is improving... Hopefully, Acatey
will not come in early again... recess is relatively
peaceful (17)... For a few minutes at least, no outside
violations (18)... Still, it makes me nervous. Somehow,
I blame it on the system for not remedying the chronic
staff shortage and seemingly being unconcerned with
how I'm going to survive each round under these
Pedagogical and didactical planning
This pattern is present 12% of the time.
Locking the door and sending the boys who do not
belong to my own class away... would... signal
rejection (4)... In this group setting, which themes...
deserve to be stressed?... I visualize what I observe...
I describe moderation charts... and hang the charts in
the... topic tracker: to really make an effort and learn
something, set goals for yourself, leave all things
intact, make use of the teacher's learning offerings,
everyone here is special, everyone here is likable,
respect others... follow the rules, rule violations have
consequences, respect the other's boundaries, be on
time for class, formulate learning interests, feel secure,
feel good, be polite, do your homework, help each
other, become a group, be at ease sitting around in a
group, be in the present moment here. See how the
boys react to this? (20).
Evaluating the effectiveness of own actions
This pattern occurred in 11% of cases:
I start with a success, a bit of order... to be
maintained (15)... It is hard to pull the two bodies
locked into each other apart. Finally, I succeed (17)... I
hold out the prospect that every properly completed
assignment sheet will get credit for grading purposes.
This seems to motivate some (18)... Acatey... furious
'I'll slug you!'... 'No, you won't,' I tell him loud and clear.
At the same time, I assume a defensive posture
derived from Tai Chi. The message hits home (19).
Planning behavior-related interventions
This pattern factors in 9% of the time:
... slam the door shut, stick the key in the lock and
lock it from the inside. This all has to happen very
quickly... It is important that no one feels locked up.
Locking a rampaging student out is a matter of self-
protection and protection of the other students (19)...
perhaps, make a start by preparing a meal together
with Acatey and then eat it together with him and...
then invite another student and another... (20).
Analyzing teaching and learning processes
This pattern was found in 8% of cases:
Holding a regular class is still out of the question
(11)... that Max simply just copies all results... for the
moment... is secondary, I think... homework... For all
the others, this is still out of the question. They would
do nothing with it (14)... I regard... the external chaos
caused by the students as a reflection of their inner
psychic situation. It makes no sense at this point to
ask them to keep themselves in check and to help with
sweeping, etc. (19)... Acatey... is excluded from the
circle of the other classmates, because he simply
cannot manage to control his destructive impulses
(20)... The learning and work behavior had to be built
up among the students... from scratch (72).
Dealing with pedagogical dilemmata
This pattern occurred in 6% of cases:
... what effects will my working with the police have
on the quality of my pedagogical relationship with...
the... boys, when almost every one of them engages in
small-time criminal actions? (15)... Max goes to the
bathroom... for a smoke? I am glad he is so peaceable
today (19). Still urgently have to study... the files... On
the other hand, I shy away from it, because after
reading these... statements, reports and expert
opinions, all the notations are crimes and court dates...
I no longer regard the boys without prejudice (19).
Prohibit... Counterstrike... or thematize it? (30)...
Döner-Mafia... Was that game... the template for the
boys' performance in the health food store? (31)... The
past year, Jonas has missed more than 70% of school
days. Would a mandatory court appearance even do
any good? (33)... Patrick is becoming softer, more
trusting toward me... his father comes on like a Mafia
boss. Meanwhile, I've gotten credit from both of them
because I relegate everything that is not immediately
related to... school to being a family matter, which I
steer clear of completely. It is harder for the social
worker... Patrick says the man talks too much (80).
Reflecting on teacher-student relationships
In 5% of cases, this pattern cropped up:
... small... talk with the boys from the class next
door... this way they feel someone is paying attention
to them (5)... I sit down in the reading corner with
Acatey... some days he appears to be downright fragile
and to need support (13)... Max...sits cross legged on
my desk... As if he wanted to say: Look at me! Here I
am!... He never dared come that close to me before.
He acts as if he wants to ram his fist in my face (24).
5.5. The school culture
Collaborating with fellow teachers
and the principal
This thematic area comprises 9% of the journal text:
The boys are now asking me for a soft ball... to play
soccer in the hallway... I check this out with a
colleague and learn that it is customary, for
relaxation... to let the students... play soccer in the
hallway... the colleague from the media room asks... if
we had book requisitions (4)... here, all colleagues
advise against bringing valuable items to the
classrooms (10). Once again, a colleague had her new
cell phone stolen from the teacher's lounge... The
students are to arrive in shifts after the weekend in
order to rectify the situation. The tip came from
colleagues, all supported it in the teacher conference,
including the principal (10)... Case consultation. I ask
the colleagues to tell me about the four old students in
my class (12)... The principal's view is that it is not
about exerting power, but instead about acting
consistently, for example: If you are going to break off
the cabinet door, you will have to pay for it. Then we
will ask your father to come and discuss what else
remains to be done. So, think about what you are
doing. This way, you put the responsibility on the
youngster. The principal counsels against breaking
ground in too many places and to concentrate
foremost on the subject of reparations... The next
subject to be thematized could be leaving class
without permission. If I am not in a position to devote
myself intensively to this construction site then I would
do better... to hold off for now (13). The teacher next
door needs a clean cloth... I send one over to her
(15)... Visits during class time must be reduced. As a
tentative solution we settle on leaving the doors open
for a quarter of an hour before class starts to leave the
students space for contacts... with each other (18)...
Together with the principal and teaching staff, decided
that Acatey would no longer take part in regular
classroom instruction. He will get three hours
individual support from me... other than that, we will let
everything that to date has functioned continue to run
for him..., an hour of soccer with another class and the
moped course (27).
Collaborating with parents or guardians
A total of 8% of the journal text falls under this theme.
Leon's mother tells me this evening on the phone
that I've gotten too close emotionally to her son, which
he is having to compensate for by stepping up his
aggressiveness (13)... Conference with Fabian's foster
father, in the principal's presence… we discuss the
damages... The father says I'm responsible, because I
failed to prevent the escalation. He says: 'If the hotel
guests are dissatisfied, the host gets replaced!' I...
invite him... to see for himself... I raise the possibility of
setting up an individual learning plan for Fabian, that
we can supplement jointly with the father's inputs... A
call from Max's mother. He has now been thoroughly
tested by a psychologist. 'A ticking time bomb', was
what she said. 'We'll be lucky if he only kills himself.'
The psychologist advocates close child and
adolescent psychiatry (17)... Conversation with
Acatey's parents. Only the mother came... she knows
it all by heart already... `Why does Acatey act the way
he does?´... then she talks about the beatings that
Acatey... received as a child... explanations, that have
to do with an unwanted pregnancy... back then, in
eastern Turkey... In any case, it was difficult to love the
child... the father has no emotional connection to the
son. 'Neither of us cares about him anymore', says the
mother. Contact with a psychiatric clinic... Acatey did
not want to talk with the psychiatrist. He said that the
boy was filled with hate and violence, something
needed to be done urgently. But we did not get a new
appointment (18)... Class open house evening... the
parents read the subject roster on the wall... express
agreement with the subjects I am emphasizing...
Leon's mother says, her son has a big problem with
being allowed to make mistakes. He had urgently to
practice writing. He had been... covering up his
weaknesses for years... During recess... a visit. The
domestic partner of Leon's mother and a Hun friend,
brass rings on his fingers, T-shirts with pit bull portraits.
They came to see who is always beating up on Leon
and to read the boys the riot act (28)... When I place a
call to Jonas, loud Hip Hop music by a band greets
me... A few days later, the phone line is disconnected...
Acatey says, his parents had filed a grievance with the
education office because he only gets nine hours of
class (33)... Sent a list of all the unexcused absences
by Jonas to the mother (72).
Interprofessional work and relationship
between school and community
The theme is represented at 4% in the journal.
Interdisciplinary work occurs along lines like this:
Evening... phone conversation with Fabian's
therapist... that Fabian acts almost 'submissive'... in
the three or four therapy sessions to date... and tries
very hard to do what is asked of him. When it comes to
school... he appropriates the victim role for himself. To
the therapist, he selectively reports things that
undergird this victim image (23).
The school-community subject area is reflected in
the following passages:
It is my birthday, and so I invite the students out to a
Turkish pizzeria. When we get there, the door is still
locked. Acatey beats with his fist against the glass. An
old Turk runs over and tells him to knock it off... On the
way back to school, a few boys get into an argument
with the scaffolding crew on the church. Tim apparently
had climbed up a ladder. I mediate. Then a group runs
into the church... I herd the boys right away out of the
church, after the experience at the cathedral (17)...
The windows of an apartment across from the school
are repeatedly broken with stones. Some of my
students seem to know something. The principal has
numerous conversations. The perpetrator is never
6. Interpretation and discussion
6.1. Student behavior
Acatey and Leon pose the biggest challenge for the
teacher throughout, as attested to by the frequency
with which these two names appear in the journal (see
Acatey‘s (16) behavior is characterized by a high
degree of rule breaking and violence. The boy's moods
fluctuate in an unpredictable manner. Destructive
impulses or merely movement impulses are acted out
immediately. Acatey meets bonding overtures on the
part of the teacher with suspicion and aggression. But
slow, continuous progress emerges. As the youth
begins to trust the teacher, he faces up to class
assignments and endures the frustration he
experiences due to his glaring learning deficits. Even if
only in very small steps, he begins to slowly conform
to the school system of rules, although there is
occasional serious recidivism.
Passing the moped exam on the one hand is an
incentive for him to practice his reading and to learn
more German. He also tentatively begins to let the
teacher help him; however, he lacks discipline and
perseverance. Some days, Acatey at least manages to
concentrate for five or ten minutes. But then he jumps
out of his chair, abandons his practice materials and
obeys the most varied impulses.
Leon (15), newly enrolled at the school at the same
time as the teacher took over the class, attaches
himself closely to him. The teenager immediately takes
the initiative to form a strong bond in which he at first
feels protected and cared for. On this foundation, he
engages in both a first reflexive examination of his own
situation in life as well as the tentative reentry into
school learning. Leon had completely ceased learning
in the secondary school that he attended before.
The pedagogical relationship between the teacher
and Leon is put to a severe test after a few months
when the boy not only steps out of the teacher’s
protective sphere, but suddenly switches to attacking
his teacher for several weeks in an exceedingly
It may be assumed that the young man did this to
be accepted by his classmates and admitted to the
peer group he previously half dreaded. Once this
phase ends, Leon is successful in resuming his
reflexive examination of his own life situation and also
his school learning in the previously developed form.
Fabian (16), the foster child, constantly avoids entering
into a binding pedagogical relationship. His work
habits remain erratic. Although he has the most
intellectual potential in this study group, he steadfastly
rejects learning and lets his impulses drive him in all
directions. Fabian persists in his challenging behavior
the entire time.
Max (14), abandoned by his abusive father, confronts
the teacher in a suspicious, hostile manner and during
the entire documented period cannot be motivated to
enter into a trusting educational relationship. His
pattern is one of provocation and attack. His emotional
inner life seems torn, fear- and conflict-ridden so that
all conversation about emotions and personal
experience is blocked aggressively.
He works at learning things in fits and starts as long
as the group has no more than three or four students
and the very dominant or impulsive ones are not in the
room. Before the new teacher arrived at the school,
Max stood on the ledge outside the window (4th floor)
and threatened to jump.
Patrick’s (16) behavior is gradually becoming more
stable. He slowly gains confidence in his teacher,
although, depending how he feels on a given day, he
can also act highly aggressively and insultingly
towards the teacher. In sheltered situations, where just
a few and quieter classmates are present, he begins to
grapple with his massive learning deficits and actually
practices his reading and math. Wanting to pass the
moped test spurs him on and he also accepts the
teachers help for it.
Dominik‘s (14) social behavior stabilizes soon after he
also newly enrolled at the school. He quickly comes to
trust the teacher, but also tends on occasion to behave
in a provocative manner, probably to avoid
jeopardizing his status among his peers. Initially, he
applies himself well to his weekly and daily lesson
plans, wavering now and then, but in the end
continues to develop fairly well.
The Portuguese student Tim (14), also newly enrolled
at the school when the teacher arrived at the school,
built a positive relationship with the teacher right from
the start. Still, he repeatedly heaps verbal abuse on
the teacher, but there is something playful and
ritualistic about it and it evaporates quickly.
Often, Tim smiles at the end of these swearing
tirades and will say something conciliatory designed to
mollify the teacher again. Similarly to Leon, in the
beginning he attaches himself to the teacher but not
nearly as closely. He quickly gains his footing in the
new school environment. He abides by some rules;
others he interprets loosely or circumvents.
Jonas (15) skips school completely after putting in a
brief appearance at the start of the school year. After
several attempts by the teacher to contact the parents
about this, the telephone line was disconnected.
6.2. The teacher´s actions
The social behavior of nearly all the students
throughout this class made high demands on the
teacher. Two students especially, Acatey and Leon,
monopolize his attention (see Figure 8). Complicating
the situation are the simultaneously prevailing learning
problems of the 14-16 year old youths.
As concerns students Leon, Patrick, Dominik and
Tim, the teacher manages to create a reliable
pedagogical relationship, based on which they can
then reengage with the learning process. With Acatey
this works only fitfully, with Max and Fabian hardly at
all in the recorded time frame.
The teacher continually offers an ongoing, reliable
teaching relationship and exactly the same
differentiated learning proposition. There is no
deviating from them, even in turbulent times, as when
Leon behaves in a very destructive manner toward the
The differentiated and individualized learning
opportunities in the form of daily and weekly lesson
plans provide numerous choices for the students,
exerting a positive effect on the youths‘ willingness to
learn. The teacher provides numerous chances to
participate in the lessons, also to address their own
experience and backgrounds of experience and to
express themselves. He praises and rewards positive
student behavior in school. In Leon’s case, he even
succeeds in guiding the teenager to a deeper, reflexive
examination of his educational biography and life
On the other hand, Jonas, the consistent school
truant, drops off the teacher’s radar. His name hardly
appears any more in the journal (see Figure 8).
6.3. The teacher´s reflections
This teacher is a `reflective practitioner´ (Schoen
1983) who seeks to understand what motivates his
students’ behavior. He analyzes the pedagogical and
didactic processes so that he can better calibrate his
own actions to the individual learning requirements of
his students. On his own initiative, he consults with a
coach outside the school in order to expand his own
professional action palette.
6.4. The school culture as a whole
A trusting relationship with parents and guardians is an
important pillar of this school‘s culture. A close, stable
working relationship marked by trust exists with Leon’s
mother and step father, as well as with the social
workers in the group home where the teenager lives
during the week. The whole of the work with respect to
Leon is developed cooperatively and decisions are
The contacts with the respective parents of Max,
Acatey, Patrick, Dominik and Tim are also under an
auspicious sign. However, they do not agree on
shared concepts for moving the teenagers ahead.
Fabian’s foster father initially met the teacher with
mistrust and aggressiveness, but the teacher
nonetheless manages to throw the switch leading to a
more positive working relationship.
Cooperation with the police oriented toward
intervention and prevention is not practiced for the
school as a whole. There is also no collaboration
between the school with companies, businesses or
social institutions, such as churches, associations, etc.
in the surrounding neighborhood.
Systematic behavior control is not a component of
this educational program. Still, a school-wide behavior
management strategy emerges in which group
constellations can be varied and changed within
certain parameters and selected topics in problem
behavior can be worked out situationally.
A colleague also supports the teacher by taking
Acatey along for hours at a time with her own students
to play soccer or for moped training. From time to time,
case discussions take place where the teacher can get
inputs from his colleagues for further work with his
students. In the daily course of things, the teacher
must rely on himself.
This teacher, unfazed by extreme student behavior,
proffers an educational relationship and differentiated
learning opportunities. He works consistently on
building up constructive and dismantling destructive
student behavior. He is always trying to stimulate
interest in learning on the part of students, develop
individual learning goals jointly with the teenagers and
to tailor appropriate learning materials to fit these
highly individualized learning processes.
Through individual coaching, this teacher could now
be assisted in formulating his support goals relative to
the individual students more clearly and to pursue
them even more consistently afterwards. Acatey and
Fabian urgently would need to be shown how to
master their impulses so they can function in group
settings. Max would need aid in coping with his fears
so that he can put up with having other teenagers in
Given Tim‘s and Dominik‘s relatively stable
personalities, they could be worked with more
consistently in developing disciplined learning and
work behavior. Dominik could also become a kind of
peer tutor for Max. For Patrick, a consistent external
learning environment would have to be created in
which he would not have to hide his learning
Where sufficiently good contacts exist with the
parents, but where there was as yet no sturdy working
relationship, as in the case of Acatey, Fabian, Patrick
and Tim, it seems that the problems and interests of
the parents could be explored more extensively, in
order to then involve them more intensively in the
educational furtherance of their children. Where there
is no contact at all, as with the mother of the truant
Jonas, a joint home visit by the teacher and a youth
services worker would seem to be indicated in order to
make clear the scholastic interest in the youth’s
personal and professional future.
Based on these journal entries, inter-professional
work is rather weakly developed. With respect to Leon,
it actually works very well, because here the parents,
home workers, youth services and teacher maintain
steady contacts. The principal and the teacher corps
should make it their goal to collaborate intensively
outside the school with youth services, police,
psychological, psychiatric and social pedagogical
facilities. In this way, a truant like Jonas could
eventually be reconnected to the school, and the
criminal behavior of some of these students in the
neighborhood could be curbed.
That Acatey in the final analysis only gets about 5-6
hours classtime per week, though this is
understandable in view of the stress he puts on the
learning group, nevertheless, this kind of flexible but
also truncated schooling gives rise to intervals without
rules in which there are always new violations of
boundaries and punishable acts and the youth
becomes ever more alienated from school learning.
An after-school program is lacking and should be
urgently instituted in this SEBD school. Teacher
support must be expanded; more presence and
commitment by the principal could be helpful, as could
involvement by the community surrounding the school.
The bonding pedagogy practiced within this school
culture is without doubt a great strength.
Complementary behavior management would seem
advisable, to further consolidate the behavior of
individual students, protect fellow students, and to
unburden the teacher with respect to his very high
energy expenditure and to let him teach. However, this
would require working consistently, in an engaged and
close manner, with all the extracurricular network
partners, such as youth services, the police, and
neighborhood stakeholders, etc.
Of course, the SEBD school would need to have
more personnel assigned, so that such a demanding
learning group as described here can be consistently
team-taught by two teachers.
8. Limitations and future applications
It was not this teacher’s intent to systematically treat
categories derived from theory in his journal on a daily
basis. He simply wanted to unburden his soul by
writing down what he had experienced in his work.
This gives the textual content a high degree of
subjective truth. He openly discusses the daily
difficulties that confront him every day as teacher.
A spontaneously authored journal text is naturally
subjectively colored and does not allow for
generalizations. To get as objective a picture of the
educational work at this school as possible, we would
need journals or verbal reflections from other teachers,
the students, parents and the school principal.
On the other hand, this journal gives us vivid insight
into an educator‘s daily life that is very challenging.
The journal only became available for scholarly
evaluation after the fact, when the documented
processes already were history. The teacher
communicated verbally that he would have continued
to put his pedagogical experiences to paper had a
coach given him professional feedback on it.
There might even be a chance that forms of
student-related support planning, teacher coaching,
pedagogical quality improvement and school
enhancement in the SEBD area in the future could rely
in part on journals kept by teachers.
Algozzine, B., Wang, C., and Violette, A.S. (2011).
Reexamining the relationship between academic
achievement and social behavior. Journal of
Positive Behavior Interventions 13 (1), 3-16.
Anderson-DeMello, L.F., and Hendrickson, J.M.
(2014). EBD teachers´ knowledge, perceptions, and
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ties succeed at picture making with Movable Layout
Joachim Broecher is Professor and Director of the De-
partment for the Education of Learners with Emotional,
Social and Behavioral Difficulties, at University of
Flensburg, Germany. Prior to moving into higher edu-
cation he worked in schools, for 19 years, as teacher
in specialized settings, as support teacher in regular
schools and later as school principal.
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