Associate Professor of Special Education
College of Education
Stephen W. Smith’s research focuses on two significant areas of special education: classroom interventions for students with emotional and behavioral disorders (EBD) and school-wide applications of effective discipline procedures.
Smith’s research is based on a cognitive-behavioral model that engages the relationship between a student’s internal cognitive events and overt behavior change through teaching strategies that promote self-regulation, guide performance, and reduce inappropriate behavior. He is currently serving as the principal investigator of a three-year federally funded research grant to study, using multiparadigmatic frameworks and methodologies, ways to reduce student aggression and chronic classroom disruption.
Smith and his colleagues are investigating the acquisition, maintenance and generalization of cognitive-behavioral interventions with students in EBD programs, as well as with regular education students at-risk for and with behavioral problems in regular education programs. The study focuses on the effectiveness of cognitive-behavioral interventions to improve fourth and fifth grade students’ ability to regulate their own behavior, and to provide socially appropriate strategies to counter chronically disruptive and aggressive behavior patterns.
In a separate study conducted over the past five years, Smith used multiple inquiry methods to examine the effectiveness of school-wide conflict resolution programs through a grant from the U.S. Department of Education. Smith and colleagues conceptualized and conducted this research in three middle schools with thousands of middle school students. Research results show that school-wide programs can facilitate student learning about effective and constructive resolution strategies to resolve conflicts that might otherwise have resulted in punitive disciplinary measures.