Educational research can be used to improve pedagogical practices. Education is such a huge domain which requires thorough understanding and improvement at every step. Each student has his or her own interests, capabilities and drawbacks which needs to be addressed through teaching methods. New teaching methods are required to be researched and then implemented to improve individual performance. The aim of this study is to address the key educational issues of students with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). ADHD is a mental health disorder in which children become inattentive. There are numerous challenges faced by these studentsthatact a disadvantage to them. In the following paragraphs, the interrelationship between research and pedagogy will be explored in the context of “Measuring the Written Language Disorder among Students with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder” by Mitchnick et al., (2017). This will be followed with a critical analysis of the literature review, methods, results, conclusion and recommendations given in the article. The recommendations for the lesson plan for disabled students developed by BOSTES resourceswill be provided in the study(Appendix). This will help in improving the pedagogical practices, hence facilitating the appropriate method for students with a disability.
Issues and challenges faced by ADHD students
More often than not, ADHD in children goes unnoticed. The moment parents and teachers realise that a child may be suffering from ADHD, it becomes difficult for them to first accept and then to cope with it. The attitude of teachers is based on the delivering ofcomprehensive education to all students irrespective of an understanding of the special requirements of anADHD-affected student..These children require special attention, since they cannot sit for too long.It is not easy for the teachers to make them understand tough and crucial chapters. Students affected by ADHD have the tendency to get bored and start roaming in the class. For them, remembering important points is also a tough task. Their lack of attention is not only within the school but at home as well (AITSL, 2013). Parents will see their children being inattentive and hyperactive. Parents try to overlook this habit as a trait of childhood but after a certain age when other children of the same age behave properly, concern arises. A crucial aspect of ADHD is that it is often recognised quite late in a child’s development.
Conceptualising ADHD Student’s Engagement
The concept of an inclusive school is ideal,provided that teachers should understand the disorder of the student. All students are entitled to equality in the context of educational options and opportunities. The Commonwealth and State educational governments advocate the concept of inclusive schools where disabled students will be able to access education in a conventional way (Fredericks, Blumenfeld& Paris, 2004,p.97). However, teachers face problems related to the extra time required for these students, and the demotivated attitudes of the students because of low performance as compared to able-students.
Teachers have identified that these students have difficulty with writing, getting confused by words and spelling. Common mistakes include grammar, punctuation and sentence formation errors. ADHD students are hyperactive and tend to indulge in mostly inappropriate activities.Another disorder which can be related to ADHD students is Written Language Disorder (WLD). Children are more likely to miss the flow of writing and deviate from the main topic,causing troubles in completing their written assignments. As stated by Mitchnick& Fraser (2016), WLD has been diagnosed through psychological educational assessments, involving physical and neurological evaluations to help teachers identify students with these problems. Their participation rate in educational activities is low compared to other students, but they do fairly well in extra-curricular activities such as sports and dance. These activities utilise and channelthe energy of ADHD students and helpteachers to divert their attention from inappropriate activities (Dana &Yendol-Hoppey, 2009). It has been found that ADHD students are at greater risk of a lack of options and opportunities (Whipple et al., 2003,p.39). The disadvantages that ADHD students experience in the education system and the lack of pedagogical framework has put them in this challenging situation.
ADHD students are subject to educational disadvantages in the schooling system. They typically achieve lower academic results, particularly in written assignments. They are more likely to exhibit absenteeism and lower retention rates than normal students. They do not perform well in subjects like Science, Maths and English (Corwin Press, 2009). However, their results in oral exams are good, but they struggle in written assignments. In a study, conducted by Blumenfeld & Paris (2004), in a school, ADHD students were asked to write answers to the same questions which were previously orally asked.They scored lower in the written exams, as it was hard for the teacher to comprehend their writing.
It has also been found that these students perform well in arts and craft. Their imaginative power is strong and they develop outstanding models when left un-interrupted. These drawbacks have triggered consequences for the ADHD students. They are more likely to get into bad company, poor health and commit suicide (Carter, et al., 2007,p.55). The ratio of ADHD students dropping out of school is high,contributing to their low socio-economic status. Their education and access to knowledge is equally important, and the education system mustaccommodate the needs of these students which are currently left unaddressed.
The article has identified the common methods used for screening ADHD students. The article “Measuring the Written Language Disorder among Students with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder” by Mitchnick et al. (2017) has thoroughly explored the issues faced by ADHD students. Student’s apprehensions in explaining their and expressions through writing have also been addressed in the article. The aim of the article is to find out the correlation between WLD and ADHD students so that the pedagogical techniques in education can be implemented. Mitchnick comprehensively discusses the challenges faced by students and has utilised a systematic review for measuring the writing difficulties in ADHD students (Lampert, Burnett& Morse, 2015,p.92).This includes writing variables such as spelling errors, grammatical errors, time sequenceand uncorrected errors, repetition of the same error, comprehensiveness of the written assignment and cohesive adequacy of paring in the systematic review.
The article explicit the complications of ADHD students when writing. The article reveals that the University of Valencia has investigated the presence of written expression difficulties in children with ADHD (Casas, Ferrer, &Fortea, 2013,p.112). The results of this investigation were based on the neurological and physical assessments given to these students. The measures used in assessing the participants werebroken down by the planning and translation process of writing. These children were found to have difficulty in filling the appropriate number of words, sentences, syntactic complex indexes, morphosyntactic errors and type-token ratio, along with the revisions of a similar assignment (Miranda, Baixauli & Colomer, 2013,p.1940,1941). The results of the study did not match the attributes of WLD, but it has revealed that ADHD children have difficulties in writing.
The article also reviewed Woodcock-Johnson (WJ) tests (WJ III Tests of Achievement, 2001) which was conducted to identify ADHD students with writing difficulties and behavioural disorders (Schrank, 2005,p.76). The study covered cognitive efficiency, short and long-term memory retrievals and speed of the participants. The article has used cluster analysis techniques to evaluate the spelling, writing and editing capabilities of students in the ADHD group. The results of the above study revealed that the ADHD group scored low on these learning concepts. Based on the findings of the review it is clear that WLD can be associated with students diagnosed with ADHD. There are other behavioural disorders which may affect the writing performance of the students but teaching pedagogy needs to be improved to address these difficulties.
The research methodology used in the article is the ‘novel computational model’ which assimilates the results of all the screening methods used for WLD with ADHD so that a relation between both disorders can be recognised. The author has fed the results into an artificial neural network (ANN1) so that the prevalence of WLD and ADHD can be identified. The study concluded that there is a strong correlation between WLD and ADHD (Kumar, et al., 2015, p.38). However, there were limitations to the accuracy of the results sample size, the techniques to analyse and causation. The study required a clinical trial to validate the data and to overcome a few of the limitations. The article suggests that the use of a computational causal model will help in illustrating causation between writing metrics and WLD. The results of the study have suggested a need for efficient pedagogical techniques for ADHD and WLD students so that their learning disorders can be addressed and they will be empowered for a better future.
Support Material forStudents with Special Education Needs
The recommendations given in the article can beuseful in the modification of the BOSTES produced Imaginative Writing and learning activity. The activity comes under the Stage 4 unit covering short stories. The activity will help teachers facing difficulties in meeting the needs of children with special education needs. These learning materialshave verbal and non-verbal communication methods which have been designed to cater to the needs of children having difficulty in understanding classroom activities (BOSTES n.d, 2018). According to theMiranda, Baixauli & Colomer (2013) students with WLD and ADHD need attention in sentence framing and remembering spellings. For them, it is not easy to develop a meaningful sentence. They tend to deviate from the topic flow and also repeat their errors. To address these difficulties, the supporting material needs to incorporate practice sessions for the students where they can reduce the occurrences of mistakes (Lienemann& Reid, 2006). Teachers find it difficult to draw their attention towards the topic for too long.
According to Sajadi & Khan (2013), ‘constructivist approaches to learn’ is helpful for the ADHD students to improve their WLD problems. In addition to the approach teachers are required to adopt suitable interventions. These interventions will guide these learners handling their impairments. A practice session everyday will also help the students to sharpen their memory, which is the most important factor affecting their performance. The degree of intensity of a student’s disorder varies from one student to another, thus teachers have to concentrate on the capability of a student individually and spend the required duration to help them understand the material (Re & Cornoldi, 2010,p. 323).
The learning plan contains examples of difficulties that students may face while writing and speaking. This will not address the problem that these students lack the capability of remembering things. Another point which the activity has missed that ADHD students are hyperactive and they are unable to sit for too long, thus the stories should be told to them in the ways, verbally and through videos. The teachers are required to develop their strategies based on the difficulty level experienced by the students. The ADHD students perform well in verbal communication, so teachers can utilise their communication skills and tell them to narrate the story next time.
The writing and narrating capabilities have been highlighted in the Imaginative Writing and learning activity throughout (BOSTES n.d, 2018). This story telling and narrating activity will help students to develop ‘critical thinking’ while narrating and writing the story in their own words. Listening story from another students helps learners to remember the characters and twists in the story. Peer-learning activities should be included in the Stage 4 Imaginative Writing and learning activity (McQuade et al., 2011,p.39).
Their study material should include an audio recorder where the student can recorder his or her voice and present it in the class. This will motivate other students for public speaking. The lesson plan also has case studies, reference videos and illustrate effective procedures which will help teachers to assist these students with particular learning needs. It is important to include stories in these videos, in order to keep a student engaged and interested. Once their interest gets developed in the activity, teacher should encourage them to find out the story of their choice and present it in front of the class.
The given article has presented the difficulties faced by ADHD and WLD students. The lesson plan by BOSTES been incorporated with recommendations suggested by Sajadi & Khan (2013) are presented here. The article by Mitchnick et al., (2017) has highlighted that these students have difficulties is writing, hence the support material should include practice papers for writing, memorizing and improvements in other learning areas. According to Mitchnick et al. (2017), the educational research could be useful for pedagogical practices. The present lesson plan involves changes in the inclusion of short stories so that they can sit for a longer period of time, a voice recorder to promote their ability to speak in public and practice papers so that they can reduce repeated errors. The educational research has avenues for more pedagogical practices in shaping the curriculum and improving classroom activities. These activities not only make learning effective but fun-filled for the students which increases their interest in the school. The interactive sessions between teachers and students will catalyse a significant increase in their school attendance which is another matter of concern for these students.
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