The relevance of the research is caused by the important study of the appropriate attitude of teachers to the emotional behaviour of students with special needs. They have to be taken into account when it is necessary to arrange to learn and provide psychological and pedagogical support for their development. The main trend in the research of the problem is to study teachers’ awareness of the importance of emotional development of primary school children with developmental disabilities needing assistance. Teachers’ consideration of the individual features of the emotional development of each student, application of the most effective means of intervention to promote a personal and developing environment, allowing to provide the available reserves of students with disabilities, will contribute to a decrease in negative tendencies in the development of their personality. In the study, we used a questionnaire developed by N.V. Shklyar aimed at studying teachers’ attitudes towards the emotional behaviour of students with individual differences. Participants in the study were teachers of special (remedial) educational institutions. The article presents the peculiarities of the way teachers respond to the emotional behaviour of their students, the impact of teachers’ emotional behaviour on students, taking into account the basic patterns and individual characteristics of emotional development of young students with intellectual disabilities when providing psychological and pedagogical support and guiding special learning.
Children with special needs may get qualified psychological and pedagogical support, which can be provided by a resource teacher. The relevance and necessity of special psychological and educational work in the learning system in the current context are due both to the external social and pedagogical environment (changing social environment, changing values and moral requirements) and to the peculiarities of the internal mental processes occurring in the inner world of students, in their minds, world outlook and attitude towards society.
The issue of correcting personality disharmony development, mood swings, imperfection of character of students with disabilities using psychological and pedagogical intervention in educational institutions is the subject of research by Lizunova and Taskina (2017), Shklyar and Gordeeva (2021), other scholars. In the authors’ opinion, the advantages of remedial influence are motivated by several markers of ill-being of the development of the younger generation. One of them is the child’s experience of emotional distress, mental stress and depression. The special education institution must pay great attention to the social position and emotional development of its students. It is necessary to think over how a teacher treats learners, how he/she treats the situations of children’s unwanted behaviour, how he/she promotes motivation to the studies, whether he/she can communicate with children.
Scientists’ research and practical experience with children with special needs show that creating a positive emotional environment with such learners is an extremely effective means of regulating their behaviour and developing their affection. To perform the main challenges of a special (remedial) educational institution, it is of great importance for teachers to take into account the peculiarities of students’ emotional development when arranging special learning. Many sides of this issue have not been studied in detail enough and require further research.
The general psychological and pedagogical training is insufficient for successful teachers’ work in the system of special (remedial) education. As Kryzhanovskaya (2018), Karynbayeva et al. (2017, 2019), Slobodchikov (2019) and others note, a teacher-speech pathologist’s job and special psychologist goes beyond traditional pedagogical activities, closely interacting and interconnecting with different types of socio-pedagogical, rehabilitation, consultation-diagnostic, psychotherapeutic, special and other activities, being made for a common purpose - to assist a person with disabilities in their life activities and their social adaptation and integration through special education. Furthermore, educators working with children with special needs should be trained both professionally and personally (Karynbaeva et al., 2017; Kryzhanovskaya, 2018; Slobodchikov, 2019). The main means of the psycho-pedagogical intervention of emotional nondevelopment of students with disabilities are sympathy, empathy of a teacher, release, educational innovation, levelling of cultural and educational opportunities of children, regulation of the infrastructure of learning (Gordeeva & Katkova, 2021; Korchagina & Korchagina, 2018).
These positions in the question have made it possible to explore the individual characteristics of emotional development upon intellectual disabilities in more detail, to approach the problem of teachers’ awareness of the importance of students’ emotional development with intellectual disabilities and to make special learning more effective.
Research by domestic and foreign specialists show that primary school children with intellectual disabilities have diverse and profound changes in their whole personality, so each of them requires a special individual approach.
The works of Jainakbaev et al. (2017) and others consider the problem of emotional behaviour of younger schoolchildren with intellectual disabilities. The authors emphasize that the development of affection of this category of students is determined by external conditions, which include psychological and pedagogical intervention and the proper arrangement of learning by teachers.
Im (2017), Cagran and Schmidt (2011), French and Chopra (2006), Farnia et al. (2018) and other specialists also point out the importance of the emotional field in life of a weak-minded child and the need for educators to consider it when assisting him/her psychologically and special developmental process.
When considering teachers’ readiness to work with children in special (remedial) education, Karynbaeva et al. (2017, 2019) point out the teachers’ skill to control their behaviour and emotional respond, as well as the ability to understand and respond sensitively to children’s feelings.
According to Nazarova (2000), Shchurkova (2017) in the interaction of teachers with students with intellectual disabilities, it is necessary to help the child to respond properly to different situations in the surrounding environment. It is impossible to assess the child’s feelings, it is impossible to require the child not to experience what he or she is experiencing. One should not wish to teach the child to suppress their emotions. On the opposite, one should teach them to direct their emotions and show their feelings properly. One should not try to keep completely the child from negative experiences in learning. It is important to remember that the child needs a dynamic character of emotions and diversity.
This fact proves the need for the more experimental and practical study of teachers’ understanding of the importance of the problem of emotional development of primary school children with intellectual disabilities.
In this study the following idea seems to be significant – teachers’ focus on the individual peculiarities of emotional development of each student will contribute to the best conditions for effective special and developmental work and reduce the negative trends in the development of personality of younger schoolchildren with intellectual disabilities.
Purpose of the Study
This study aims to examine the adequacy of teachers’ attitudes towards the emotional behaviour of students. The performance of this aim will provide a significant amount of the facts that add significantly the current scientific and practical ideas about the personal and professional readiness of teachers to work with children with intellectual disabilities and increase psychological and pedagogical assistance in the development of personality and affection of this kind of students in special education through special education.
This study was carried out based on the State Educational Institution ‘Bira village Boarding School’ in the Jewish Autonomous Region. Twenty resource teachers of the special boarding school took part in it.
The methodology makes it possible to define the level of teachers’ awareness of the importance of the problem of students’ emotional development. The teachers are asked to answer 9 questions, which are chosen and arranged in such a way as to provide the most objective results. When answering questions 1-3, a teacher shows whether he or she draws attention to the emotional behaviour of students. Questions 4-6 show how teachers respond to the emotional behaviour of their students, and questions 7-9 allow teachers to determine how their emotional behaviour influence students.
Teachers filled in a special form that allowed them to choose an answer corresponding to the intensity of this trait. The questionnaire was held individually.
While processing the results of the survey, the teachers’ answers are evaluated as follows. The answers ‘always’ and ‘often’ to questions are the statements with a positive content (1, 4, 5, 6, 7), and ‘never’ and ‘rarely’ to questions with negative content (2, 3, 8, 9), stand for a high level of emotional attitude towards students, a willingness to perceive the student’s emotional state (feeling). The answers ‘seldom’ and ‘sometimes’ show an average level of emotional attitude towards the learners, which is characterized by a neutral, indifferent attitude towards the emotional states of the learners, a tendency to situational behaviour. The answer ‘never’ provides a low level of emotional attitude towards the students, which is unwanted for the teachers of the special institution.
The results of the questionnaire survey of the resource teachers from the special institution are presented in (Table 01.).
180 answers given from the group of 20 examinees are taken as 100%.
The results of the survey show that not all teachers treat their students properly in a special institution. Accordingly, they are not always able to provide conditions conducive to the most effective development of affection and personality of students with intellectual disabilities.
Thus, 37% of the responses from teachers in special (remedial) schools were rated as high. These are those teachers who have higher special (defectology) education. Their number of years in this institution is on average from 13 to 20 years. Such practitioners are quite caring to the students, to their emotional life, show a proper attitude to the emotional behaviour of the students in their grade, and provide a favourable emotional climate in the classroom. When communicating with them, students mainly feel positive. When answering the questionnaire, teachers repeatedly note that they always take into account the emotional state of students, always notice if they are worried in class and try to find out the reason for their anxiety.
To sum up, the high-level answers of the respondents show that teachers note the need to take into account the emotional factor when organizing the educational process, which is important in the development of the personality of students with intellectual disabilities. They cognize and respond properly to the emotional behaviour of their students, differentiate their emotional states correctly; sense the emotional behaviour of their students appropriately.
During psychological and pedagogical support of students’ development, teachers realize their basic regularities and individual differences of emotional development. The subjects are also able to resolve conflict situations that arise between students in their grade independently, to feel appropriate about them and to teach children conflict-free resolution of problematic situations by field notes extract.
Consequently, such teachers have less difficulty with their students who are classmates when arranging to learn. They do not need counselling, but on the contrary, can become an example for other teachers who do not always include and introduce the emotional factor in special education.
There are 42% of responses from teachers working with students with intellectual disabilities at the mid-level. This level includes teachers who have higher or secondary education; their employment experience in the same occupation in that institution is on average from 1 to 3 years and 20 to 25 years. As the questionnaire shows, they do not always refer to and take in good sense to the emotional behaviour of their students. Answering the question about whether they feel free from the mood of their learners, teachers say that they rarely mind it. When asked what they feel about receiving a bad mark, teachers say that they do not mind it. Other teachers respond as follows, “If I give a bad mark, I will comment on it and try to convince him/her that it is the result he/she is achieving by now”.
Teachers’ answers at the intermediate level show that they do not always consider the emotional factor when organizing psycho-pedagogical support for students’ development. Teachers do not always distinguish and respond appropriately to the emotional behaviour of their students, do not always correctly differentiate their emotional states and adequately assume the emotional behaviour of their students.
Teachers and educators in special education do not always consider the basic patterns and individual characteristics of their students’ emotional development, are not always able to resolve conflicts that arise between students in their grade and respond to them adequately and need experienced teachers’ help.
What is more, teachers in special education institutions also point out that students with intellectual disabilities find it much more difficult to elicit the necessary emotional response due to their developmental differences. Teachers point out that learners do not differentiate sufficiently their emotional states related to learning activities.
Therefore, this group has difficulty with organizing special education. They require child guidance, which would be aimed at studying the individual differences of students in their grade, expanding the range of teachers’ emotional states, understanding the influence of the emotional states of the teacher in the relationship with students, understanding what emotional states prevail in the school and what are the reasons for them, learning the environmental study, the expressive impact, development of reflection skills, observation of the emotional expressions, and the development of the ability to understand students’ feelings.
21% of responses from special school teachers stand for a low level of emotional attitude towards their students. This group mostly consists of teachers with either less than one year of experience or with a longer experience but with no special (defectology) education. Such teachers rarely concentrate on the emotional states of students, treat the emotional expressions of students rather calmly, do not refer to them and do not show vivid positive emotions themselves. Communicating with such teachers can harm students’ emotional development. When asked whether they get nervous when other people are present in class, teachers say, “I do not get nervous more often, why harm my health as I am an elderly person” or they say, “I rarely get nervous, I know everything anyway, let young people learn from me”.
To summarize, the answers of respondents at a low-level show that teachers do not take the emotional factor into account when organizing special education. Some of them have theoretical knowledge of the problem, but are not able to include it in practice; others are convinced that the aspects of affection do not matter in arranging education, upbringing and development of students with intellectual disabilities.
Finally, such teachers need consulting and methodological assistance, which is supposed to be carried out at methodological associations, consultations, training, specially organized classes in group and individual forms.
After surveying teachers individually, a clarifying conversation was held, which showed that most of them put special stress on the identification and affect disturbance correction of students, conformance with the defensive and teacher training routine, consistency and continuity in the specialists’ work.
Teachers in special (remedial) institutions emphasize that it is important when organizing learning not only to take into account the particularities of the emotional development of each student but also to promote the best conditions for effective special and developmental work. They also pay particular attention to the careful planning of all activities and the regular observance of a gentle daily routine.
To conclude, when studying the level of teachers’ consciousness of the importance of the issue of emotional development of students with special needs, we claim that the emotional factor which is important for the development of student's personality is not always taken into account in the special institution in learning. However, psychological and pedagogical support of the development of children with disabilities should involve knowledge and consideration of the basic patterns and individual characteristics of the emotional development of students. The data obtained will be taken into account in further consultations and methodological work with teachers to study the peculiarities of the development of affection of students and the consideration of the emotional factor in special education.
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03 June 2022
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Shklyar, N. V., Gordeeva, V. V., Korchagina, L. N., Shapovalova, O. E., & Karynbaeva, O. V. (2022). Teachers' Consciousness Of Importance Of Emotional Development Of Children With Special Needs. In N. G. Bogachenko (Ed.), AmurCon 2021: International Scientific Conference, vol 126. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 860-866). European Publisher. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2022.06.95