Part #14- General Education Teachers’ Knowledge of and Attitudes toward Students with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorders in the General Education Classroom



This issue of NASET’s ADHD series was written by Dr. Roben Wallace Taylor and Dr. Ravic P. Ringlaben.  It comes from their recent Fall 2013 publication in the peer reviewed journal, The Journal of the American Academy of Special Education Professionals. Their study was an investigation of general education teachers’ knowledge and attitudes regarding students with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD). Of interest were (a) the extent of teachers’ knowledge about characteristics of AD/HD; (b) the extent of teachers’ knowledge of teacher skills appropriate for educating students with AD/HD; and (c) the extent of teachers’ willingness to accommodate students with AD/HD. There was an initial assessment of teachers’ knowledge and attitudes (pretest) followed by a workshop designed to increase teachers’ knowledge and improve their attitudes. An additional assessment of their knowledge and attitudes (posttest) was then administered. Results and implications for future research are discussed within this article.



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Appendix A - Questionaire





Directions: Please answer the following statements by putting an X in the blank that best describes you.

You are:                                  _______Male                          ________Female


Your ethnic background is

_____African American         ____Caucasian/Non-Hispanic


Your years of teaching experience range between:


_____ 1-5 years          _____ 6-10 years        _____ 11-15    _____ 16-20 years


Have you ever taught a student with AD/HD?          _____ Yes       _____No


Type(s) of Certification __________________________


Grades presently teaching: _____ (1-6) Elementary                         _____ (7-9) Junior High

_____ (10-12) High School


Directions: For each of the following items, please answer the following statements by circling either 1 (Never), 2 (Sometimes), 3 (Most of the time) 4 (Always)


Statement                                                                           1          2          3          4


  1. I am WILLING to change my classroom policies to         1          2          3            4

accommodate a student who breaks classroom rules.


2. I am Willing to change my normal teaching strategies to      1          2          3          4

accommodate a student who is inattentive and distractible.


3. I am WILLING to change my normal teaching

strategies to accommodate a student who blurts out answers and    1          2          3          4

interrupts others.


4.  I am WILLING to change my normal teaching strategies      1          2          3          4

to accommodate a student who talks excessively and often does

not listen.


5. I am WILLING to change my normal teaching strategies        1          2          3          4

in order to accommodate a student who consistently shifts from

one activity to another.


6. I am WILLING to change my methods of assessment to           1          2          3          4

accommodate a student who often does not complete his work

because of an inability to stay focused on my classroom instruction.


Please answer the following items by circling the number that indicates your level of agreement (1 is equal to the LOWEST level of agreement).


Statement                                                                                            LOW              HIGH



7. I am SKILLED at designing long-range plans that meet the        1          2          3          4

needs of my students with AD/HD.


8. I am SKILLED at appropriately pacing and timing the                1          2          3          4

presentation of content material for my students with AD/HD.


9. I am SKILLED at grouping for instruction so that the needs        1          2          3          4

of all my students are effectively met.


10. I am SKILLED at designing tests that effectively monitor         1          2          3          4

progress of students with AD/HD.


11. I am SKILLED at using individualized/different criteria           1          2          3          4

when evaluating the assignments and tests of students with AD/HD.


12. I am SKILLED at designing short-range plans that meet           1          2          3          4

the needs of my students with AD/HD.


13. I am SKILLED at adapting course content to meet the               1          2          3          4

needs of my students with AD/HD.


14. I am SKILLED at using frequent checks to monitor                   1          2          3          4

the progress of my students with AD/HD.


15. I am SKILLED at providing individualized instruction              1          2          3          4

for students with AD/HD.


Directions: Please answer the following statements by circling either TRUE or FALSE.




16. A student with AD/HD has one or more learning disabilities.            TRUE             FALSE


17. A student with AD/HD can be taught more successfully after            TRUE              FALSE

being treated with medication.


18. Students with AD/HD cannot control their behavior in the                TRUE              FALSE

general education setting.


19. A student with AD/HD knows how to interact socially, but               TRUE              FALSE

cannot control his actions.


20. If a student can watch cartoons on Saturday morning and           TRUE              FALSE

pay attention, he probably does not have AD/HD.


21. Students with AD/HD, who are able to interact with their             TRUE              FALSE

teacher one on one, can behave in the general education classroom.


22. Students with AD/HD cannot do math problems as well             TRUE              FALSE

as students without AD/HD.


23. Students with AD/HD usually are not successful in college        TRUE              FALSE

preparatory programs.


24. Students with AD/HD break rules and regulations because    TRUE              FALSE

most of them just do not want to be compliant.


25. Students with AD/HD can only succeed in specially               TRUE              FALSE

designed classrooms equipped to accommodate their disorder.


26. Students with AD/HD do not respond to rewards and             TRUE              FALSE

punishments as do students without AD/HD.


27. Students with AD/HD often have no problems with                TRUE              FALSE



28. Students with AD/HD need to be referred for mental            TRUE              FALSE

health counseling.


29. Students with AD/HD need to be referred for medical          TRUE              FALSE



30. Children diagnosed with AD/HD usually outgrow their

AD/HD tendencies by late junior or senior high school.            TRUE              FALSE


Thank you for your participation in this study.

Appendix B - Workshop Outline





(3.5 Hours – Session 1)

I.          Introduction

A. Purpose of the workshop

1. Description of the study

2. Call for participants

3. Distribution of questionnaire

4. Directions for completing questionnaire

5. Explanation of the post-test questionnaire

6. Collection of pre-test questionnaire

B. What is AD/HD?

1. Prevalence of AD/HD

a. gender

b. in the United States

c. mental health facilities

d. in general education and special education populations

2. Common ideas teachers have about students with AD/HD

a. fact

b. myth

3. Primary characteristics of students with AD/HD

a. inattention

b. impulsivity

c. hyperactivity

d. examples of a, b, c

4. Secondary characteristics of students with AD/HD

a. cognitive characteristics

b. academic characteristics

c. social problems


II.         Difficulties Teachers Face in Instructing Students with AD/HD

A.Teacher resistance to instruct students with disruptive and/or academic difficulties.

    1. “Contagious behavior” effect

    2. Teachers’ notion of student success

    3. Accommodations, both academically and behaviorally

    4. Teachers’ view of AD/HD

    B.  Teachers’ concern regarding the use of behavior modification procedures.

    1. Philosophical objections

    2. Time

    3. Ease of preparation to implement behavior modification

    C. Teacher Isolation

    1.  Lack of support

    a. administration

    b. parents

    c. community

    2. Ill-prepared prior to the placement of students with AD/HD.

    3. Assumptions regarding teacher commitment is often erroneous

    4. “Good teachers always have orderly, quiet classroom.”

    III.       Conclusion

    Question and answer discussion period





    (3.5 Hours – Session II)


    I.          Introduction

    A. Review previous session’s topics (major issues of discussion)

    B. Legislation impacting students with disabilities

    1. PL 94-142

    2. IDEA PL 105-17

    3. Notice of Inquiry by U. S. Department of Education regarding AD/HD

    4. ADD policy memorandum

    5. IDEIA

    6. Section 504

    7. No Child Left Behind Act

    8. Application to students with AD/HD

    II.         Type of Interventions Appropriate for Students with AD/HD

    A. Medical interventions

    1. General information regarding medications for students with behavioral/emotional problems

    2. Stimulants and Ad/HD

    3. Ethical and legal concerns regarding the use of medication for students with AD/HD

    4. Need for collaborative roles in the medication process

    B. School Based Interventions/Critical Features

    1. Determine extent of need

    2. Commitment

    3. Roles and responsibilities

    4. Commitment to continuity of intervention efforts

    5. Gradual transfer of intervention responsibility to general educators

    6. Commitment to involve parents

    7. Commitment and administrative support

    8. Positive school climate

    III.       Conclusions

    Question and answer discussion







    I. Problematic Issues to be Considered During Intervention Process

    A. Defining target behavior

    B. Varying behaviors of students with Ad/HD

    C. Prioritizing behaviors

    D. Complexity of intervention efforts

    1. Illustrative case studies demonstrating dramatic differences in types of behavior that students exhibit in school setting

    a. Allen

    b. Mark

    c. Tanya

    2. Establish an intervention model using case studies

    II.         Physical Environment Intervention

    A. Arrangements

    1. Grouping arrangements

    2. Seating arrangements

    3. Proximity control

    4. Reducing distractions

    B. Classroom environment

    1. Scheduling subjects

    2. Established, organized, predictable schedule

    a. transition

    b. incorporating activity into class structure/lesson

    C. Teacher organization

    1. Modeling organized behavior

    2. Using object placement routines

    3. Teaching time estimation skills

    III. Academic Interventions

    A. Principles of Effective Teaching

    1. Instructional cycle

    2. Maximize student engagement in instruction

    3. High rates of student success

    4. Questioning which facilitates students learning

    5. Managing student responses in a facilitative way

    6. Corrective feedback

    7. Appropriate pace

    8. Organized content

    B. Teaching considerations

    1. Intervene academically first

    2. Increase stimulating value of lesson

    3. Use direct or computer-assisted instruction

    4. Shorten length of assignments/provide more time to complete task

    C. Specific academic modifications

    1. Individual assignment sheets

    2. Priority time sheets

    3. Independent study

    4. Strategy to promote student work productivity

    a. illustrative example of cognitive-behavior theory

    b. phases of an effective lesson structure

    c. effective/ineffective praise

    d. illustrate example of a content organizer

    e. illustrate example of a content diagram

    f. illustrate example of a study guide

    5. Teaching and using study skills

    IV. Behaviorally-based interventions

    A. Overview

    1. Power struggles

    2. Escape/avoidance behaviors

    B. Appropriate use of contingent feedback

    1. Providing positive teacher attention

    2. Effective and ineffective commands

    C. Group contingencies

    D. Individual contingency contracts

    E. Setting up a Token Economy

    F. An overview of social skills rating

    V.        Conclusion

    A. Question/answer discussion

    B. Teacher plans for using material presented for workshops ensure teacher  understanding

    Appendix C - Interview Questions





    Interview Questions


    What made you want to be a teacher?

    • What do you like best about the teaching profession?
    • What doubts and concerns do you have as a teacher?


    What kinds of experiences have you had with students with AD/HD?


    What is it like having students with AD/HD in your classroom?

    • What are the advantages and disadvantages of having students with AD/HD in your classrooms?


    Do your teaching strategies differ for students with AD/HD?

    • How? In what ways?


    If you found out on Monday that you were going to have a student with AD/HD in your class, what would you consider as your teaching responsibility for this student?

    • Would there be any particular things that you would expect to do differently?
    • In considering your goals and career as a teacher, what particular feelings do you have about being a teacher in a classroom that has students with AD/HD?


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