The ADHD Learner: How English Teachers Can Play To Their Strengths

Teachers can often dread getting a student who struggles with ADHD. Classroom management and class work completion can often become more difficult with these students. However, teachers can learn some strategies that help these students stay engaged and optimistic in the classroom. Here are some ways that English teachers can help ADHD students excel.

Provide leadership opportunities.

Students who have ADHD are not incapable of staying on task. In fact, for things that engage their creativity and interest, they can stay involved easily. These students can often have a positive presence in the classroom and need an opportunity to shine. So, instead of reprimanding the student for distracting others, pull the student aside and brainstorm ways that they can be a leader in the group. For example, put one of these students in charge of a reading group. If possible, let this student choose the book. Let them compile a list of questions for the other students in the reading group and direct the discussion. This way, instead of sitting down and being quiet, the student can stand and talk. Of course, this suggestion varies based on the student’s ability and interest. But finding ways for students with learning differences to lead can help them to feel confident in their learning and give them a real role in classroom activities.

Encourage imagination.

One of the ways you can help a student with ADHD stay attentive and active in class is to provide plenty of diverse teaching methods that play to their active imaginations. Some suggestions include:

  • taking notes with pictures instead of words. Have students draw what happened in a chapter instead of writing a summary. 
  • telling stories. During a transition (moving from reading to writing), prepare for the sudden change in task by engaging all the students in a chain story, where each student contributes a. Have your student with ADHD start the story and direct it back to him or her often.
  • acting things out. When studying a short story or play, have certain student take turns being the characters. Allow for things like costumes and props to make it more memorable and engaging.
  • using recorded tapes to read books to the class. Try using different voices and mediums to keep things interesting. 

Other classroom management solutions include the basics, like provide movement for students who need it and using voice cues and signals to remind a student to stay on task. A combination of both highlighting strengths and cultivating weaknesses can really help students with this condition excel. 

Author: Shawna Rios

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