OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi School of Education is offering a specialized program to prepare teachers to become skilled interventionists in emotional behavior disorders, or EMD.
The 12-hour EMD Program includes four graduate-level courses and is designed to help meet a rising demand for educators in this area statewide.
“There is a huge need for teachers who are knowledgeable of emotional behavioral disorders and the support services required for success,” said Denise A. Soares, assistant professor and coordinator of special education at UM. “We’re seeking teachers who have classroom experience and want to help children who display at-risk behaviors. Students with emotional behavior disorders have the poorest educational, behavioral, and social outcomes of any disability group. It is imperative that we train teachers how to provide accommodations, interventions and supports for this group of students.”
According to data from the Mississippi Department of Education, the state has experienced a 57 percent increase in students diagnosed with emotional behavior disorders and an 8 percent decline in EMD-licensed teachers since 2009.
The UM program prepares teachers to promote academic success among students who struggle with emotional disabilities, a general term for any number of disorders that can atypically affect a child’s behavior.
Scholarly research shows that students diagnosed with an EMD often have unfavorable academic, behavioral and social outcomes and are more likely to drop out of school or be incarcerated, Soares said.
By using research-based intervention and teaching techniques, educators can help at-risk students improve behaviors in a constructive and healthy way. Educators who complete the program will qualify to receive an add-on license endorsement in EMD intervention from the state.
“Our university is committed to providing quality teacher preparation at all levels,” said Susan McClelland, chair of the UM Department of Teacher Education. “There’s a growing demand for EMD intervention and our vision is to equip teachers with research-based tools to make a positive impact in this area.”
The new curriculum can be completed independently in one year through night and weekend classes or be applied toward a master’s or specialist degree in education at the university. The EMD Program requires the following three-hour courses:
– Education and Psychology of Individuals with Behavior Problems
– Positive Behavior Support
– Applied Behavior Analysis and Management
– Practicum and Field Experiences with Exceptionalities
Offered at UM’s Oxford campus, the program requires a current Mississippi teaching license and two years’ relevant experience for admission. Those seeking to complete the program outside a graduate degree program must apply to the UM Graduate School as a non-degree-seeking student.
“We believe that teachers can have a positive impact in this area,” Soares said. “By providing them with the resources to intervene in a school setting, they can lead to drastically improved circumstances in later life.”
For more information about UM’s EMD Program visit http://education.olemiss.edu.