emotional behavior disorder, EBD, music, challenging behavior, violence against teachers, preservice, in-service, behavior support


Students with disabilities, some with emotional and behavior disorders, are included in almost all elementary music classes. Students with emotional behavior disorders are one of the greatest challenges for teachers. To be effective, teachers must develop strategies and inclusive practices specifically geared towards intervention. With the quantity of students served and only limited class time with students, the music teacher is often unaware of the unique needs of specific special learners. Music teacher preparation has been inadequate in training teachers for inclusion. Elementary music educators rarely have outside support to deal with classroom challenges as they serve students with disabilities and at-risk students. Music teacher training is focused on content, not behavior management. This study examined the perceptions of randomly selected elementary music educators who were members of MENC: The National Association for Music Education regarding their preparedness to effectively manage five areas of severe behavior often exhibited by students with emotional behavior disorders: withdrawal, impulsivity, argumentative behavior, aggression towards peers, and aggression towards the teacher. The researcher devised a 39 item online survey instrument based on supporting literature. The survey was given to randomly selected participants. Two hundred sixty-nine elementary music educators from across the United States completed the survey providing information on incidence frequency, preparedness, training in behavior management, and the amount of behavior support available. Elementary music teachers felt prepared to handle impulsivity (58.2%), and argumentative behavior (55.7%). They were not prepared for withdrawal (50.8%), aggression towards peers (50.9%), and least prepared to handle aggression towards the teacher (58.1%).Over 94% of the music teachers had adult assistance less than 25% of the time and 45.9% never had adult assistance with included classes. More than 74% of the teachers indicated that they have adult assistance with self-contained special education classes less than 25% of the time and 35.7% never having adult assistance with those classes. Forty-six point two percent of the music teachers had no behavior specialist available or were unaware if one was available. Only 3.7% of the respondents felt they had all the support they needed. Thirty-six point one percent of the music teachers had no crisis plan in case of an eruption of severe behavior in their classes.


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Graduation Date



Cross, Lee


Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


College of Education


Child, Family, and Community Sciences

Degree Program

Curriculum and Instruction








Release Date

June 2008

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)