Teacher Tips: Dealing With Impulsive Behaviors From ADHD Students in the Classroom

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 Dealing with Impulsive Behaviors: One of the hallmarks of children with attention deficits is the tendency to act impulsively (acting before thinking through the ramifications of behavior). Behaviorally, this manifests itself in a lack of understanding of cause and effect. Research also suggests that these students can often verbalize the rules in place for behavior but have difficulty internalizing them and translating them into thoughtful behavior. Difficulties in delaying gratification also add to the impulsivity. Some clinicians believe that this behavioral disinhibition (poor regulation and inhibition of behavior), rather than their ability to pay attention, is the primary manifestation of attention deficits and is more likely to discriminate these children from others.

By having students think “out loud” when they are problem-solving, the teacher will gain insights into their reasoning style and the process will slow them down before they respond impulsively. This will provide information about how they “see the world” and enable the teacher to begin to restructure inaccurate perceptions. Train your student’s teachers and other adults how to do this to provide an on-going technique in the classroom setting, where critical incidents often occur. Quite often, students will continue to have difficulty with certain types of interactions on a regular basis; difficulty in taking turns, over-interpreting others’ remarks as hostile, personalizing others’ actions excessively, and misreading social cues. With the help of your student, his teacher, and his trusted peers, common problematic themes can be identified. Role play hypothetical interactions involving these behaviors, preferably with supportive peers, identifying and practicing positive alternative responses.

Have your student practice these responses during the school day and have him and others give you feedback on their success. Identifying critical incidents that occur during the day will provide insights for program planning. The technique of “Stop-Think-Talk-Do” is central to many cognitive-behavioral interventions for students with attentional teaches the student how to “stop” before acting impulsively, “think” about the cause and effect relationships of his intended behavior, “say” or verbalize to themselves or others what they will do, and “do” the chosen behavior. Again, the purpose of the technique is to slow down response. Encourage thoughtful responding and decrease impulsivity by waiting 10 to 15 seconds to receive responses during whole group instruction. Keep the classroom behavior rules simple and clear. Have the class agree on what the rules should be. Define and review classroom rules each day. Implement a classroom behavior management system. Actively reinforce desired classroom behaviors. Use self-monitoring and self-reinforcement on-task behavior during independent work time. Use a kitchen timer to indicate periods of intense independent word and reinforce the class for appropriate behavior during this period. Start with brief periods (5 to 10 minutes) and gradually increase the period as the class demonstrates success. When necessary, develop contracts with an individual student and her/his parents to reinforce a few specific behaviors. Set hourly, daily, weekly, or monthly goals depending on the reinforcement needs of the specific student. Provide frequent feedback on the student’s progress toward these goals. Provide a changing array of backup rewards or privileges so that students do not “burn out” on a particular system. For example, students can earn tickets for a daily or weekly raffle for the display of positive behavior.

To improve out of the classroom behavior, allow the class to earn a reward based on he compliments they receive on their behavior from other teachers, lunchroom staff, playground aides and principals. Avoid giving the whole class negative consequences based on the ADHD child’s behavior. The ADHD child, as well as the whole class, can benefit from implementation of social skills curriculum for the entire class. Modeling and requiring the children to use a systematic method of talking through classroom conflicts and problems can be particularly valuable for the ADHD child to implement this, teachers are referred to the literature on cognitive-behavioral approaches to developing the child’s self-talk and problem solving. Praise specific behaviors. For example, “I like how you wrote down all your assignments correctly,” rather than “Good boy!” Use visual and auditory cues as behavioral reminders. For example, have two large jars at the front of the room, with one filled with marbles or some other object. When the class is behaving appropriately, move some marbles to the other jar and let the students know that when the empty jar is filled they can earn a reward. Frequently move about the room so that you can maximize you degree of proximity control. When appropriate, give students choices about several different activities that could choose to work on one at a time. With students who can be quite volatile and may initially refuse negative consequences (such as refusing to go to time-out), set a kitchen timer for a brief period (1 to 2 minutes) after refusal has occurred. Explain to the child that the child can use the two minutes to decide if she/he will go to time out on her/his own or if more serious consequence must be imposed. Several experienced teachers insist this method has successfully reduced the extent to which they have had to physically enforce certain negative consequences with students and seems to de-escalate the situation. 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.

New Teachers – Lecture Tips That Will Keep Students Interested

You’ve all seen the Charlie Brown episode where the teacher is lecturing and all the students hear is “wa wa wa wa wa wa.” We remember watching that as kids. Unfortunately, seeing this as kids taught us that this was what school was like. Now, as we are adult teachers, we are constantly afraid of becoming the teacher from Charlie Brown. Well, what if we could avoid this? What if we could use this knowledge to create inspiring and organized lectures using Best Practices? I have developed 6 tips for you to help you in creating fun and memorable lectures that will leave your students with long lasting knowledge.

1. Create an objective. We have heard this before from our administrators. Often times we hear this when the administrators come to observe us in the classroom. Write your objective on the board! Say it at the beginning of class! Say it at the end of class! Well, they’re right! By telling the students what they are to be learning and why they are learning, they are more apt to pay attention and way more apt to remember what you’re talking about. It will also help them when coming up with what they should actually be writing down.

2. Have your students do something productive. Your students should not be just sitting there. If you are engaged in best practices, your students should be doing something active with their learning while they are listening to your lecture. More often than not, this means that they will need to be taking notes. But give them structure. Maybe this meaning Cornell notes or maybe it’s powernotes. It’s your call!

3. Break it up. Break your lecture up into different segments. I would say no more than 4 or 5. This way, those who have difficulties processing long bits of information will be able to compartmentalize what you are telling them easier.

4. Separate the sections with different activities. Throughout your lecture, break up your talking by having the students do different activities. For example, have students turn to a near by partner and repeat the top 5 parts of the lecture they have heard so far. Doing this will help them to remember because they are actively participating.

5. Have them repeat through questioning. As you lecture, don’t just talk. Question your students. Question them on different background knowledge that they will know information about. Tapping into this will help them to succeed in acquiring new knowledge.

6. Wrap it up effectively. At the end of your lecture have your students do something with the information. Perhaps its a quick little quiz on the board. Perhaps they will write a paragraph summary.

Whatever you lecture about, make sure to follow these 6 tips to have your students remain actively engaged. This will increase their knowledge and participation. No Charlie Brown Effect here!

New Teacher Tips on Teaching ESL Students From Kenneth Beare’s ESL Guide

ESL guide for About.com, Kenneth Beare talks about his work as an ESL (English as a second language) teacher and educational writer.

Dorit: Kenneth, thanks so much for participating in today’s interview. What is your background in ESL?

Kenneth: I worked as an ESL teacher for 20 years. I started teaching in Germany in 1984 and continued in New York City for the New York Association teaching Russian immigrants of the former Soviet Union vocational English, as well as in Italy in the 90s.

For the past ten years I’ve been developing English language teaching materials for special courses administrative purposes. I haven’t been teaching for the past five years. I also work as a content creator and consultant for English language development products.

With regard to my work at About.com, I was lucky to be at the right place at the right time. Since 1997, I’ve developed thousands of pages of curriculum free of charge for ESL teachers and students to use.

Dorit: Your answer actually leads me to my next question. What are some of the primary needs and concerns of ESL students and teachers who visit your site?

Kenneth: 60-70% of the students want to improve their communicative skills in speaking. They also come with a more traditional mindset when it comes to learning English and love the traditional quizzes on a wide variety of topics.

The ESL teachers are using industry specific dialogues such as specific situational content at the dentist office which has become a huge hit. ready to go lesson plans are also very popular with teachers. I also have requests for EFL learning and teaching resources and I will point people to those resources.

Dorit: How do you see the development of online language teaching and learning?

Kenneth: I’ve been involved in a number of startups and I’m amazed by the lack of entrepreneurial spirit with regard to online language teaching. Teachers need to be aware of how their online personalities come across. You have to engage and help and create a relationship. That is where I see the future of online language training moving.

On the other hand, students expect teaching to be traditionally taught online. With regard to my online content development, I’m not sure if what I’m doing always makes sense pedagogically. We will be at a turning point ten years down the road as people grow into the technologies.

Dorit: Yes, it’s certainly is interesting food for thought. What are you thoughts about teaching needs common to both EFL and ESL teachers?

Kenneth: Often the meeting point between EFL and ESL is when teachers teach vocational materials involving shared materials and setting similar instructional goals. Language chunks and standard phrases, and particular jargon to various areas are all part of this development of global English. The cultural consideration of the status of English should also be taken into consideration as English is used more and more as a lingua franca. It is also important to take other issues into consideration such as needs analysis as students recognize their own particular learning goals. For example, are they learning English to successfully perform in a job?

The needs analysis is very important and that dictates your curriculum, your teaching purpose and finally, determines success.

Dorit: The same needs analysis is also important for teachers, right?

Kenneth: Yes. You need to have instructional objectives in order to achieve goals and in different cultural classrooms, teachers need to think about this. Adding materials and completely going off on your own shows on one hand that you are a motivated teacher but too often, teachers do not set appropriate cultural standards for the needs of their students. For example, do students need and want to learn about British culture in an EFL setting?

In high school, a lot of students wanted English learning material on a global level that opened itself to contextual communication such as discussing what is happening in Iraq now.

Dorit: Well we’re out of time for now but I’m sure your information will be very helpful to ESL and EFL teachers and students if it hasn’t been already. Well, thanks so much Kenneth for your time and participation in this interview. I always enjoy speaking to passionate teachers and educational writers like you.

Kenneth: Thank you, Dorit.

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.