Refocusing the Deficit: Better Equipping Educators For ADHD-Diagnosed Children

Published: 2020/09/09 Number of words: 3954

Introduction: Aim/Objective
To design a seminar both current and of practical use in the training of teachers; new or experienced.
Proposed Seminar Title:
Refocusing the Deficit: Better Equipping Educators For ADHD-Diagnosed Children
Theoretical Basis for Proposed Seminar: Rationale and Justification
Teachers can make all the difference with how a child feels about [himself or herself]

  • Beth Kaplanek; Volunteer President, Board of Directors for Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder; CHADD (Education World, 2007)

As a starting point, Loe and Feldman in their ‘Academic and Educational Outcomes of Children With ADHD’ (2007) delve into the crux of the ADHD matter when they note its culpability in poor grades, an inability to read, excessive dependency on schools, suspension episodes and/or outright expulsions, and a dismal turnout of graduates among children who are sufferers. In their strikingly comparative analysis, the duo note that less privileged children in community schools – who might never have been opportune to receive a diagnosis in spite of displaying symptoms of hyperactivity, inattention and impulsivity – do turn out poor academic and educational outcomes like their privileged (and diagnosed) contemporaries. Loe and Feldman also find that certain behavioural management techniques as well as measured pharmacologic therapy have an effect in quelling the extreme symptoms of ADHD while enhancing such a child’s academic exploits. Unfortunately, however, the Stanford-based researchers find these measures toothless in addressing the perennial challenge in standardized test scores and ultimate educational attainment. As such, they recommend that Future research must use conceptually based outcome measures in prospective, longitudinal, and community-based studies to itemise and separate which pharmacologic, behavioral, and educational interventions can improve academic and educational outcomes of children with ADHD in general (Loe and Feldman, 2007). Similarly, Martin et al. (2016) explore the links between ADHD, personal (self-efficacy, control) and interpersonal (teacher support) agency, and achievement from a social cognitive theory perspective. They find that academic achievement relies heavily on self-efficacy and teacher support, and that the effects of these are more pronounced in ADHD children. These researchers conclude that their findings are key to closing achievement gaps for children with ADHD (Martin et al., 2016).
In his review of the book Education and Psychology: Plato, Piaget and Scientific Psychology (1983) by Kieran Egan, Louis Goldman through an instructive title in ‘The Limitations of Psychology for Education’, draws attention to the utilitarian value of the book as at the time of publishing. Goldman was of the view that the book had contributed to an understanding of the so-called “mindlessness of contemporary education” (Goldman, 1984: 37). For Goldman and a growing band of ‘informed voices’, this mindlessness was at the root of the ills of the education that was obtainable. Goldman historicizes the notion of mindlessness, and locates its origins in the individually and self-styled mindfulness of each of the members of a given cohort. The resulting liberalness of educational administrators in turn yielded the notions of totalism and child-centeredness which displaced the age-long notions of philosophy or educational theory as the essential charter of education. Indeed, the challenge of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in modern societies brings this ‘chid-centeredness’ referred to the forefront of the conversation. Without delving too much into the law, meanwhile, it is crucial to note here that affected persons do already enjoy some semblance of protection from existing laws as schools are forbidden from discriminating against challenged individuals – whatever such challenges might be; ADHD inclusive. Kaplanek, herself a mother to a kid with ADHD, has been at the forefront of this ADHD tolerance from schools for over two decades. She speaks of the importance of pointing out little deeds and magnifying these as supposed milestones with a view to properly encourage affected children. Kaplanek’s pet organization, Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder; CHADD, together with the American Academy of Pediatrics, did come up with tips over a decade ago to empower teachers better accommodate students and pupils with ADHD in their classrooms. The plusses of peer-review and the need to move the conversation from a necessarily directly affected authority informs the choice to critically interrogate these suggestions as a take-off point for the proposed seminar.
In summary, the tips – which are incidentally shared by Segal and Smith (2016) – centre on the display and provision of clear, concise classroom rules and equally clear, concise instructions for academic assignments. They further add the need to partition non-simple sets of instructions into smaller easily more understood parts. Education World (2007) as well as Segal and Smith (2016) continue with the invaluable advice to educational psychologists and or teachers of ADHD affected children to deploy empathy in putting these wards through in the effective use of assignment books to record their daily tasks and necessary homework. They further note how helpful taping or pasting a copy of these children’s daily schedules could be for them in overcoming the demons of inattention and hyperactivity. They also identify the importance of planning schedules for ADHD children such that their key academic subjects are taught before noon. That way, the effects of distraction and boredom that may have crept in less, do not interfere with learning as much as deep into the day. Yet, this morning learning must be punctuated by frequent and regular break intervals. Teachers are further asked to ensure that children with ADHD seat away from windows which aid distractions. Study ought to be done in the quiet and close to the desk. Finally, of note, the authors insist that teacher continue to learn about the issue viz-a-viz developments on the issue by reading up-to-date related articles as this seminar portends (Education World, 2007; Segal and Smith, 2016).
Another invested parent of kids with learning and attention issues, meanwhile, is Amanda Morin, actually a practising parent advocate. Morin’s ‘At a Glance: Classroom Accommodations for ADHD’ (2014) is true to its branding for it provides the interested reader clear and concise approaches to the ADHD challenge by delineating these in ‘behaviour’, ‘in-class learning’, ‘classwork and tests’, ‘organization’ and ‘classroom learning’ (Morin, 2014). Below is an illustration of a useful video, the likes of which would be deployed extensively through the modules of the proposed seminar:

The Understood Team (2014)
` In 1971, Paul H. Hirst had asked a striking and pointed question: ‘What is teaching?’. Therein, Hirst provides a quartet of essential reasons why it was imperative to ask his question within academic discourse. Primarily, Hirst notes the influx of new teaching approaches in which the significance of teaching remains blurry. Of this, he notes that there is a disconnect in the activities of pupils and the activities of teachers per enquiry, discovery and play. Secondly, Hirst is concerned that there are many terms that are in the same logical band as ‘teaching’ namely, for example, indoctrinating, preaching, advertising, and propagandizing. Thirdly, Hirst draws attention to the need for empirical evidence to support and explain tenable teaching methods. He asks how we may advance such while what teaching is remains unclear. This draws finely into the fourth of Hirst’s charter: being clear about what teaching is because how teachers understand teaching very much affects what they actually do in the classroom. Also in 1971, precisely in the same issue (the immediate sequel in fact) as Hirst’s paper, Frank Musgrove considers the future of the teaching profession based on a tripod of projections. The first of these projections rested on the Californian counter-culture to which many post-industrial age societies began to subscribe. The second points to perhaps what disciplinary purists of education regard somewhat as that which masquerades as interdisciplinary fortes in the emerging curricula: “…that boundaries of all kinds in education…will be increasingly discredited and decried, that integrated curricula will prevail and the school become massively interpenetrated by society, barely distinguishable from it” (Musgrove, 1971: 19). Considering present trends and the road travelled in the academy, it is easy to see why one is compelled to call it that Musgrove saw tomorrow. So much so that these two projections invariably strip schools of their powers, yet he adds a final and more tedious projection which does the opposite in empowering schools by assuming that a patient and pragmatic review of educational arrangements and procedures will continually be made in light of research. Through this pro-authorizing approach to professional renewal for teachers, the powerlessness of schools to attain their goals will be correctly diagnosed and appropriate remedial action taken (Musgrove, 1971). It is from this third charter of Musgrove’s work that the proposed seminar draws an ethos, and is copiously relevant in spite of having been conceived some forty-six years later. Recent futuristic studies towards the resolution of ADHD challenges through novel approaches like biological psychiatry and computer-mediated biomedicine (Chu et al., 2017; O’Neill, 2016 etc.) exist for scholars’ advantage.
A key challenge generally faced by educational psychologists today, meanwhile, is to do with diversity. Nancy Flanagan Knapp in her 2005 piece titled, ‘“They’re Not All Like Me!”: The Role of Educational Psychology in Preparing Teachers for Diversity’ and published in The Clearing House: A Journal of Educational Strategies, Issues and Ideas, speaks of the content of a personal information sheet she had distributed in her opening class for the Introductory Educational Psychology. At some stage, the sheet had asked: “In your own experience, what things help you actually learn in classes? Please list as many factors as possible” (Knapp, 2005: 202). In making her notes from a self-identifying introductory session, Knapp itemises about thirty different factors with which the attendants of her class readily identify. This is particularly striking for the proposed seminar in that some thrive in the space of a lecture while others learn better through small group discussions. Perhaps a mastery of both with regards to their learning potentials is the minimum expectation of the educational psychologist in terms of ‘diversity’. There is also talk of preference for text, visuals or audio. Yet, Knapp’s opening class equally makes room for a discussion of how everyone tends to be the same with regards to learning. Indeed, everyone thrives when encouraged to ask questions as they do when taught by an organized, enthusiastic and illustrative teacher. The notion of meeting all students’ different learning preferences, needs and goals in one class, one classroom is the primary challenge of student diversity with which teachers worth their mettle must contend. In Knapp speak, the main themes of diversity include the recognition that all students learn differently, that no one way to learn is the ‘right’ or ‘best’ way, that there are, nonetheless, vital middle grounds in how all students learn, and that it is the teacher’s art and responsibility to design instruction that, as far as possible, respects and values every student as a unique human being by enabling them all to learn effectively and to realize the potential that lie within them (Knapp, 2005).
Nonetheless, couldn’t all these be for nought were these teachers to participate in such a teacher psychology balance preparatory seminar, only to be confronted by pupils and students bordering on the realms of impossible. This challenge, perhaps dilemma, ushers this critique into the final forte of the proposed seminar: classroom management. The module on Classroom management shall commence with an appraisal and comparing notes slant of ‘Classroom Behavior Management: A Dozen Common Mistakes and What to Do Instead’ from the journal of Preventing School Failure: Alternative Education for Children and Youth, and authored by the trio of Patricia Barbetta, Kathleen Norona and David Bicard (2005). Barbetta et al. (2005) capture broad ranging mistakes committed frequently across many grade levels and in all types of learning environments before proffering recommendations that are quite quick to grasp and somewhat easy to implement by various types of learners for whom they are very useful. Yet, there is the major issue of looking out for the teachers; thus, Frenzel et al.’s 2016 work on ‘Measuring Teachers’ enjoyment, anger, and anxiety: The Teacher Emotions Scales’. Armed with the foregoing vast theoretical literature, the proposed seminar will draw guidance from the findings of these various researchers and theorists of educational psychology towards compelling an up-to-date session aimed at contemporary best practices in the discipline of educational psychology through functional approaches in dealing with children with ADHD cases in the classroom. Each of the landmark studies appraised above give substantial weight and teeth to the proposed seminar designed for the training of fresh and experienced teachers alike.
Proposed Seminar Mode of Delivery and Target Audience Demographic
Educational Psychology – the study of the science of learning – is necessarily made effective and thorough through a study of the science of teaching. That is, before the science of learning by pupils and students is properly grasped, there ought to be a systematic approach to critically preparing those responsible for dispensing the learning through which pupils and students are measured. This informs the present seminar designed to engage teachers of educational psychology towards an interactive and practice-based series of discussions among practitioners. The seminar- open to teachers at all levels – will be geared towards holding an open conversation on the challenges involved as well as an interrogation of possible ways to mitigate these challenges with a view to a more robust and functional profession in educational psychology. Ultimately, however, the teachers who have ADHD classes in their classrooms tend towards a hundred per cent based on statistics from the American Academy of Pediatrics among other advocates of fairness for the challenged. Every teacher is therefore a target audience and very welcome to participate in this all-important seminar.
Proposed Seminar Content
Module 1:
The Necessity of Defining ‘Psychology’
[Time Allotted: 55 minutes]
Module 2:
Educational Psychology as a component of Psychology: A Historiography of Developments in Educational Psychology
[Time Allotted: 55 minutes]
Module 3:
Identifying ADHD in Wards: Localizing Attention Deficit, Isolating Hyperactivity
[Time Allotted: 55 minutes]
Module 4:
Classroom Management: The Need to Command a Relatable Technique
[Time Allotted: 55 minutes]
Module 5:
Accommodation and Modification: An Accommodation Changes How A Child Learns, A Modification Changes What A Child Learns
[Time Allotted: 55 minutes]
Module 6:
Towards Educational Outcomes: The Key to Becoming in spite of ADHD
[Time Allotted: 55 minutes]
{Instruction for Seminar: Each module will deploy short textual components, audio-visual illustrations, discussions contributed by each group of participants, and finally some closure by the moderator. The seminar is a two-day event comprised by sessions spread across this duration. Each module representative of a seminar session would last 55 minutes at the end of which each participant should have been refreshed and reinvigorated with a definer to always inspire once within the confines of a classroom comprising ADHD affected children.}

Conclusions: Learning Outcomes of (from) Proposed Seminar
The foregoing modules are intended as delineators of the relevant theoretical literature in the field as espoused through the rationale and justification section. The outlined seminar-simulation is a developmental activity intended to stimulate research and curriculum development in the field of educational psychology, or better yet: psychology for the education of an ADHD affected population. Its primary goal is to coordinate the various isolated and unheard efforts at research and curriculum development throughout the field as exemplified by practitioners. The seminar has thus culminated in an attempt to identify the major problem areas in educational psychology with particular emphasis on ADHD, and to find the means through which to analyse, study, and proffer workable solutions to them. The seminar attempted to focus on some major unclear areas within the domain of the field: motivation, diversity, the sociological area, the content area, classroom management, and lasting the effective learning/teaching in an ADHD affected setting or classroom. Practitioners and specialists from educational psychology met for a simulated 2-day period to examine the problem areas and to formulate and evaluate discussion trajectories relating to these areas. Six modules were established and each session was closed by intensive discussion. Participants left with fresh perspectives on the modes of acquisition for autonomy, belongingness, and competence (being motivational factors); modes of individual learning (being more descriptive of diversity than race or religion, for example); teaching and what teaching is; as well as the management of the social construction of the classroom with ADHD students/pupils. These are, without doubt, outcomes of laudable proportions with which every educational psychologist, present or aspiring teacher should be proud to have been associated.

List of Theoretical Sources: Bibliography
Anderson, L.; Blumenfeld, P.; Pintrich, P.; Clark, C.; Marx, R. and Peterson, P. (1995) ‘Educational psychology for teachers: Reforming our courses, rethinking our roles’. Educational Psychologist, 30 (3): 143-157

Anderson, L.; Evertson, C.; and Emmer, E. (1980) ‘Dimensions in Classroom Management Derived from Recent Research’. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 12 (4): 343-56

Barbetta, P.; Norona, K.; and Bicard, D. (2005)Classroom Behavior Management: A Dozen Common Mistakes and What to Do Instead’. Preventing School Failure: Alternative Education for Children and Youth, 49 (3): 11-9

Chu, K.; Huang, Y.; Tseng, C.; Huang, H; Wang, C.; and Tai, H. (2017) ‘Reliability and validity of DS-ADHD: A decision support system on attention deficit hyperactivity disorders’. Computer Methods and Programs in Biomedicine, 140: 241-8

Frenzel, A.; Pekrun, R.; Goetz, T.; Daniels, L.; Durksen, T.; Becker-Kurz, B.; and Klassen, R. (2016) ‘Measuring Teachers’ enjoyment, anger, and anxiety: The Teacher Emotions Scales’. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 46: 148-63

Goldman, L. (1984) ‘The Limitations of Psychology for Education’. The Review of Education, Pedagogy and Cultural Studies, 10 (1): 37-42

Hart, R. (2010) ‘Classroom behaviour management: educational psychologists’ views on effective practice’. Emotional and Behavioural Differences, 15 (4): The Work of Educational Psychologists with Children with Social, Emotional, and Behavioural Difficulties: 353-71

Hirst, P. (1971) ‘What is Teaching?’. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 3 (1): 5-18

Knapp, N. (2005) ‘“They’re Not All Like Me!”: The Role of Educational Psychology in Preparing Teachers for Diversity’ The Clearing House: A Journal of Educational Strategies, Issues and Ideas, 78 (5): 202-6

Loe, I. and Feldman, H. (2007) ‘Academic and Educational Outcomes of Children With ADHD’. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 32 (6): 643-54

Luiselli, J.; Putnam, R.; Handler, M.; and Feinberg, A. (2005) ‘Wholeschool positive behaviour support: effects on student discipline problems and academic performance’. Educational Psychology: An International Journal of Experimental Educational Psychology, 25 (2-3): Problem Behaviour. Edited by Jeff Sigafoos and Mark O’Reilly: 183-98

Musgrove, F. (1971) ‘The Future of the Teaching Profession’. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 3 (1): 19-26

O’Neill, S. (2016) ‘Novel Targets for Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder Interventions: Can Potential Biomarkers Be Identified from Longitudinal Data?’ Biological Psychiatry, 80 (12): e99-e101

Online Sources
Education World (2007) How can teachers help students with ADHD? Available from <> [Accessed 6 January 2017]

Martin, A.; Burns, E.; and Collie, R. (2016) ‘ADHD, personal and interpersonal agency, and achievement: Exploring links from a social cognitive theory perspective’. Contemporary Educational Psychology. Available from <> [Accessed 6 January 2016]

Morin, A. (2014) ‘At a Glance: Classroom Accommodations for ADHD’. Understood: for learning and attention issues. Available from <> [Accessed 6 January 2017]

Segal, J. and Smith, M. (2016) ‘Teaching Students with ADHD: Helping Students with Attention Deficit Disorder Succeed at School’. Available from> [Accessed 6 January 2017]
The Understood Team (2014) ‘Video: What’s the Difference Between Accommodations and Modifications?’ Understood: for learning and attention issues. Available from <> [Accessed 6 January 2017]

Cite this page

Choose cite format:
Online Chat Messenger Email
+44 800 520 0055