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Successful Instruction for Students With ADHD: Introducing Lessons

Teaching Children With ADHD:
Instructional Strategies and Practices Part 3

Successful programs for children with ADHD integrate the following three components:

  • Academic Instruction;
  • Behavioral Interventions; and
  • Classroom Accommodations.

The remainder of this document describes how to integrate a program using these three components and provides suggestions for practices that can help children with ADHD in a classroom setting. It should be emphasized that many of the techniques suggested have the additional benefit of enhancing the learning of other children in the classroom who do not have ADHD. In addition, while they have been used most widely with children at the elementary level, the following practices are useful for older students as well.

ACADEMIC INSTRUCTION

The first major component of the most effective instruction for children with ADHD is effective academic instruction. Teachers can help prepare their students with ADHD to achieve by applying the principles of effective teaching when they introduce, conduct, and conclude each lesson. The discussion and techniques that follow pertain to the instructional process in general (across subject areas); strategies for specific subject areas appear in the subsequent subsection "Individualizing Instructional Practices."

INTRODUCING LESSONS

Students with ADHD learn best with a carefully structured academic lesson -- one where the teacher explains what he or she wants children to learn in the current lesson and places these skills and knowledge in the context of previous lessons. Effective teachers preview their expectations about what students will learn and how they should behave during the lesson. A number of teaching-related practices have been found especially useful in facilitating this process:

Provide an advance organizer.
Prepare students for the day's lesson by quickly summarizing the order of various activities planned. Explain, for example, that a review of the previous lesson will be followed by new information and that both group and independent work will be expected. Review previous lessons. Review information about previous lessons on this topic. For example, remind children that yesterday's lesson focused on learning how to regroup in subtraction. Review several problems before describing the current lesson.

Set learning expectations.
State what students are expected to learn during the lesson. For example, explain to students that a language arts lesson will involve reading a story about Paul Bunyan and identifying new vocabulary words in the story.

Set behavioral expectations.
Describe how students are expected to behave during the lesson. For example, tell children that they may talk quietly to their neighbors as they do their seatwork or they may raise their hands to get your attention.

State needed materials.
Identify all materials that the children will need during the lesson, rather than leaving them to figure out on their own the materials required. For example, specify that children need their journals and pencils for journal writing or their crayons, scissors, and colored paper for an art project.

Explain additional resources.
Tell students how to obtain help in mastering the lesson. For example, refer children to a particular page in the textbook for guidance on completing a worksheet.

Simplify instructions, choices, and scheduling.
The simpler the expectations communicated to an ADHD student, the more likely it is that he or she will comprehend and complete them in a timely and productive manner.

Go to
Part 4:
Successful Instruction for Students With ADHD: Conducting Lessons

 

Teaching Children
With ADHD

This ten-part series explores the three components of a successful strategy for educating children with ADHD: academic instruction, behavioral interventions, and classroom accommodations. Use the handy index below to find the specific information for which you are looking.
 

Publication posted to Education World 06/25/2009
Source: U.S. Department of Education; last accessed on 06/25/2009 at
http://www.ed.gov/rschstat/research/pubs/adhd/adhd-teaching-2008.pdf