The Learning Environment: An Instructional Strategy

Elements of Effective Instruction
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The three-pronged strategy, in summary, is as follows:. Because no two children with ADHD are alike, it is important to keep in mind that no single educational program, practice, or setting will be best for all children. Successful programs for children with ADHD integrate the following three components:. 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.

2. Multisensory Instruction

Schifter Eds. The problem is that most online learning developers have never experienced Virtual Reality and will have a hard time applying traditional instructional design methods to the VR space. This form of turn-and-talk occurs after a teacher poses a question, when students then pause and think about their reply, pair up with a partner, and then share their responses with each other. Last year, the SAS middle school worked with Fielding Nair International, an educational architecture firm, to renovate our sixth grade A-side team space to create a more flexible learning environment. The book expands on the foundation laid out in the report and takes an in-depth look at the constellation of influences that affect individual learning.

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. 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.

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.

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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:. In order to conduct the most productive lessons for children with ADHD, effective teachers periodically question children's understanding of the material, probe for correct answers before calling on other students, and identify which students need additional assistance.

Teachers should keep in mind that transitions from one lesson or class to another are particularly difficult for students with ADHD. When they are prepared for transitions, these children are more likely to respond and to stay on task. The following set of strategies may assist teachers in conducting effective lessons:. Effective teachers conclude their lessons by providing advance warning that the lesson is about to end, checking the completed assignments of at least some of the students with ADHD, and instructing students how to begin preparing for the next activity.

In addition to the general strategies listed above for introducing, conducting, and concluding their lessons, effective teachers of students with ADHD also individualize their instructional practices in accordance with different academic subjects and the needs of their students within each area.

This is because children with ADHD have different ways of learning and retaining information, not all of which involve traditional reading and listening. Effective teachers first identify areas in which each child requires extra assistance and then use special strategies to provide structured opportunities for the child to review and master an academic lesson that was previously presented to the entire class. Strategies that may help facilitate this goal include the following grouped by subject area :.

To help children with ADHD who are poor readers improve their reading comprehension skills, try the following instructional practices:. To help children with ADHD master rules of phonics, the following are effective:.

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In composing stories or other writing assignments, children with ADHD benefit from the following practices:. To help children with ADHD who are poor spellers, the following techniques have been found to be helpful:. Students with ADHD who have difficulty with manuscript or cursive writing may well benefit from their teacher's use of the following instructional practices:. Numerous individualized instructional practices can help children with ADHD improve their basic computation skills.

The following are just a few:. To help children with ADHD improve their skill in solving word problems in mathematics, try the following:. Some children with ADHD benefit from using special materials to help them complete their math assignments, including:. Many students with ADHD are easily distracted and have difficulty focusing their attention on assigned tasks. However, the following practices can help children with ADHD improve their organization of homework and other daily assignments:. Children with ADHD often have difficulty finishing their assignments on time and can thus benefit from special materials and practices that help them to improve their time management skills, including:.

Children with ADHD often have difficulty in learning how to study effectively on their own. The following strategies may assist ADHD students in developing the study skills necessary for academic success:.

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The second major component of effective instruction for children with ADHD involves the use of behavioral interventions. In general, a direct instruction lesson proceeds through five phases. Teachers begin the lesson with an orientation phase. The teacher clarifies the goals of the lesson, explains why the lesson is important, ties the lesson to previous lessons and students' prior knowledge, and motivates students. This establishes the students' mental set and prepares them for the lesson. This initial phase is followed by phase 2, presentation or demonstration.

The teacher demonstrates the skill or presents new information. If a skill is being taught, each step must be identified and demonstrated accurately. If new information is being taught, the information must be well organized and logically presented. Effective teachers give multiple examples, provide accurate demonstrations, restate the information often, and use visual models or illustrations. The third phase is guided practice.

The teacher structures the initial practice by walking the students. When students understand, the teacher moves to guided practice in which students work independently while the teacher monitors student work and gives individual feedback. Guided practice is most effective in short increments repeated over time.

At the end of guided practice, phase 4 checks for understanding and provides feedback, informally or formally, verbally or in writing.

The most common tactic in this phase of the lesson is teacher questioning, but assessing independent work, giving a quiz, or observing a live or taped performance may also be appropriate. Feedback must be given as soon as possible after practice and be specific and focused on behavior. The final phase of a direct instruction lesson is extended practice. Extended practice reinforces the knowledge or skill.

It can be accomplished through seatwork or homework, but should only be given when students are at or near mastery and timely feedback can be given. Extended practice over time increases retention, transfer, and automaticity. The learning environment in a direct instruction lesson is highly structured by the teacher. Students are expected to be careful listeners and keen observers.

Simulation involves students playing roles in simulated situations in order to learn skills and concepts transferable to "real life. Simulations enable the learning of complex concepts or mastery of dangerous tasks in more simple and safe environments. Although some simulations are done individually such as driving , others occur in groups.

Simulation is grounded in a branch of behavioral psychology called cybernetics, which holds the perspective that learning occurs in an environment in which the learner receives immediate feedback, experiences the consequences of behavior, and continually self-corrects until mastery occurs. When learning to land a plane in a flight simulator, for example, the "pilot" receives feedback on the speed, height, and angle of descent, and corrects or under-or over-corrects until the plane "lands" or "crashes.

Simulations are effective for teaching complex skills or concepts. Simulations can be used to practice skills such as driving, to teach concepts such as how political, social, and economic systems work, or to discern scientific principles through simulated experiments. Additional outcomes include problem solving, decision making, cause-effect relationships, cooperation or competition, and independent learning.

Simulations are not effective for teaching large amounts of fact-based information. Simulation has four phases.

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The teacher begins the lesson by explaining the purposes of the simulation and providing an overview of how it will proceed. This is followed by phase 2, where students are trained in the rules, procedures and goals of the simulation and provided time for abbreviated practice. During phase 3, the simulation itself, the teacher serves as a coach, giving feedback, clarifying misconceptions, and maintaining the rules.

The teacher does not tell students what to do or provide direct assistance. The debriefing aspect of the simulation, phase 4, allows time to describe and analyze experiences, make comparisons to real world situations, and relate the experience to the subject they are studying. The teacher's role is critical at this final phase in helping students make sense of the simulated experience and tie it to course content. The teacher structures and facilitates the learning environment fairly tightly; however, students are active in determining their own experiences during the simulation.

Students work individually or cooperatively in a nonthreatening atmosphere in which feedback comes from the simulation or from peers.