One of the significant threats to an effective educational process remains attention deficit disorder in the classroom environment when students are unable to focus on the topic being taught but instead interfere with the flow of the lesson. Often the cause of this behavior among individuals is not a lack of nurturing or academic discipline skills but ADHD. According to one commonly accepted definition, ADHD is considered a behavioral disorder of mental health in which an individual may demonstrate an inability to concentrate but instead experience attention problems and hyperactivity (MCS, 2019). Consequently, ADHD should be considered one of the current factors that pose a threat to the educational process.
The motivation for choosing this topic comes from personal experience from experiencing ADHD. At one time, I could not give enough attention and time to learning, not because I was not interested, but because I could not. I did not know the exact reasons for my absent-mindedness, and the adults around me blamed my naivete and infantilism for my poor academic performance. It was not until I was in my late teens, when I sought medical help, that it became clear to me that ADHD was the cause of my lack of interest in learning. It was only after I was treated that I could return to effective learning and regain my academic potential.
Having personally experienced this problem, I have become more attentive to people who exhibit hyperactive behavior. While not recognizing such episodes as deviant, I try to take a deeper look at such individuals and critically assess their behavior in order to preventively help with ADHD. Many of my future students will likely have similar problems because, according to the CDC, there is an increase in the number of ADHD cases worldwide (CDC, 2021). This could be due to either improved medical accessibility and earlier care — which was not done in my case — or it could be due to the real problem of the rapid spread of the ADHD epidemic among adolescents. Regardless of the specific cause, I recognize that I will be confronted with ADHD as an adult in my future teaching practice. For this reason, it is in my power to manage the classroom environment and make a positive difference.
Thus, the problem of ADHD is the part of professional research to which I want to devote my efforts. Obviously, by offering solutions to this problem, I will be able to cover some of the PPR competencies related to, among other things, creating a positive classroom environment as well as performing the professional role of a teacher (TExES, 2019). Including having personally experienced ADHD, I will be able to develop instruction and classroom rules that are sensitive to these students but will not harm the educational process. The properties that the proposed solution will have are personalization and encouragement, without which student engagement in the classroom may seem impossible. More specifically, I propose using Behavioral Intervention Plans (BIPs) as a solution to the ADHD problem among students.
Several factors contributed to the choice of this solution strategy. First, BIPs are a highly researched academic tool with an acceptance among the teaching community. Second, BIPs are based on functional behavioral analysis with behavior correction associated with positive reinforcement, meaning that the strategy chosen incorporates multiple theoretical constructs. Finally, BIPs address the need for personalization and inclusiveness in contemporary learning and thus are a relevant strategy for a comprehensive solution.
Review of the Literature
The problem of ADHD has long gained academic recognition, as evidenced by the availability of thematic research papers as early as the middle of the last century. Mohammadhasani et al. (2018) recognize that ADHD has a disruptive effect on the effective educational process due to decreased attention levels in students. In the same regard, it is confirmed that students with ADHD, confirmed or not, may experience stigma from classmates and adults, whether teachers, supervisors, or parents (Toye et al., 2019). This is not surprising given that concerns about communities’ mental health have only become relevant in more recent times, and in earlier stages, any acts of deviant behavior by a student may have been viewed purely as conscious efforts to interrupt a lesson (Haeberlein et al., 2020). Stigma has persisted in the minds of past generations of adults, and it is often directed toward younger students. They begin to feel guilty about their behavior, which consequently turns out to be unmanageable for them.
In turn, recognizing the importance and relevance of ADHD among school students is followed by developing strategies and interventions to address this feature. Among effective intervention methodologies, pharmacological treatment of ADHD symptoms is a common practice (Owens, 2020). However, the teaching role does not involve treating students, and the only thing that can be done in this sense is communicating with parents to urge them to see a doctor. Nevertheless, even if a student is prescribed treatment, it is long-term and not instantaneous, which means the classroom environment must be adapted to children with ADHD in any of the phases of this mental disorder.
In this context, the teacher uses available pedagogical tools to transform the academic culture to include students with ADHD effectively. It is a priority to say that the basis for the need for any change is the 1975 American law that forced educational institutions to support the education of children with disabilities at the same level as other students (Cooper, 2018). As suggested earlier, one such method is BIPs, which is reflected in scholarly sources. For example, Aleid (2019) has shown that using functional behavioral assessment as part of BIPs is a good strategy for significantly reducing behavioral problems among students with ADHD. Because of correct planning by the educator and effective intervention, students with the diagnosis positively corrected their behaviors during the observed period. At the same time, it is clear that using an adapted environment only in the school setting is ineffective because if the student continues to experience communication problems in the home setting, it becomes a barrier to school. Therefore, the teacher should actively include parents in BIPs, through calls to action and involvement in the educational process (Marcu et al., 2019). This will create a holistic environment of respect and encouragement, which will positively impact academic outcomes at school.
For BIPs, however, it is a mistake to assume that this is an entirely ideal practice that proves to be effective for any school context. While personalizing instruction and encouraging positive student behavior may make sense in the classroom, it is still not enough to correct general behavior patterns. Sources show that implementing change does not always lead to favorable classroom effects; moreover, it can become the cause of the opposite results (Hagger & Weed, 2019). In this sense, any behavioral interventions can undoubtedly be effective in theory but not work in real life, creating false expectations. Thus, the general research question can be formulated as follows: “Are there meaningful effects of improved academic performance for classes in which the teacher uses BIPs based on functional behavioral assessment for students with ADHD?”
Description of the Strategy
In general, the professional strategy adopted for implementation in the academic setting includes functional assessment for students with ADHD as a component of BIPs. A progress log will be created for each of the students who have a mental health disorder, asking them to note each act of positive (desirable) and hostile behavior, their date, and the response from the teacher (me). Including, each log describes a specific and measurable goal for students based on their experience. For example, it might be “raising your grade point average to 60” or “no episodes of undesirable behavior for an entire week.” Such an evaluation would be subjective since the evaluation is done through a teacher’s filter. To put it another way, an individual formative assessment is created for each student with ADHD or suspected ADHD that takes into account changes over time.
Over the course of several months — tentatively, three — BIPs are used as an experimental methodology by which I will observe each of the students. Any positive behavior is encouraged with praise and recognition, while negative behavior is not reinforced with positive emotions. Alternatively, you can ignore the student’s negative behavior — but not the student himself! — or say that such behavior is not acceptable in the classroom. It is essential to ensure that reactions to positive behavior are no less intense or strong than those to destructive behavior.
Discussion of Strategies (Answers to Questions)
Before I implement strategies for my prospective students, I will first discuss my intentions with their parents to avoid creating a conflict of interest. Only if the parent or guardian agrees will I begin implementing BIPs for a particular student with ADHD. At the same time, I begin the process of actively engaging parents in the educational process by creating an uninterrupted channel of communication, systematically sharing all relevant information with them, and demonstrating a formative assessment log.
To be successful in using BIPs, I will need several resources, among them tangible and intangible. Tangible I include having an electronic progress log, active communication channels with stakeholders, and any assessment schemes, models, or algorithms that I may additionally need. Intangible resources I refer to the availability of established communication with the student, the availability of pedagogical power, and time to implement change. The strategy will be successful if the initial goals set for each student are achievable during the experimental period. It is noteworthy that even if the goal for a particular student is not fully met — for example, the grade point average will only be raised to 50 — it will already be a sign of positive progress. Consequently, I would be able to conclude that BIPs are effective measures of ADHD. In addition, because I am in constant communication with the student’s parents or guardians, I get feedback from them, which is also an indicator of effectiveness. If adults report that a student has begun to feel worse during the BIPs testing period, this can be, but not necessarily, a signal to stop the experimental treatments.
Aleid, W. A. (2019). Reducing The Rate of Behavioral Problems for Students with ASD & ADHD using the Techniques of FBA. International Journal for Research in Education, 43(2), 209-232.
CDC. (2021, September 23). ADHD throughout the years. National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities. Web.
Cooper, L. B. (2018). Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children [PDF document]. Web.
Haeberlein, K., Evans, L., Champaigne, B., & Handal, P. J. (2020). Differences in distress and utilization of mental health services between 2005 and 2018: a potential trend? Psychiatric Quarterly, 91(1), 11-19.
Hagger, M. S., & Weed, M. (2019). DEBATE: Do interventions based on behavioral theory work in the real world? International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 16(1), 1-10.
Marcu, G., Spiller, A., Arevalo Garay, J., Connell, J. E., & Pina, L. R. (2019). Breakdowns in home-school collaboration for behavioral intervention [PDF document]. Web.
MCS. (2019). Adult attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Mayo Clinic. Web.
Mohammadhasani, N., Fardanesh, H., Hatami, J., Mozayani, N., & Fabio, R. A. (2018). The pedagogical agent enhances mathematics learning in ADHD students. Education and Information Technologies, 23(6), 2299-2308.
Owens, J. (2020). Relationships between an ADHD diagnosis and future school behaviors among children with mild behavioral problems. Sociology of Education, 93(3), 191-214.
TExES pedagogy and professional responsibilities EC-12. (2019). Study Guidem Zone. Web.
Toye, M. K., Wilson, C., & Wardle, G. A. (2019). Education professionals’ attitudes towards the inclusion of children with ADHD: the role of knowledge and stigma. Journal of Research in Special Educational Needs, 19(3), 184-196.
A Sample of Formative Assessment
|Progress Journal for the Apprentice John Smith|
|Date||Type of Behavior||Description/Details|