How to keep a child with ADHD motivated in the classroom

To do their best in class, children need to be motivated and encouraged. However, many teachers tend to focus on changing the child. What may be a better approach is to change the teaching process in the classroom.

Try and make the subject of study stimulating and relevant to a child’s life experiences. When this is not the case, it leads to disruptive behaviour, poor academic performance, limited progress, and dropping out. Children with ADHD live in the present, so approaches like grades and report cards are not very effective.

Instead a curriculum that gives the child choices and options will lead him or her to participate more actively. To maintain the motivation levels, the teacher should constantly evaluate what is being taught and how.

Some methods to consider are:

  • Offer a structured, predictable environment.
  • Give simple instructions.
  • Offer a mix of verbal and visual instructions.
  • Clearly lay down the rules, limits, and expectations.
  • Allow for some breaks so the child gets a chance to re-energise.
  • Allow for classroom activities that encourage movement.
  • Get the child’s attention before giving him or her a direction or an instruction. You can do this by calling out the name or giving a hand signal.
  • Come up with a private signal that you can send to the child if the behaviour starts to deteriorate.
  • Assign simple problems and emphasise accuracy rather than give 20 problems that will overwhelm the child.
  • Give the child some time like 10-15 second, to respond to verbal questions.
  • Don't get judgmental when you give reasons for the child's inconsistent and impulsive behaviour.

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