Children with behavior problems: Improving elementary school teachers' skills to keep these children in class

Miriam Schiff*, Berta BarGil

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


This paper describes an evaluation study of two workshops for elementary school teachers aimed at improving their skills for coping with the behavior problems in children. The ability to hold these children helps to prevent them from dropping out of school and avoids their referral to special education programs. The workshops integrated two intervention strategies: (1) Behavior modification skills and (2) Experiential work on the feelings that the misbehaved child evokes in teachers. We hypothesized that the workshops would improve teachers' skills for coping with the children who misbehave. We obtained evaluations of the first workshop from 17 elementary school teachers from one school who participated in the intervention. Evaluations of the second workshop were obtained from 57 teachers from different schools (25 took part in the intervention and 32 belonged to a control group). The hypothesis was fully supported by the results, both in terms of subjective and objective measures. Specifically, for the first workshop, the participants' evaluation of the contribution of the workshop to their level of skills and their ability to cope with misbehaved children was higher in the follow-up than at the end of the workshop. In the second workshop, evaluations of the teachers' skills and their ability to cope with children who misbehave were higher in the post stage, both relatively to the pre stage of the workshop, and to a control group. Evaluation of emotional variables during the second workshop, however, showed no significant change. The discussion of the results addresses the findings of evaluation studies as well as theories and findings regarding the antecedents and the consequences of children's misbehavior.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)207-234
Number of pages28
JournalChildren and Youth Services Review
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2004


  • Behavior modification
  • Children misbehavior
  • Experiential group work
  • School
  • Teachers' feelings


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