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Template:How can children with ADHD learn English as a second language?

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Context of the Problem

The past few decades has seen the problem that Learning disabilities become increasing in children. The rationality behind this reflects the acknowledged learning difficulties many students face. The problem here is to give successful classes for every student.

During school years, teachers have to be aware about the needs that his/her students present in the classroom in order to recognize students with Learning Disabilities and to know how to work with them. According to Kemp, G. and Smith, M. (2011), learning disabilities or learning disorders are not a problem with intelligence, it is caused by a difference in the brain that affects how information is received, processed or communicated. Students that present these learning disabilities see, hear and understand things differently.

According to Dupont, A. (1995), a field of Learning disabilities is Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). ADHD is a common behavioral disorder that affects an estimated 8% to 10% of school-age-children. Kids with ADHD act without thinking are hyperactive and have trouble focusing. Boys are about three times more likely than girls to be diagnosed with it, though it is not yet understood why. That’s why in a school there are more boys with ADHD than girls.

Nowadays in Mexico, public schools are facing the problem of having students with different disabilities in the classroom. “Escuelas Integradoras- Un Nuevo Modelo Educativo” pretends to integrate students with different disabilities in a regular classroom. This model has the objective of accepting students with disabilities in the classroom in order for them to receive the same and equal education as regular students receive. According to Summer, C. (2011), students with different disabilities will require a higher attention than the other students because they present learning difficulties.

In public schools there is one Spanish teacher who is in charge of the whole group (30-40 students). It is hard to pay attention to all these students and it is harder to pay attention to students with ADHD. Teachers of students with ADHD have to take into consideration that there are individual differences among students in the classroom. That’s why teachers must apply the appropriate strategies in the classroom in order to work with the whole group.

Today’s Mexico Education has the objective of applying English classes to all primary public schools. English Second Language (ESL) teachers need to be prepared for this problem. How they are going to teach the English language to students with ADHD?. First of all ESL teachers have to be able to recognize children with ADHD in order to work effectively with them. ESL teachers can recognize it if their behaviors take time away from instruction and they disrupt the whole class.

ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) is a disorder that appears in early childhood. The disorder affects the learning of children, their behavior and their development. According to Bupas (2011), ADHD is a disorder that is more common in boys than in girls, it affects around one in twenty five boys and one in one hundred girls. ADHD is recognized in children between the ages of three and seven, but symptoms continue into adolescence and adulthood.

The last decades the number of children that present ADHD has been increasing. The classroom counts with more ADHD students each year. That’s why it is essential to mention that first of all the teacher must have a correct knowledge in order to know how to address this disorder inside the classroom. After that teacher must manage the students appropriately by being patient and accepting the conditions that these children present. Different techniques and strategies can be applied in order for a teacher to work efficiently with ADHD pupils.

As it was mentioned before there are teachers who believe that the solution for this disorder is the medication. The lack of teachers’ knowledge in the use of strategies causes that they only believe that medication is the only alternative. However there are different levels of ADHD that a child can have and depending on his level the doctor decides if the boy can be treated with medicines. Teachers have to be conscious that an ADHD student can present learning problems and teachers have to know how to address them. According to Gridley, L. (n.d.), children have trouble controlling their behavior because it is like students have many radio stations playing inside their head all at the same moment which makes it difficult to just only listen to one.

The main purpose of the research is to help and encourage ESL teachers to identify effective ways of teaching English to such students with ADHD. The problem here is to be realistic and think on the number of students that a teacher has in the classroom and furthermore the students with learning disabilities that the teacher also has. That’s why there must exist special teachers assistance in every classroom in order to devote close attention to these students.

To give English classes in a public school is a challenge for the ESL teacher; always remember to apply teaching techniques and teaching strategies that help students with ADHD focus and maintain their concentration on your English class.

Method and Materials

One male participant is needed, he studies second grade in one public elementary school located in Jesus Maria, Aguascalientes. He is considered with Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity (ADHD) based on a teacher diagnostic. The name of this student is Jorge and he studies in an integrative classroom with normative students. Nowadays this classroom is receiving English classes and Jorge tends to distract easily, and in some activities he does not do something in English classes. The involved participants for this study are: the child, the Spanish teacher, the English teacher and the whole classroom.

First of all a check list will be needed in order to identify what behaviors, activities or tasks does the students do during the English class, this will be get through an observation. The checklist counts with eight different aspects that the kid can present in the class. Then will be needed to interview the Spanish teacher using a questionnaire in order to collect specific information of the child. The questionnaire counts with different questions in order to obtain information from the child seen by the Spanish teacher. Once that there are the answers of the checklist and the answers of the questionnaire, it will be needed to analyze the information and identify the main problems of the child.

After that using information of strategies to work with ADHD students in the classroom from different sources will be necessary. It will be needed to prepare classes creating lesson plans on which specific strategies must be applied. Furthermore the English class will be recorded twice in order to observe the class and determine if the strategies used were effective to every student. In this step a check list will be used to check if the teacher used correctly the strategies and techniques to work with the whole group nicely and efficiently.

Finally a perspective of the child will be needed in order for the teacher to know which activities of the class were significant for the child. This will be measured through drawings of the child on which he is going to be asked to draw the best games and activities of the English class, also to write something he remembers. The child will answer this with the help of the English teacher to observe him while he answers it.

It is essential to mention that different methods will be used in the English classroom. The Suggestopedia method will let students to learn easily in a relaxed and comfortable English environment. The Total Physical Response (TPR) will let students to listen and respond to directions asked by the teacher. Through the use of teaching games students enjoy the experience of communicating in their target language and that`s motivate them a lot. More over this method has the advantage to reduce students stress by applying different active activities.

Results and Data Analysis

The results that this intervention had were really surprising. Different data was analyzed in order to get the real results. The information obtained when the child was observed with the checklist is the following.


With the use of this checklist it could be observable that the child really presents ADHD because of the symptoms he has of inattention, impulsivity and hyperactivity. Once that this information was collected it was necessary to get the second step which was to apply to the Spanish teacher a questionnaire in order to know how does she work with the ADHD student and which strategies and techniques does she apply during the classes. The teacher rectified that the child with ADHD needs more attention than the others and because of that the use of techniques and strategies have to be applied in the classes in order to provide an efficient teaching to the child.

The lesson plan used in the class was planned and based in all the different information the boy showed. The class was recorded and it could be identified the presence of the Suggestopedia method inside the classroom due to the fact that the classroom had different attractive and colorful material pasted in the whole classroom. Additionally with the recorded of the class it was also observable the different strategies that the English teacher used in order for the ADHD student focus his attention, learn, participate and work during the English class. After the recorded a checklist was used in order to analyze if the teacher used the appropriate strategies and techniques to work with this child. The results of this checklist showed that the teacher:


Finally when we knew the perspective of the child it was very important to know how much knowledge does the child acquired during the English class. Surprisingly the child could answer a task on which it was asked to explain the topic we saw in the class and he could answer it adequately. The perspective was measured with an instrument on which the child had to draw different pictures of the topic seen in the class (Rules of the class). It is essential to mention that the teacher was present when the child answered the instrument. The child could draw different pictures. The results of this let us know that the child could achieve a significant learning in the class regardless the disorder.

All these data collected was obtained with real information, the results showed that a child with ADHD can learn the English language. The strategies used by the teacher in the classroom have to be the appropriate ones in order to achieve a successful learning. The different techniques and the different strategies the English teacher used during the class were so helpful and useful in order for the student to work efficiently with the activity assigned by the teacher.


Discuss your results in terms of how they answer your research question(s) or hypothesis. Did your intervention work? What recommendations can you offer? How might others extend this research? Are there any limitations?

The process that was followed since the beginning of the intervention was very important because of the use of different instruments with the objective of having real results. At the beginning of the intervention different hypothesis were made. One of them was that the ADHD student cannot learn English because in the classroom. The size of each group in the school is very big and the teacher has a lot of students, so it would be a little bit difficult to focus attention to the ADHD student. The research questions were How can children learn English as a second language and what strategies can an ESL (English Second Language) teacher use to make all the students learn and participate in the same way.

Surprisingly with the results that were obtained, now it can be said that an ADHD child can learn English as a second language. The use of different strategies and techniques was the appropriate in order to work with ADHD students efficiently. Furthermore the strategies and techniques applied during the class were useful for the whole group because normative students had a learning of their target language; all of them worked and participated.

The advantages that the intervention had were satisfactory. The results of the different instruments that were applied were real and useful. It was really helpful in order to get the final results and to achieve the objective of the intervention. In addition the intervention shows that the use of different techniques and strategies is really necessary to work with ADHD students inside the classroom. Moreover the use of teaching methods is also essential to provide the child the enough knowledge to achieve the ADHD children learn English as a second language.

The information that were collected is very helpful and useful in order to identify advantages that an ESL teacher can have in order to make the ADHD child learn efficiently the English language. Different strategies and techniques like to give clear and short instructions and repeat them whenever is necessary in order to make it easier to the student to get the instruction. The use of attractive material helps the students to pay attention and focus if on what the teacher is explaining. Finally to give extra time and plan well the teacher has to be patient and give the student the extra time for homework, assignments or exams. Additionally the use of the teaching methods: Suggestopedia is essential to provide students an English environment; the TPR (Total Physical Response) method helps the child to activate their mind and it is useful for the teacher because it gets the students attention.


To conclude, with the use of this intervention it could be noticed the importance for teachers of having the appropriate knowledge and a good training to work efficiently with ADHD children in a classroom. As it was mentioned before the use of appropriate techniques and strategies inside the classroom help ADHD students and normative students to learn English as a second language.

Nowadays public schools in Mexico are called “Escuelas integradoras” ad moreover the Subject of English language is applied in all the schools. That’s why ESL teachers need to be prepared for this situation to have SDHD students. Also they need to be aware of what students are learning and of what the teacher is teaching and how she is teaching. The intervention was successful due to the fact that it was really useful to know the development of an ADHD child in a classroom with normative students. Furthermore to know the importance that teaching methods and strategies have on the child that presents the disorder. Finally it is essential for a teacher to know how to manage and address an ADHD child in order to learn English successfully and to make the student to produce the language.

The intervention shows different information that is very useful in order to know how ADHD children put themselves across well in the classroom. It also shows different characteristics that a teacher needs to know about ADHD children. Moreover different strategies, techniques and teaching methods can be applied in the classroom to work efficiently with ADHD students.


Bupas’ Health Information (2011). Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in children. Retrieved from

Dupont, A. (1995). What is ADHD? Retrieved from

Gridley, L. (n.d.). What ADHD students wish their teachers knew. Retrieved from

Kemp, G. and Smith, M. (2011). Learning disabilities in children. Retrieved from

Summer, C. (2011). Disabled students’ program. Retrieved from


Design- 1 week

Data collection- 3 weeks

Analysis- 3 weeks

Writing Paper- 6 weeks


  • Remember that your action research paper must be emailed to me as a Word document. To convert your wiki text to Word refer to this video. If you email me your finished document by Thursday (Dec. 9, 2011), I'll check your work, making comments in the Word document, and send it back to you for final revisions. --Bnleez 21:48, 8 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Most of your citations will occur in your theoretical framework.  Try to include at least one citation in each paragraph that makes up your theoretical framework. --Bnleez 13:56, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
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Note: For those taking Applied Linguistics for credit, please do the following:

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