Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (MSW)


Social Work


A written survey of teachers and educational assistants in the Minneapolis Public Schools explored teaching staffs' awareness of their own emotional and behavioral responses to children with acting out behaviors and how such responses impact their effectiveness at helping children resolve their acting out behavior problems. The major findings of the study were: 1) the 18 teacher staff respondents were aware of experiencing a broad range of emotional and behavioral reactions to children with acting out behaviors and 2) most reported that they were working to modify an individually unique aspect of how their emotional responses interfered with their effectiveness as behavior managers. Most respondents were aware that misguided behavior management strategies can harm children. Teaching staff at one of the three schools appeared to be more supported by social programs in their school and in turn, seemed less overwhelmed by the challenges presented by children with acting out behaviors. Teaching staff appeared to experience more of a tendency to blame children for their behavioral problems, to assume their ability to control their behavior if they cared to do so, and to feel more frustrated and discouraged about their ability to help children with extreme behavior problems. These findings point to the need for more grounding in theories and research about children with acting out behaviors and principles and practice of behavior management. Key social work implications are the kinds of practical support requested by teaching staff: more collaboration in classrooms with behavior specialists and other adults, more supported training and practical feedback in using applied behaviorism, and more parent training and parent support services.


SC 11.MSW.1994.Beckel.B

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Social Work Commons