In a fascinating interview on the education website www.edutopia.org Judy Willis shares her experiences as a sought-after neurologist for children diagnosed with ADHD. In a society in which such diagnoses are on the rise, her interview is particularly relevant – and her conclusions startling.
What did Willis Hypothesize About the Surge in ADHD Diagnoses?
Willis’ extensive knowledge of the brain led her to wonder if it wasn’t some dysfunction in the children that was causing their boredom and apathy in school, but rather something that their teachers were – or were not – doing. Our brains are designed to filter our world through lenses designed to take note of only novel parts of the environment. Teachers who fail to change up their classrooms or techniques, therefore, run the risk of sending their students into a boredom-induced type of brain stress that makes learning impossible.
How did Willis Test Her Hypothesis?
Willis went back to school – and became a teacher. She’s spent the last several years teaching students using a variety of techniques designed to pique and maintain their interest. She provides consistent and immediate feedback. She creates a safe environment by dispelling a student’s fear of answering questions in front of their peers using a variety of inventive methods. In short, she runs a very nontraditional classroom – with wonderful results.
If you’re an educator, do yourself a favor and watch this interview. You might just learn some tips to help you spice things up in your classroom.