We’re prepping to step out into uncharted waters, and so I thought I’d post this out and see who’s reading still - and tap into your networked intel.
My small company has started working with an adult student with ADD, and I’d like to toss out some ideas that I got from research I’ve been doing on the matter. Please tell me what you think, and if you have other ideas on the matter - do chime in on the comments. Thank you!
Traits that could work in our favor:
1. ADD does not mean "unable to learn." It means teachers must find a way in and reach the student.
2. Teachers should look for ways to take advantage of and unleash creativity. I’ve interviewed this student and spoken to him several times. His office has many small statues of famous musicians, cool jazz instruments, and - changing topic - sports items. (He’s an intense soccer fan.) Having read the bit on livingwithadd.com, the creativity part seems to make some sense here.
3. Gut feelings and Intuition - how could teachers tap into this? From what I’ve heard about the ADD client we want to work with, he has a reputation of operating from the gut. I wonder how/if this could be tapped in the ESL classroom. Perhaps trying to anticipate how grammar will work?
4. Holding interest is a big battle we must win. Learning a language is a long term quest - and a successful teacher working with an ADD student will need to learn how to market their stuff REALLY, REALLY well. And on a regular basis. I’ve heard this student say - on several occasions - that he’s just not good at learning languages. Perhaps what he’s really saying is that he’s just not been engaged in the right way?
5. Class material must be deemed important by the student to be paid attention to. The guy’s office is —well, it looks like a small bomb went off. Piles of stuff everywhere. EVERYWHERE. What does that look like in the ESL classroom? Is there something here against strict classroom rules or learning pathways? Should there be more freedom instead? More - wandering?
6. Time not mattering much. That’s bad news. This guy notoriously arrives late for class - or sometimes doesn’t show at all. Could this be that his concept of time has been altered for the moment? What does this mean for typical classrooms? How long could he hang in there and focus? Would short, high concentrated bursts throughout the day work better?
7. Very important: help create a strong sense of accomplishment - and on a regular basis. Create short work projects with clear objectives, and then help student realize that they have actually accomplished that task with they finish. Create clearn starting and ending markers.
Those are some of my thoughts…what do you think?