Teacher Tips: Improving Social Skills in ADHD Students

Thank you to all of our professional educators who dedicate themselves to our children! We know how difficult it can be working with ADHD children, so here are your teacher tips for the week, brought to you by the ADHD Information Library and ADDinSchool.com. This is a sampling of over 500 classroom interventions for your use at http://www.ADDinSchool.com. Here are some tips on Improving Social Skills: Provide a safe environment for the child. Make sure the child knows you are his friend and you are there to help him. Treat him with respect. Never belittle him in front of his peers. Both he and the other children know that he stands out, and if the teacher belittles the child, then the rest of the children will see that as permission from the teacher to belittle the child as well.

Students with attentional problems experience many difficulties in the social area, especially with peer relationships. They tend to experience great difficulty picking up other’s social cues, act impulsively, have limited self-awareness of their effect on others, display delayed role-taking ability, and over-personalize other’s actions as being criticism, and tend not to recognize positive feedback. They tend to play better with younger or older children when their roles are clearly defined. These students tend to repeat self-defeating social behavior patterns and not learn from experience. Conversationally, they may ramble and say embarrassing things to peers. Areas and time-periods with less structure and less supervision, such as the playground and class parties, can be especially problematic. Enlisting the support of peers in the classroom can greatly enhance your student’s self-esteem. Students with good social awareness and who like to be helpful can be paired with him. This pairing can take the form of being a “study buddy”, doing activities/projects, or playing on the playground. Cross-age tutoring with older or younger students can also have social benefits. Most successful pairing is done with adequate preparation of the paired student, planning meetings with the pair to set expectations, and with parental permission. Pairing expectations and time-commitments should be fairly limited in scope to increase the opportunity for success and lessen the constraints on the paired students. Students with attentional problems tend to do well in the cooperative group instructional format. Small student groupings of three to five members, in which the students “sink or swim” together to complete assignments/projects, encourage students to share organizational ideas and responsibilities, and gives an ideal setting for processing interpersonal skills on a regular basis. Small “play groups” of two to four students can help your student to develop more effective social skills. These groups are most effective if socially competent peers are willingly included in the group. The group should be focused on activities that stress interaction and cooperation. Board games, building projects, and sessions that promote frequent verbal interactions provide the greatest opportunity for learning appropriate social skills and controlling impulsivity. Your student would benefit most when the target social skills are identified and practiced with them prior to the activity and processed after the activity.

Many students lack friends to be with outside of the school-setting. It can be beneficial to strategize with your student and his parent on developing a “friendship plan” for the home setting. Sometimes the goal of establishing one special friendship is ambitious and sufficient. This could include steps of identifying friend possibilities that might be available/accepting, practice in making arrangements using the phone, planning an activity or sleep-over that is structured/predictable, and tips on how to maintain friendships over time. A subtle way for your student to learn social skills is through the use of guided observation of his peers on the playground. Accompany them on to the playground and point out the way other students initiate activities, cooperate in a game, respond to rejection, deal with being alone, etc. For many students, thirty minutes on the playground is beyond their capability to maintain peer relationships successfully. If necessary, break up the recess into ten minutes of activity, a ten minute check-in with the teacher/playground supervisor, then another ten minute activity period.

Restricting the area available for your student during recess can increase the contact with adult supervision and lessen the complexity of social decision-making. This can be done privately with your student prior to recess. Many students welcome this manner of simplifying their social interactions during this period of low structure. It is helpful to meet with your student prior to his lunchroom/playground period to review his plan for recess activity and with whom he will sit during lunch. Have him ask peers in advance of the recess block to do a certain activity with him. Process the activity with your student after recess and make suggestions for the following day. Hopefully these will help the ADHD students in your classroom to be more successful. You can learn more about Attention Deficit Hyperactivity disorder at the ADHD Information Library.

Confidence Building Tips 101 – For New Teachers – What Works and What Doesn’t

When new teachers experience a difficult or challenging classroom experience, they quickly loose touch because that one 15 minute segment of an unsuccessful lesson simply tore them down. They quickly forget all those positive classroom teaching experiences. Since new teachers lack the confidence seasoned teachers work hard to establish, it then becomes very hard for new teachers to rebuild a positive flow of teaching energy. The worst thing for a new teacher to do is to start a Monday by bringing a bundle of nerves and and jitters into the classroom. It becomes a no win situation.

When you are able to shift the focus away from yourself and to your students, you are able to focus on true teaching moments of HERE and NOW. Even in the early Monday morning hours after you’ve prepared a well-prepared lesson and finished marking all those papers yet find yourself absorbing in a series of “what if’s,” stop yourself and ask: What is the most important thing my students need right now? How can I effectively cater to them?

It’s hard to do this because much of what happens in the classroom is often determined by a new teacher’s personality. But there are tips and tricks of the trade that you can use RIGHT NOW that will help you adapt to new classroom situations and develop the confidence you need.

New Teacher Confidence Building Tips

Keep a fresh ongoing perspective: If you find yourself nervously dwelling on any one aspect of classroom management (which is typically the case with newer teachers) stop and ask yourself: what were my students able to do well? What went successfully? Fifteen minutes of chaos may not really be chaos at all unless you choose to look at it in this way.

Exercise Flexibility- Adjusting to new classroom situations is a long process and requires an introspective mindset. what didn’t succeed? What could you have done differently helps new teacher realize that there are numerous other ways to deal with a problem and that he or she isn’t necessarily the cause of it.

Begin each lesson anew as if you just taught it for the first time –

Don’t take anything for granted – Assume your students know nothing and this will help you create more engaging lesson plans. I suppose the same principle can also be applied to life.

So what are you waiting for? Start taking charge in the classroom today!

Recruitment Into Initial Teacher Education and Training: A Caribbean Perspective

The need to recruit teachers into Initial Teacher Education and Training (ITET) is a worldwide occurrence. However, for the Caribbean region, the challenge is made worse when looked at in light of the fact that trained Caribbean teachers are being recruited to serve in other countries and regions.

Mike Baker, the British Broadcasting Cooperation's (BBC) education correspondent in his 2002 article entitled United Kingdom 'poaching' Jamaican teachers, pointed out that between 2001 and 2002 six hundred teachers (600) left the island to work abroad, mostly in the United States and the United Kingdom. During that same period, the United Kingdom government issued six thousand (6,000) work permits to teachers from outside the European Community.

The global demands for teachers including those from the Caribbean offer the region both a challenge and an opportunity. A challenge in that new teachers need to be attracted, recruited, educated and trained and an opportunity, in that, trained teachers who seek economic independence can achieve it by practicing their craft in an economically buoyant community.

While there are many strategies for encouraging the recruitment of people into ITET, given the social, cultural, political and educational context of each Caribbean state, it is not easy to discern what will and will not work. Pulling on the results of a number of regional studies, here are some suggestions.

1. Undertake innovative and strategic approaches to policy development in the area of ​​ITET. Policies are needed that would direct actions and guide innovations, thus boosting people trust in the process and product of ITET.

2. Formulate policies to address the nature and kinds of academic qualifications offered and the standards at which local teacher education and training institutions operate.

3. Develop policies on the process of recruitment into ITET and on the promotion of teaching and the identification of appropriate target populations for recruitment.

4. Offer competitive and internationally recognized bachelor's programs in education.

5. Develop a clearly articulated alternative paradigm for career structure and its underlying values ​​in the region, coupled with efforts to improve the economic status of teachers. In countries where teaching is thought of as extremely important, teachers are relatively well compensated hence teaching is viewed as a relatively well-paying job, the supply of new teachers is high and there is a low-level of attrition.

6. Enable ITET programs to be framed in a reflective model of teaching which encourages the development of skills and knowledge in content areas, professional studies, and practical teaching, grounded in the real world of the school and classroom.

How to Teach Ethics Education

The quality of life depends on the quality of who you are. What you actually become. It all boils down to how morally good and ethical a person is. So the question is how do we make every one become a good moral person? Since ancient times we recognize the importance of teaching moral values. We teach it the same way we teach math and science by providing the knowledge of good and bad. One very important factor that the world of education has still not completely woken up to, in spite of all these thousands of years of research, is that as there are two kinds of intelligences – regular and emotional – both require a different set of rules for education. Emotional intelligence education alters the actual physical infrastructure of the brain. Emotional intelligence education starts from the womb. And continues through hugs and kisses and a nurturing childhood environment. By the time the child is 6 years old the moral character traits are well set for the rest of the person’s life.

So to really insure moral education we must learn how to educate the individual at the fetus and the child stage. Thus we must put together templates and manuals for future parents, current pregnant ones and those with little kids.

Please consider the following:

There was a king who was very troubled because his people were very poor. He did not know what to do. He heard of this kingdom where people were very prosperous and lived in mansions and even marble palaces. So he went to the king of this place and asked him how they were able to live like this. The king told him that it was very simple he just passed a building code which everyone in his kingdom had to follow. So our king came back and passed a law that everyone must build a marble palace!

Now in his kingdom most could afford a straw hut, others could afford a log cabin. Still others could afford a cement mansion and a few could afford a marble palace. So the kings law went into effect and nothing changed. Just a few marble palaces came up. Except for the select few the rest were incapable of building marble palaces.

It is the same when it comes to morality. We have moral laws and we expect everyone to follow them. We spend billions of dollars on crime prevention and containment yet nothing changes.

The only way to change and reduce crime is by changing the physical quality of the brain that generates the moral compass of the individual. Thus ethics education means not just telling people what is good and what is bad. It is about creating the right moral infrastructure generating brain.

The brain has four basic levels as follows:

1) Premature brain – (I have quantified it as -2) Those stuck on this level have the moral values of a snake. In their mind they are everything and everyone else is nothing. They are above the law and everyone else is below the law. No amount of moral education is going to change them. Punishment is the only deterrence and even this they often ignore. Their physically brain is too far morally gone.

2) Immature brain – (I have quantified it as -1). Those stuck on this level are corrupt. In their mind they deserve the best, by hook or by crook. Current ethics education will not change them much as their moral values are generated by an entrenched selfishness producing brain infrastructure. We have to wake up to the fact that we will have to change this brain infrastructure.

3) Mature brain – (I have quantified it as +1). Those stuck at this level are driven by a trophy self image as in ‘I am the best’. This is the group that is the easiest to change. But not by the current way of moral education which practically amounts to pleading with people to do good. The trophy self image will have to be gotten rid of and replaced with a selfless self.

4) Super mature brain – (I have quantified it as +2). The brain at this developed level already generates a selfless self so moral education is not required for this group.

Just like a man with the resources of building a log cabin cannot become a marble palace owner; a man with a -2, -1. or even +1 brain can ever become morally +2. No amount of current ethics education can make a -2 brain generate a +2 brain power. The only way real moral values can take root is by making the brain +2. And this requires brain therapy more than anything else. It requires brain changing education. The sooner we wake up to this the faster we will create a morally healthy society. Current moral education amounts to like our local pastor telling us to live virtuous lives. We hear it and applaud it and then go back to our old ways.

Notice how without exception all books on self help talk of ‘7/9 steps. There is just one goal/step as far as self help is concerned – become wise. Thus ethics education is more like self transformation education. It is more precisely about making ones self +2! It is more in line with self help education. Then again not like the current self help education. My main field of work is wisdom. And as philosophy is considered the love of wisdom which means one of the main goals of philosophy is to try to find out what is wisdom. Most experts on wisdom are still stuck where they define wisdom by its attributes and are still struggling to define wisdom.

As the wisdom potential is there in every brain just like blood and as absence of wisdom means presence of ignorance (where actually there is a mixture of the two) so every life is affected by lack of wisdom, from individual to group to country, so the stakes are very high. In fact much of the present mess in the world today from the economic crisis to the problems of war can all be traced to lack of wisdom. So if I can wake up main stream education/science to the correct path to ethics education, I think my work will be done.

Philosophy, religion and science in my view are much more connected then we realize! I have found that at the highest stage of the mind/brain development the quality of the character traits (as defined by religion, philosophy and science) of every person are all one and the same!!! Religion wants you to be altruistic, philosophy wants you to be wise/altruistic and science/education wants you to be emotionally super mature which is the same! So wisdom is the common thread in all of them. Thus we need philosophers, religious leaders and scientists/educationists all working together to create ethics education that transforms the brain to +2.

Tips for Teaching History With Historical Fiction Movies or Books

Teaching history from a textbook can become boring for both the student and the teacher at times. When learning about the past is reduced to memorizing meaningless names and dates, it becomes drudgery for everyone. But sometimes that's all that the curriculum provides. And teachers are left with an overwhelming task of getting a classroom of bored students engaged in unmotivating topics.

One way to spark interest is to use entertainment in the forms of historical fiction books or movies. And some video documentaries are high quality enough to also fit in this category. When you add the human element of emotion, fear, risk, and intrigue, you transport the student into that world to feel those feelings or experience vicariously the thrills or anguish of the moment. Then instead of random memorization of inconsequential details, the student can't help but remember the important facts, the dates, the people, and the scenario of particular historical significance that have been encountered through media.

Movies are easiest to use in the classroom, since the entire class can experience the story all at the same time. Rather than watch it all in one sitting, consider splitting the movie into segments, and have a purpose behind each segment. Allow ample time for historically-based discussion on each segment in the same class period immediately following the clip. Ask factual questions that relate to the scenes, such as "In what year did this happen?" or "How many years after [a major war or another significant event] did the movie take place?" or something similar. Questions with definite right or wrong answers are good and get people thinking.

Beyond the factual questions, also plan on questions that would involve the students on a more human, emotional level. Questions like "What was going on in the world that may have motivated the main character to make those choices?" or "How did people think about that situation that is different than our society today would view that same situation?". These types of questions do not necessarily have right or wrong answers, but encourage the students to delve deeper into what was really going on in the world at that particular time and how people thought about life issues. Sometimes it can lead into discussion of what kind of technology was available at the time (Ie, telephone or telegraph, automobile or stagecoach, etc.), when those technologies came into existence, and how things may have been different if other technologies were available . At other times, discussion can revolve around what parts of the movie did not line up with the true history of the time period.

Historical fiction books provide the same types of motivation, but usually need to be used in a different way since an entire class cannot read the same thing together all at the same time. The closest scenario is if the class reads the same chapters for homework, and then the same types of discussion used with movies can still apply. If the students are reading a variety of book choices from a reading list the teacher has provided, feedback is usually restricted to a homework writing assignment or a class presentation of some kind.

Not only are history and historical themes being taught with these methods, but the student is also encouraged to analyze data. Critical thinking comes into play during class discussions. With this in mind, all students' input should be respected, and if a student's statements need to be corrected at any point, a teacher should take care to do so in a way that does not demean or embarrass. Treating all classroom input with respect makes other students feel confident that they can also speak up without fear of humiliation if they get something wrong. Opening the door for class discussions can draw even the most reluctant student into the subject being taught, and entertaining movies and books provide a great doorway to do so.