Action learning

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The solutions to most problems that learners face in the education setting can be attained if instructors pull efforts together and embrace action learning as a remedial measure. In fact, Bradfield, Cairns, and Wright (2015) note that in these times of multifaceted educational challenges, it is upon the responsibility of educators to embrace action learning as the only sure way to gain practical answers to such problems. One major problem in contemporary classrooms is autism. The purpose of this essay is to discuss one area related to autism and how action learning can tackle the issue. Ornoy et al. (2015) observe that certain medical conditions associated with autism such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) are of great academic influence and therefore warrant great efforts in their scrutiny. This essay shall discuss ADHD and how action learning could be applied as an approach to solving the problem.

Reasons for choosing ADHD

This action learning assignment has chosen ADHD for a number of reasons. First, Ornoy et al. (2015) opine that one of the areas related to autism and has an immense impact on educational attainment is ADHD. This is due to the tendency by such learners to show inattention due to the medical condition. Further, ADHD is directly linked to education in a negative way as learners often wander off and show lack of persistence in learning. This is the idea echoed by Bradfield, Cairns, and Wright (2015) who add that ADHD is a serious educational problem that should elicit thorough scholarly scrutiny because lack of comprehension that most learners often show is a constant reason for concern to both parents and teachers.  Another reason for choosing ADHD as an area associated with autism resides in Luman, Goos, and Oosterlaan’s (2015) observation that learning as an important process faces significant challenges especially from hyperactive behaviours that are attributed to ADHD. They add that an increasing phenomenon in early childhood involves cases of interruptive behaviour that disrupts smooth learning. These reasons warrant the investigation of the problem based on action learning.

Research Method

In this investigation, longitudinal research method would be used. The justification for this choice is stressed by Wang et al. (2017) who observe that longitudinal research measures behaviour in a group and conduct follow-ups over some stated time to find out if the remedial actions taken may have had an impact. The action learning in this research, therefore, relies heavily on recommendations aimed at changing the nature of the ADHD learners in a classroom. Longitudinal research is therefore appropriate for the present essay.

Ways in which knowledge from the research could improve Language Pedagogy

From the data collected in this research, it is clear that several pedagogic implications can be made for transformations among students suffering from autism-related cases. To begin with, the research has revealed that the curriculum could be modified to address the needs of ADHD children. This is possible in a number of ways. For example, integrating extracurricular activities would be part of varying the routine to engage the ADHD students.  This echoes the idea expressed by Aguiar et al (2014) who say that ADHD learners require a perfect blend between instructional methods and psychological perspectives to initiate curriculum changes that directly address the needs of the learners. The research also finds out that incorporation of movements in learning classes is another pedagogic modification that can solve the problem of attention hyperactivity among students.

The interplay between psychology and education in the present research has established that mentorship programs could be integrated into the pedagogy to take care of the ADHD. Barkley (2013) observes that the destructive behaviour of children with autism that oftentimes borders on the desire for immediate reward requires serious pedagogic readjustments. In light of the present research, mentorship could come in handy to assist learners in language lessons.  Further, in the language instruction, the research has established that re-evaluation of the language of instruction should be done to emphasise communicative value. For those learners in formative years of school, the language could be made simpler, clearer and a bit repetitive to sustain the attention of the learners.

Finally, individualised instructional practices could be of great importance to language learners in a class with ADHD. Gregory (2015) records that individualised instruction in language learning is especially beneficial to those students with ADHD. This is made possible through designing programs to improve spelling, grammar, reading writing and general speech. For the action learning, the curriculum should not provide mainstream learning activities without inclusive learning. These are some of the areas the research found out.

Current good practice in Language Instruction

So far, certain responses to language instruction among children with ADHD are very admirable. These can be supported using scholarly review. For instance, setting learning expectations is one thing teachers have been doing to manage learners in a class. Writing on this, Dörnyei (2014) defends the psychology of language in selecting individualised materials for learners with autism-related cases. Closely linked to this is the concept of providing audio-visual materials that reinforce the attention of these learners. Dörnyei (2014) stresses that ADHD has a short span attention and inclusion of audio-visual materials is a very helpful step that most instructors and action learners have taken to address the issue.

Another good practice already applied in language instruction is assistive technology. As an inclusive mechanism, language instructors have devised assistive technology to help autism-related victims in language instruction through gadgets such as phonetic spelling software as an audio dictionary. These have helped sustain the attention of the ADHD students thus engaging them for longer periods (Alnahdi, 2014). Further illustrations of good practices involve reduction of language tests that are times as this trouble the students. Also, most teachers are currently introducing small and manageable chunks of language work to learners. These are some of the manageable practices already in place to assist learners with autism-related cases.

Areas of Improvement in ADHD

In an engagement in reflective practice to improve personal skills, a number of areas have proved to be those of weakness. It has come out that in order to effectively handle language among ADHD learners, previewing the next lesson is an area of weakness to be improved on. This borders on the suggestion of Reigeluth (2013) who mentions that ADHD learners should be empowered through “hints” that may make them be at par with the rest in a language classroom. This is in itself an assistive process that my peers have shown as a very critical step in the remedial measures. It should be reemphasised as an area of weakness.

Another area of weakness in language learning that has come out in the instruction of language is the inclusion of cooperative learning strategies. Dörnyei (2014) opines that in order to assist language learners with ADHD, cooperative learning strategies with think pair share and group work strategies should be embraced. In the interaction with the peers, it became clear that the researcher should put more attention on the role of such skills as they prove beneficial to learners. The final area of weakness is the use of computer games for reading comprehension. Through the reflective teamwork and discussion, it has been proved that while other members have heavily applied this system, the researcher has often given delimited attention to it.  These are areas that should be urgently improved in order to assist ADHD learners and others with similar cases.

Areas for development and associated benefits

This action learning exercise reveals at s two strong areas that need development. First, individualised instructional practices should be developed in language instruction for learners with ADHD so that they may be on par with others in test scores. This is possible through selecting supervisors and coordinators who offer assistance to the learners in terms of reading, writing, speaking and other skills needed in language. Another area for development is organisational study skill tool for learners with ADHD. According to Fui and Mai (2014), instead of developing the mainstream education curriculum that only addresses the needs of normal students, a separate curriculum should be designed to address the unique instructional methods of ADHD student. Fui and Mai (2014) further note that teachers find it difficult to socialise these learners alongside others because the pace at which each of the two groups moves is different. These are therefore two pedagogic areas that need urgent development in order to avert the challenges caused by ADHD and associated issues.

Findings

The action learning experience has found out that autism and associated problems have adversely affected learners in a classroom for long. Further, these problems require a blend of psychological and instructional approaches to address. In tackling these problems, emphasis should be placed on designing an individualised curriculum that meets the needs of the students with autism cases. It is equally established that certain good practices are already in place to address this matter but more could be done to help alleviate the plight of such learners.

Conclusion and Recommendation

This research concludes that many issues in education setup can be best approached through action learning that pulls together discursive efforts to remedy the situations. The present pedagogy cannot address the needs of autistic learners. The paper, therefore, recommends that curriculum implementers should rethink the place of autistic students in education and design instructional methods that befit them. Teachers should also appreciate the role of action learning in language instruction as a sure way to improve professionalism in the instructional process of ADHD.

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  1. Aguiar, A.P., Kieling, R.R., Costa, A.C., Chardosim, N., Dorneles, B.V., Almeida, M.R., Mazzuca, A.C., Kieling, C. and Rohde, L.A., 2014. Increasing teachers’ knowledge about   ADHD and learning disorders: an investigation on the role of a psychoeducational intervention. Journal of Attention Disorders18(8), pp.691-698.
  2. Alnahdi, G., 2014. Assistive technology in special education and the universal design for learning. TOJET: The Turkish Online Journal of Educational Technology13(2).
  3. Barkley, R.A., 2013. Taking charge of ADHD: The complete, authoritative guide for parents. Guilford press.
  4. Bradfield, R., Cairns, G. and Wright, G., 2015. Teaching scenario analysis—an action learning pedagogy. Technological Forecasting and Social Change100, pp.44-52.
  5. Dörnyei, Z., 2014. The psychology of the language learner: Individual differences in second language acquisition. Routledge.
  6. Fui-Theng, L.E.O.W., and Mai, N.E.O., 2014. Interactive multimedia learning: Innovating classroom education in a Malaysian university. TOJET: The Turkish Online Journal of         Educational Technology13(2).
  7. Gregory, K.P., 2015. Individual Education Plan (IEP) Development for Children with Developmental Disabilities in Ontario’s Public Schools: A Narrative Case Study Inquiry.
  8. Luman, M., Goos, V. and Oosterlaan, J., 2015. Instrumental learning in ADHD in a context of reward: intact learning curves and performance improvement with methylphenidate. Journal of abnormal child psychology43(4), pp.681-691.
  9. Ornoy, A., Weinstein-Fudim, L., and Ergaz, Z., 2015. Prenatal factors associated with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Reproductive Toxicology56, pp.155-169.
  10. Reigeluth, C.M. ed., 2013. Instructional design theories and models: An overview of their current status. Routledge.
  11. Wang, M., Beal, D.J., Chan, D., Newman, D.A., Vancouver, J.B., and Vandenberg, R.J., 2017.   Longitudinal research: A panel discussion on conceptual issues, research design, and statistical techniques. Work, Aging and Retirement3(1), pp.1-24.
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