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ADHD: Teaching Strategies

written by: Mayflor Markusic • edited by: Elizabeth Wistrom • updated: 9/11/2012

When a teacher has one or more ADHD-diagnosed students, the challenge is to present lessons in a manner that can steer around the students’ symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsiveness. This challenge is easily met when using these teaching strategies for ADHD students.

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    Making lesson plans is tough for new teachers because they are still in the learning phase. However, when an experienced teacher of a mainstream classroom is suddenly given a special student, the teacher undergoes another learning phase. This time, the experienced teacher learns to create lesson plans and teaching strategies for ADHD students. The good news is that the basic process is the same. But there are two traits of the teacher that must come to the fore. These are creativity and flexibility. These two traits can be used in the following.

    Teaching Aids

    The teacher must utilize teaching aids that will attract the senses of the students. Audio-visual aids are recommended that can engage and process triggers within the students mind. This developmental approach can help build intuition and interactivity, which are priceless for confidence and social responses. However, visual aids may also present distractions, thus, the teacher must carefully choose those that are interesting but are directly related to the lesson.

    Lesson Pacing

    When the ADHD-diagnosed students easily lose interest, it might be due to the slow pace of the lesson that does not agree with their hyperactivity. The teacher can pick up the pace to get the students’ focus back on the lesson. Another reason for the disinterest is the length of the lesson. It might be too long for the ADHD students to pay enough attention. Thus, the teacher must be flexible enough to break the lesson into shorter, more manageable segments, which incorporate different styles of learning - Listening, conversing, heightening the senses in the appropriate manner.

    Teaching Strategy

    The experienced teacher has mastered a host of strategies, such as role playing, the use of models, and more. Some of these strategies will work on the ADHD-diagnosed students but others will not. Thus, the teacher must be creative in utilizing the most unique resources – the other students. Through peer tutoring, older students can be effective teaching strategies for ADHD students. At the same time, the special student will have the opportunity to teach younger students.

    Advanced planning will go a long way in making each teaching-learning session a success. The presence of an ADHD-diagnosed student presents a challenge. Much of the teacher’s attention is devoted to the special student. This is why having a smaller student-teacher ratio will also help significantly. But with creativity and flexibility, the teacher can make lesson plans that will help the special students achieve their academic goals.

    For more we can explore specific strategies of teaching those with ADHD by looking at these principles of classroom instruction and management.

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