Department of special needs and inclusive education

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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a medical diagnosis given to children who have developmental, behavioural and cognitive difficulties compared to their peers. (Spohrer.2006). According to Barkley (1990) this is the most recent diagnostic label for children presenting with significant problems with attention, impulse control, and over activity. Children with ADHD are a heterogeneous population who display considerable variation in the degree of their symptoms.

Spohrer (2006) argues that ADHD has three components:

Sustaining attention and concentration.

Controlling impulses.

Controlling motor activity.

The ADHD is a mental disorder, usually diagnosed during nursery, childhood or even adolescence. Children with ADHD face hardships in significant elevations of their lives, which have to do with their school, their family or their personal relationships. More specifically, they cannot control their behaviour and hyperactivity, plus, they cannot concentrate and pay attention. Barkley (1998) argues that ADHD is a disability of school-age children. The primary characteristics of this disorder are hyperactivity, inability to pay attention and inability to control their reactions.

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Teachers play a vital role in the determination of and interference with ADHD at all phases of education. Either way, the relationship between the teacher's and the child is of central significance. Teachers, with no expertise in ADHD, are often in a lower knowledge and contact level, compared to primary teachers with a master level (Cooper and O'Regon 2001). Furthermore, teachers normally interpret the disorder symptoms according to their beliefs about children's behaviour, educational experience and their knowledge about ADHD (Ainscow, 1998; Nespor, 1997). Also, Poulou and Norwich (2000), based on the theories of pre-planned behaviour and motivation and emotions performance, have established a model explanation about the reactions and behaviours of teachers towards the academic behaviours of children.

The teachers who will participate in our survey are currently enrolled in secondary education schools. Through a non random technique we will first select 10 schools which will participate in our research. Then, with the same technique we will select 40 teachers, 20 of whom will be specialized in ADHD and 20 will be not. The reason for this distinction is because teacher's abilities and motivations to implement behavioural programs, varies according to their training, experience and beliefs about the educational process (Barkley, 1990).

Two purposes framed this investigation.

To gain an in-depth understanding of the educational and pedagogical practices of teachers dealing with ADHD, and

To examine teachers' knowledge in secondary schools teaching children with ADHD.

1.2 The nature Of This Thesis

The central thesis of this study will examine the knowledge and practices of teachers in secondary education in terms of how they confront the Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Two threads of research will be examined: practices in education and teaching that teachers follow so that children with ADHD will learn more efficiently; and the differences between experienced and non-experienced teachers' attitude, concerning the diagnosis and support of children with ADHD.

Proceeding from the study's purposes, the research will have the following objectives:

To examine teachers' role in the treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

To examine teachers' knowledge and their attitudes towards ADHD

To examine the distinction between experienced and non-experienced teachers on ADHD.

Being supported both by theory and research, we can formulate the following five questions:

Do teachers implement different teaching methods between children with ADHD and children without ADHD?

What is the knowledge that teachers have concerning the linguistic problems of children with ADHD?

What are the strategies that teachers in secondary schools follow so that children with ADHD will not have consistent difficulties?

What training skills, experience and beliefs teachers have about ADHD?

What are the differences between experienced and non-experienced teachers as for the educational practices they use when teaching to children with ADHD?

1.3 Research Design Within The Thesis

Initially, we will select the participant secondary schools and teachers using a non random selection procedure. The sample selection will be based on teachers' educational level. The research will use quantitative methodology, principally an experimental research approach which will examine through statistical methods, the knowledge, the difficulties, the strategies and techniques that teachers might confront in their school life.

Data sources will include a series of questionnaires and interviews with the teachers, which will take place at schools, in order to understand their knowledge and attitudes towards ADHD. Questionnaire questions will have the form of a five-point Likert scale. In order to collect the research data we will use the following questionnaires:

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ADHD Knowledge Based Questionnaire.

Parent Account of the Causes of Childhood Problems Questionnaire, PACCP.

The design of the questions and the content of the questionnaires will be based on a pilot survey.

The thesis will evaluate the knowledge and methods used among experienced and non-experienced teachers, concerning the diagnosis, the treatment and support of children with ADHD. Figure 1 represents how the research questions are going to be referred to the study's two main purposes. Figure 2 represents the entire research, showing the relationship between Purposes, the Research Questions, the Conceptual Content and Data Collection.

Figure 1. Representation Of How The Research Questions Address The Study's Two Major Purposes

Purposes of the study

1. To gain an in-depth understanding of the educational and pedagogical practices of teachers dealing with ADHD.

2. To examine teachers' knowledge in secondary schools teaching children with ADHD.

Research Questions

1. Do teachers implement different teaching methods between children with ADHD and children without ADHD?

2. What is the knowledge that teachers have concerning the linguistic problems of children with ADHD?

3. What are the strategies that teachers in secondary schools follow so that children with ADHD will not have consistent difficulties?

4. What training skills, experience and beliefs teachers have about ADHD?

5. What are the differences between experienced and non-experienced teachers as for the educational practices they use when teaching to children with ADHD?

Figure 2. Performance of the complete research

Research Questions

1. Do teachers implement different teaching methods between children with ADHD and children without ADHD?

2. What is the knowledge that teachers have concerning the linguistic problems of children with ADHD?

3. What are the strategies that teachers in secondary schools follow so that children with ADHD will not have consistent difficulties?

4. What training skills, experience and beliefs teachers have about ADHD?

5. What are the differences between experienced and non-experienced teachers as for the educational practices they use when teaching to children with ADHD?

Purposes of the study

1. To gain an in-depth understanding of the educational and pedagogical practices of teachers dealing with ADHD.

2. To examine teachers' knowledge in secondary schools teaching children with ADHD.

Conceptual Content

1. Concepts and definition about ADHD.

2. The educational ability of teachers on this issue.

3. Persuasions of teachers.

4. Role of experiences and knowledge in being and becoming a teacher in order to support children with ADHD.

Data Collection

Non Random selection

Questionnaires

Interview

Personal writing

Experimental research approach.

1.4 Ethical Issues within the thesis

There is a broad agenda of ethical issues concerning the educational research, mainly in terms associated to practice. According to Beauchamp and Childress (2001), there are four significant ethical issues that need to be addressed in order to approach the research:

Respect of autonomy. The research ought to respect the documented aspect of participants about their involvement;

The beneficence. Inform them that their participation is benefit for the research;

Non maleficence. Harm to research participants must be avoided;

Justice. Equal and justice selection of the sample. So as, the information of the research to be confidant;

There are issues of validity and accountability that are raised when an enquiry is founded upon a history of acquaintance and subliminal observation not available to an outsider. According to Frankfort-Nachmias and Nachmias (1992), there are two rights: the right to inquire and acquire knowledge and the right of individual study of participants to self-determination, confidentiality and dignity.

There are aspects of confidentiality and anonymity that any study should address. One very practical one is the concept that as a researcher we have the duty of care in various directions. We have to treat the sample with care and respect and protect the collection of the data. Furthermore, in studies that participate in children, parents should give their consent for getting their children involved. Especially, those who are below the age of 15.

Moreover, Plummer (1983) suggests that the researcher has to respect the anonymity by replacing the addresses, the dates of birth and names with pseudonyms. Furthermore, participants who are involved in the research must agree to the principles before the work begins and they must be aware of their rights in the process. Finally, concerning the whole elements that will be collected, they should be published with accuracy and impartiality.

1.5 The Contribution Of This Thesis

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The results of this study are going to demonstrate not only significant improvements in academic performance towards ADHD but also improvements in children's behavior. Moreover, the research will indicate that teachers can sometimes become polarized between those who, at one extreme, want nothing to do with these students, and those who, at the other extreme, become champions for these students and take their side against their colleagues.

However, the encouraging and supporting attitude of teachers whilst keeping teaching activities, on the one hand creates a suitable frame that gives the occasion in the child to experience success. On the other hand, it creates a positive attitude towards the children's educational process to encourage their additional efforts.

An important issue in the investigation will be that in some cases intensive teaching in behavioural processes may be required. Teachers without specific experience on ADHD, will be often those who averse using behavioural approaches out of concern. These approaches may be too mechanistic and fail to foster a child's natural development and learning motivation. Good results in terms of learning are that teachers and students will be more fulfilled with the efficiency of teaching and learning tasks in a variety of ways. That is the reason that ensures the process of building knowledge, according to their preferred learning styles.

Thus, this study will not only attempt to highlight the general knowledge of teachers of secondary education related to the education of children with ADHD, but also will provide further insights on the following aspects: firstly, it will be necessary for the educator to be trained on issues concerning behavioural children's problems. Secondly, the research will show that teachers with a master level in special needs have better knowledge in ADHD, related to teachers who don't. Finally, the data gathered from this research will be very important for the academic educators of secondary education, because, they will guide them to improve the cognitive level of children.

The review of the literature that follows is going to be divided into three sections and will present the major conceptual and theoretical framework. First, it will point out the concepts and the definitions about ADHD within a classroom, with special emphasis on the educational ability of teachers on this issue. Second, it will explore the persuasions of teachers and in what way their personalities are going to be formed as a consequence. Third, it will pursue the role of experiences and knowledge in being and becoming a teacher in order to support children with ADHD.

1.6 Delimitations Of, And Definitions Of The Terms Used Within This Thesis.

The sample of this study will be secondary education teachers of 10 schools in Athens, Greece. Half of them will have a master's qualification in special needs and inclusive education plus working experience in ADHD, in contrast to the other half who will not have experience on the subject.

According to researchers, Greek teachers in secondary education know more about the symptoms of ADHD and less about the methods addressing them, due to the fact that during their university studies they did not receive specialized education on this field. Certainly, anyone wishing to draw comparisons with this study should take into consideration the different answers of teachers about the symptoms of ADHD and their level of knowledge, as well as the strategies, methods and implemented techniques.

In an ideal research, in order to have the best results, we should sample the entire population. In reality, though, it is impossible to sample the whole population, due to our budget, time and feasibility. In our proposed research, we will try to select a sample group of teachers that will be representative of the whole population, concerning their knowledge about how to teach children with ADHD. Our study's overall results have to be applicable and generalizable, to form coherent interpretations in similar situations, for the sake of the children. Of course, we should not expect our generalizations to operate the same way in each circumstance.

1.7 Organisation Of This Thesis

The proposed Thesis entitled "Educator knowledge on secondary education related to teaching children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder» is organized into six chapters: Chapter 1 will present an introduction and background of the ADHD, the purposes of this research and limitations of the research. Chapter 2 will contain the central thesis of this study. Two threads of research will be examined: practices in education and teaching that teachers follow so that children with ADHD will learn more efficiently; and the differences between experienced and non-experienced teachers' attitude, concerning the diagnosis and support of children with ADHD. Chapter 3 will contain a description of the quantitative research undertaken, justifying the experimental research approach. Moreover, the chapter will present the procedures of collecting and analyzing the data. Then, we will present how the research questions are going to be referred to the study's two main purposes and we will represent the entire research, showing the relationship between Purposes, the Research Questions, the Conceptual Content and Data Collection. Chapter 4 will include the findings and several ethical issues and ways to protect participants and results. Chapter 5 will contain a discussion of the findings, the conceptual content of the thesis, and the contribution of the research to the total of population. Finally, Chapter 6 will contain the conclusions and implications of the thesis associated with its original aims, as well as recommendations and proposals for further work in the field.