Tips on Instructional Strategies for Students with EBD

Instructional Strategies for Students with EBD

Ozalle M. Toms



Unfortunately, students with Emotional and Behavioral Disorders (EBD) have a tendency to have negative experiences in school. Because of this, they often lack the desire or motivation to try and succeed. In order to avoid disruptive or off-task behaviors, take some extra steps to motivate these students to actively participate in the learning environment. There are many ways to do this but the strategies listed below have been found to be effective in engaging students with academic content.

 Guided Notes: teacher-prepared hand-outs that outline or map lectures, but leave "blank" space for key concepts, facts, definitions, etc. As the lecture progresses, the learner then fills in the spaces with content. Guided notes decreases the amount of notes a student must take so they can focus on what's being said. Guided notes can easily be created by deleting one or two words per sentence from your lecture notes or PowerPoint presentation.

                  For more on how to create guided notes see:


Active Student Responding (ASR): Active student responding allows students to respond more frequently to the content and it creates an opportunity for immediate teacher feedback.

            Response Cards: these can be as simple as using card stock where one side is green and the other red. Questions can be asked such as true or false or distinguishing between to objects, principles, ideas, etc. You can also use card stock and label cards A, B, C, D and require students to answer multiple choice questions using their finger or a clothes pin to display their answers. You can also use dry erase boards and ask questions that require students to write in the  answer.

                  For more information about Response Cards see:     



            Clickers: clickers are a higher tech version of response cards. Students can use smart phones or clicker devices that have been provided by to school to answer questions displayed on the smart board.

            Choral Responding: is a teaching technique in which all of the students respond in unison to a question posed by the teacher. Choral responding is idea for curriculum content that:

  • Can be answered in short (1-3 word) responses
  • Has only a single correct answer to the question
  • Can be presented in a fast-paced manner


            For more information on ASR see:


In conclusion, one strategy may not work for all students.  Each of the strategies discussed allows for flexibility and the ability for you to adjust them to fit the needs of your students.