ADHD and Learning

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder - ADHD and Learning

Have you ever wondered what the heck ADHD has to do with problems with learning?

When was the last time you were in a classroom or training room all day?

I’ll bet that even the most studious of you felt restless at times, looking forward to a break or a change in the pace of the learning.

Ask yourself this question: “What are the top skills you need in order to be successful in the classroom?”.

Some of you may come up with answers such as

  • an enquiring mind

  • the desire to succeed

  • a good pen!

  • organise work easily

  • be able to work independently

Whereas others might say:

  • able to concentrate on tasks

  • capacity to remember facts/excellent memory

  • ability to sit still in class

  • working with others

  • pay attention during lectures

The second set of skills (above) are examples of how a person with ADHD is...

High and Low Emotional Intelligence

"Why Don't You Just Get Stuffed ?!?"  (Is this high or low emotional intelligence?)

Attitude is everything.  Don’t believe me?  Some people are blessed with a super positive attitude, but unfortunately most of us have to work to maintain one.  Attitude has played a huge part in all our development, and I believe that studying emotional intelligence and mind-set helps it to become stronger every day.  Especially if you are a teacher.

Peter Salovey and John D. Mayer coined the term 'Emotional Intelligence' in 1990 (although this may have been earlier used by Michael Beldoch in a 1964 paper).

Salovey and Mayer described it as "a form of social intelligence that involves the ability to monitor one's own and others' feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them, and to use this information to guide one's thinking and action".

To maintain a positive attitude and make it easier to monitor our own feelings and...

Pigeons and Slot Machines – Positive reinforcement

There are many interesting components to behavioural psychology, and none more so than Skinner's Operant Conditioning (positive reinforcement).  Have you ever wondered how and why some people can sit at an expensive one-arm bandit for hours on end and yet feel compelled to carry on?

In 1938 a behavioural psychologist B.F. Skinner coined the term operant conditioning which roughly means changing behaviour by the use of ‘reinforcement’, to increase the probability of a behaviour being repeated.  When you have the desired response, you reinforce it.   This is broken into several sub-classes, including the well-known term of positive reinforcement.

So you’ll often hear of teachers ‘ignoring the negative behaviour and praising the positive behaviour’.

In class, this means (possibly) that the teacher may strongly acknowledge the children who have followed instructions and are working well.

That’s great James and Catrina, you’ve got off to a good start and you're really working well.”  James and Catrina...

Don’t Slam The Door

Successful behaviour management in the classroom depends on a number of factors, but it is possible to single them out, one by one, and make positive changes to our own approach.

There’s a lot of negativity around the language which we use, in the mistaken belief that if we keep reminding students what they SHOULDN’T be doing, they will eventually get the message.

And if they don’t comply, we follow it up with discipline, stepped to the point of detentions and temporary exclusions.

I believe that the initial stages of classroom management starts with openness and expectations, a real understanding of what is important and fair.

I haven’t yet met a teenager who doesn’t have a perception of injustice, so if you make your rules ‘pointless’( in their opinion), and then match it with ‘extreme discipline’ (again, in their opinion), you’re in for a bumpy road.

Think about this. If we see signs everywhere, “No...

The Koreans ate the whole time

After a recent working visit to an international school in South Korea to provide behaviour and classroom management training, a number of points resonated with me.

In all my dealings with teachers and support staff in the UK, one of the first points of call will be the expectations of behaviour in class.

Now I know that we call them “Rules” or “Routines” or even “Classroom Culture”, but essentially they are the Do and Do Nots of behaviour in class.

Almost at the top of the standard rules (in my experience) and only pipped possibly by ‘no mobile phones’ and ‘no swearing’, comes the rule ‘no eating or drinking in class’.

I also believe that drinking in class should be a given – hydration improves memory function and retention. I recognise that bottled water is acceptable in many UK classrooms, but not in all. Why is that?

So imagine my surprise when the eating...

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