ADHD in the Classroom
Melinda Macht-Greenberg, PhD
Teaching students with ADHD can be an exciting adventure for both teachers and kids. Students with ADHD struggle with executive functions and no two students with ADHD are the same. First, ADHD is a developmental condition. This means that students will look different, and their skills will change, as they grow and mature. Second, there are many different executive functions and everyone with ADHD has a unique pattern of strengths and challenges in executive functioning. The specific executive functions at issue, and the extent of interference in those skills, is what makes for unique differences in students with ADHD.
However, there are commonalities among most students with ADHD which revolve around struggles in the ability to plan, modulate, and execute a task or strategy. The best thing educators can do to support students with ADHD is to teach and reinforce these skills and abilities.
The 3P-I-E approach aims at teaching students to be Planners, Problem Solvers, Philosophers, Investigators, and Explorers. Broadly speaking, teachers can support students by guiding and modeling methods for planning and strategizing. Teachers can support the practice of these models and reflect with their students on how effective the strategy was in accomplishing their tasks or goals. Teaching students problem-solving skills helps them to figure out what to do in situations, rather than needing adult support or answers. Many children lack the necessary problem-solving strategies and become stuck rather than seeking creative solutions. Next, in teaching students to be philosophers, we emphasize the importance of asking WHY something occurs? Facts are important but are easy to find in a quick internet search. But, understanding why something is important involves more critical thinking skills which students will need as they get older. Lastly, utilizing active teaching methods of investigation and exploration helps students to develop and execute plans to learn about a topic on a deeper level. Active learning strategies and project-based assignments are more engaging for students and require significantly more investment than passive learning (aka listening to lectures).
By employing these educational teaching strategies, students will gain skills and confidence for success. To learn more, click on the Contact page to arrange a consultation or workshop with Dr. Macht-Greenberg.