Behavior Management And Elementary Students With Adhd
Behavior Management 1
Running head: BEHAVIOR MANAGEMENT AND ELEMENTARY STUDENTS WITH ADHD
Behavior Management and Elementary Students with ADHD
Alice Allen, Emily Carter, Shari Hardy, Bobbi Murrell, and Amanda Pegues
University of Phoenix
March 21, 2009
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Table of Contents
Abstract ........................................................................................................................................... 4
Chapter I: Introduction................................................................................................................... 5
Problem Statement ..................................................................................................................... 5
Purpose ........................................................................................................................................ 5
Description of Community .......................................................................................................... 5
Description of Work Setting ....................................................................................................... 6
Writer’s Role ............................................................................................................................... 8
Chapter II: Study of the Problem ................................................................................................. 12
Problem Description .................................................................................................................. 12
Problem Documentation ............................................................................................................ 13
Literature Review ...................................................................................................................... 15
Causative Analysis .................................................................................................................... 24
Chapter III: Outcomes and Evaluation ........................................................................................ 27
Goals and Expectations ............................................................................................................. 27
Expected Outcomes ................................................................................................................... 27
Measurement of Outcomes........................................................................................................ 28
Analysis of Results .................................................................................................................... 29
Chapter IV: Solution Strategy...................................................................................................... 31
Statement of Problem ................................................................................................................ 31
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This action research proposal addresses a problem with behavior management of students with
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) at Matthews Elementary School. Two third
grade classrooms have a large number of students with ADHD and the teachers do not possess
the knowledge required to manage the excessive disruptions that are occurring. Examination of
the setting led to the research of ADHD symptoms and treatments, the collection and analysis of
data, and the development of a solution and calendar plan designed to train the teachers in
effective behavior management and modification strategies for children with ADHD.
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Chapter I: Introduction
The problem, as indicated in this study, is that due to the lack of time and training,
elementary school teachers are not using effective behavior management strategies for children
with ADHD who frequently disrupt classroom instruction.
The purpose of this study is to determine if behavior management and modification
strategies will result in greater learning and higher test scores for elementary students with
ADHD. Since the condition is characterized by impulsiveness and an interference with
concentration and attention, these students are often disruptive during class. The study will also
seek to determine if consistent boundaries, a highly predictable routine and external reinforcers
will reduce the amount of impulsivity and distraction in the classroom and lessen the impact of
the disruptive students on the other children. While the prevailing treatment for ADHD is
stimulant drug therapy, this research will explore the reinforcement of positive behavior in the
classroom to determine if behavior modification is an effective treatment for ADHD.
Description of Community
The Potomac Public Schools district has 197 schools with approximately 169,000
students. The district employs just over 22,000 people. One hundred thirty-seven elementary
schools are in the district.
Because the Potomac Public Schools district is so large, the schools are administered
through eight clusters. The cluster office provides leadership and supervision to the schools in
the cluster and acts as a liaison to schools and communities. The mission of cluster VIII, which is
the group to which Matthews Elementary School belongs, is to provide instructional and
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operational leadership support to schools, promoting open communication among educators,
parents, support staff and school board members. The cluster office ensures educational
excellence, equality and high expectations for student achievement in a safe learning
environment (Potomac Public Schools, n.d.).
The research project will take place in two of four third grade classrooms at Matthews
Elementary School. This school is part of the Potomac Public Schools district. The population in
this K-5 setting is approximately 600 students and 75 teachers.
Matthews Elementary School’s mission is to provide students a strong instructional
program that enables them to become independent learners and problem solvers (Potomac Public
The school is located in a country club community. The population is 15,728, of which
74.9% are white families and 14.7% are black families, both with a median annual income of
$110,993 (MuniNetGuide, 2009). Three elementary schools are in this cluster. The community is
family-oriented with a lake, country club, two swimming pools, numerous playgrounds, a golf
course, tennis courts, and a park. Frequent social functions bring the community together.
Description of Work Setting
In the Potomac Public School system, Matthews Elementary School is known for its
success with children with disabilities and behavior problems. The school has received the
School of Excellence Award for the past seven years. The special education staff includes: one
teacher for students with moderate cognitive impairment, three teachers of students with learning
disabilities (working in the inclusion model), one primary and two intermediate teachers for
students with autism spectrum disorder, three ESOL (English as a Second Language) teachers,
and three part-time speech and language specialists. The school offers special needs classes for
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autism and moderately cognitive impaired students, a start gifted program for kindergarten
through third grade students and a signet gifted program for fourth and fifth grade students. A
reading recovery learning training site and a speech and language center are also available at the
Matthews Elementary School offers a significant number of academic contests and
curriculum-related activities to promote student educational growth. All students have the
opportunity to participate in the Chess Club, Student Advisory Council, Quill and Scroll Club
(monthly literary sharing), strings, chorus and the Math 24 Club. Students diagnosed with
ADHD and autism are encouraged to participate in school activities. The in-school mail is
delivered by autistic students. Student Buddies and Classroom Buddies are programs offered to
students having difficulty in school with behavior or social skills.
The majority of the students diagnosed with ADHD are assigned to two of the four third
grade classes to ensure consistency with the educational process of these students. The two third
grade classes in this study consist of the following criteria: Twenty-one students are in
Classroom A, seven of which have ADHD. In Classroom B, 11 students out of 20 have ADHD.
Of these 18 students who are diagnosed with ADHD, 12 are currently taking medication for the
condition. Furthermore, 14 of the students diagnosed with ADHD are male and four are female.
Although Classroom B has the most students with ADHD, it has the least disciplinary problems.
Classrooms A and B both have mission statements posted on their walls that each student
signed at the beginning of school to show his or her agreement. Classroom A used the acronym
BEST for Believe in themselves and their ability to achieve; Embrace diversity and learn from it;
Strive to make ourselves, our school, and our community a better place; and Treat others the way
we wish to be treated for their mission statement. We will strive to do our personal best by
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practicing active listening, respect, caring, cooperation, effort, honesty and patience is the
mission statement for Classroom B.
At the present time both teachers are studying for their master’s degree in elementary
education. The teacher in Classroom A has 15 years of teaching experience while the teacher in
Classroom B is in her second year of teaching. In this study a total of 41 students, 18 of whom
are diagnosed with ADHD, the two third grade teachers and one teacher’s aide will be observed
to determine effective behavior management strategies for children with ADHD.
Rudimentary behavior management techniques are presently being utilized in the two
third grade classrooms in question. A time-out system and a color-coded behavior chart are being
used to address inappropriate behavior. No incentives are in place to reward positive conduct.
The writers’ role is that of the five members of the School Improvement Team at
Matthews Elementary School.
Currently a fourth grade teacher at Matthews Elementary School, Dr. Amore Bambinos,
is a native Italian who was educated at Princeton, Harvard, and Yale in the United States. Her
bachelor’s degree in behavioral science, master’s degree in speech pathology, and doctorate in
education at Harvard Graduate School of Education provide her with essential qualities needed
to investigate the effects of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in students. Dr. Bambinos
wrote her doctoral thesis on neuropathy and ADHD which uses brainwave patterns to reduce
stress in the ADHD patient. Outside of school, Dr. Bambinos works in the Traumatic Brain
Injury Unit of her local hospital assisting patients who have experienced loss of speech and
memory due to brain injury. Her other hobbies include quilting, snowboarding, and rock
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Dr. Addison Davies, a native Texan, received her bachelor’s degree in business
management, master’s degree in elementary education, and doctorate in educational psychology
at the University of Texas at Austin. She worked in banking for twelve years but her love for
children led her to pursue elementary education and later educational psychology. Dr. Davies’
doctoral thesis on achievement in school through effective classroom management was done in
hopes of determining what drives different students to succeed in their educational journey. Dr.
Davies has published numerous articles in both educational and psychology journals. She is a
parent and avid philanthropist in her spare time.
Dr. Anna Bassin received her bachelor’s degree in psychology, her master’s degree in
developmental psychology and her doctorate in education from the University of Michigan. Her
doctoral thesis was written on metamemory development in elementary school children with
ADHD. She is currently employed as a fifth grade teacher at Matthews Elementary School. Dr.
Bassin worked as a counselor for children for several years. When she returned to school for her
doctorate, she decided to indulge her passion of teaching children and become an elementary
school teacher. Dr. Basin’s work and school history make her qualified to investigate ADHD in
students. Dr. Bassin is a parent and enjoys spending her summers at a cabin on the lake and her
winters skiing with her family.
Dr. Norgina Wright, a native Virginian, received her bachelor’s degree in secondary
education and her master’s degrees in behavioral science from George Mason University in
Fairfax, VA. Dr. Wright received her doctorate degree in special education from John Hopkins
University in Baltimore, MD. Her doctorate thesis on improving the social interactions of ADHD
students through behavioral modification procured her the chairperson position on the
Committee for Improving Social Interactions for ADHD Students at John Hopkins. Dr. Wright is
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professor and director of special education programs at the University of Louisville, KY. She
enjoys traveling, operas, hang gliding, swimming, and horseback riding.
A doctor of pediatric and adolescent medicine, Elizabeth Cromwell received
undergraduate degrees in biology and child psychology from the University of Oxford before
attending the University of Virginia School of Medicine. After completing her residency, Dr.
Cromwell joined the pediatric staff at Georgetown University Medical Center. She is currently
involved in an extensive research study of drugs and alternative therapies for children with
ADHD. Co-founder of the Friends of Barnabas, a non-profit mission organization, Dr. Cromwell
travels with other doctors and nurses to Central America several times each year to provide
medical care for the young residents of Honduras. She lives in Washington, D.C. with her
husband and two teenage sons.
A particular area of concern to the writers of this research and the staff at Matthews
Elementary School has been the increase in the number of students diagnosed with Attention
Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and the problems that can accompany this diagnosis.
―Students with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD; American Psychiatric
Association, 2000) exhibit problems with impulsivity, sustained attention, and overactivity‖
(Stahr, Cushing, Lane, & Fox, 2006, p.201). Currently, 43.9% of the third grade students in the
control group have been put on some type of medication or behavior modification for ADHD.
Teachers confronted with this problem appear to be losing control of their classrooms and claim
not to understand how to handle children with this disorder. The students afflicted with ADHD
have problems with impulse control and often disrupt the classroom with behaviors which
impede an effective learning process.
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The writers will be responsible for educating and training the teachers in the school
regarding effective behavior modification strategies. A controlled group of students in two third
grade classrooms will be pre- and post-tested in order to determine if the behavior modification
strategies have any effect on academic improvement. The writers will be discussing and working
with teachers of the control group to make sure that the training of effective behavior
management skills for teachers working with children with ADHD is applied and observed.
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Chapter Two: Study of the Problem
The problem is that due to the lack of time and training, elementary school teachers are
not using effective behavior management strategies for children with ADHD who frequently
disrupt classroom instruction. Consequently, third grade students at Matthews Elementary
School are performing below acceptable levels in all academic areas. Students who have not
been diagnosed with ADHD are performing below average because of constant classroom
disruptions by students with ADHD.
Students with ADHD act impulsively and have trouble concentrating, which prevents
them from staying focused and attentive (Reid, Trout, & Schartz, 2005). Because of difficulties
with controlling impulsivity, children are interrupting the teacher, calling out, leaving their seats,
talking incessantly, playing in their desks, and disturbing other students. Staying on task is
difficult for students with ADHD so class work, homework assignments, activities, and projects
are often incomplete. Organization can be problematic for students who have an attention deficit,
so study guides, worksheets, library books, agendas, and school supplies are regularly misplaced
or unaccounted for. Test scores, assignment grades, and conduct marks have plummeted as a
result of the behavior issues that are plaguing the students with ADHD.
Another population being affected by the problem is the group of students in the class
who do not have ADHD. These children are, in a sense, victims of their circumstances. They are
members of a third grade classroom that is not running smoothly or efficiently. The disturbances
that are caused by students who lack self-control and social skills are interfering with the
opportunities to learn and engage in classroom discussions and activities. Some students are
following the negative example being set by the students with ADHD and are acting out in ways
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that are inappropriate and counterproductive. Test and quiz scores have dropped among the
regular student populace because the children are unfocused and missing out on important
instructional details due to the negative classroom dynamics.
Lastly, the constant disruptions are interfering with the teacher’s ability to teach the
materials in accordance with the lesson plans. Much of the teachers’ time is spent redirecting
students, reprimanding inappropriate behavior, and providing remediation. Teachers are not
trained in behavior management and modification strategies; therefore, the rudimentary behavior
management and modification strategies presently being used in the classrooms are ineffective.
Morale and self-confidence have plunged as the teachers become increasingly discouraged by the
lack of discipline and productivity in their classrooms.
Structured observation of the classroom environment has been used for two
documentation purposes. First, the setting has been observed to assess the behavioral tendencies
of the children in question. Findings have confirmed that students with ADHD are disorganized,
behaving impulsively, distracting classmates, and exhibiting little self-control or academic
diligence. Second, the teachers have been observed to determine their effectiveness in instructing
and interacting with students who have ADHD. Repeat observations have confirmed that
teachers are ineffectively using the time-out concept, which reinforces negative behavior.
Students are instructed to move their name clip down a color-coded classroom behavior stick
after breaking class rules or behaving inappropriately. The requests for clip moves occur
inconsistently and after repeated warnings and reprimands; attached consequences for clip moves
are not strictly enforced. A log is kept by the teacher to document the amount of times per day
that the students with ADHD are disrupting the class and moving their clips. See Appendix A1
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for a graph which illustrates the number of disruptions occurring in Class A compared to the
amount found on the log in the control class.
Examination of the situation has also revealed that, in addition to being inconsistent with
consequences for inappropriate actions, the teachers do not offer up praise or reward for students
who are on task and having a good day. Angry tones of voice, unpleasant facial expressions, and
aversive conditioning were observed as well. The classroom setting is cluttered and unorganized,
perhaps contributing to the organizational problems that some students appear to be
Questionnaires given to the teachers to measure their understanding of behavior
management strategies for children with ADHD have shown that teachers are lacking knowledge
and training in this area. They recognize the impact that children with ADHD have on their
classrooms but are unfamiliar with the criteria for diagnosis and the complexities that accompany
the disorder. Most teachers do not understand the triggers which lead to disruptions or how to
intervene in order to stop, or even avoid, the disturbances. Teachers appear to lack the classroom
and anger management skills required to deal appropriately with troublesome behavior and
inattentive students. A limited understanding of the importance of classroom accommodations,
behavior modification, external reinforcers, and the establishment of a predictable routine
appears to be a detriment, particularly among inexperienced teachers.
An additional form of documentation used to measure this problem is the periodic review
of the teacher’s lesson plans. State educational standards and school district pacing guides dictate
the curriculum and the pace of instruction. Investigation has confirmed that the teachers have
fallen behind in presenting the material that must be covered and tested during the course of the
school year. The class is not able to cover material and perform tasks within an efficient time
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frame because the students and teacher are distracted. A large amount of time is wasted on
addressing inappropriate behavior, searching for lost books and supplies, and repeating
An important form of documentation used to measure this problem is the review of the
students’ academic performance. Most of the third graders in the class in question, regardless of
whether or not they are diagnosed with ADHD, are receiving lower grades than the students in
the control class in the core academic subjects of language arts, math, science, and social studies
(see Appendix A2). When comparing the students’ grades with their grades from the previous
school year, a marked decrease in academic performance is evident (see Appendix A3).
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a growing disorder which affects 3-5 percent
of school-aged children presenting with symptoms such as inattention, hyperactivity, and
disorganization in the classroom (Cook, 2005). Frequently, children with ADHD have
accompanying disorders including learning disabilities, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, and
depression which may cause additional problems at school (Cook, 2005). When examining
available literature about ADHD, the topic of the most effective treatment method is the focus of
many published articles. Treatment methods suggested for ADHD include ―medical treatment,
behavioral treatment, psychological treatment, social skill training, sensory integration treatment,
and parenting training (Hong, 1998)‖ (Chang, Chang, & Shih, 2007, p. 148). Currently, literature
leans to the prescribing of stimulants, behavior modification, or a combination of the two
treatments as being the most effective methods of treatment (Coles, Pelham, Gnagy, Burrows-
MacLean, Fabiano, Chacko, et al., 2005). According to Stahr, Cushing, Lane, and Fox (2006),
―Two common, effective intervention approaches for managing ADHD are pharmacological
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(e.g., stimulants) and behavioral strategies (e.g., token economies, response costs; DuPaul &
Eckert, 1997; Ervin et al., 2000)‖ (p. 201). This is substantiated by other published research,
―although stimulant medication is frequently used as the sole form of treatment for children with
ADHD, there are numerous advantages for administering behavior therapy (BT) and stimulant
medication in combination (Pelham & Waschbusch, 1999)‖ (Waschbush, Carrey, Willoughby,
King, & Andrade, 2007, p.630). Chang, Chang and Shih (2007) find that ―Medical treatment can
reduce a hyperactive child’s symptoms. But cultivation of internal control and good behavior
requires behavioral treatment, and, especially, a relationship between pre-behavioral stimulation
and response‖ (p. 153).
Given that stimulant drug therapy, behavior modification, and the combination of
stimulant drug therapy and behavior modification are beneficial in counteracting the effects of
the disorder, educators must scrutinize the treatment method on which they can have the biggest
impact. Looking first at a teacher’s impact on stimulant drug therapy, the level of involvement
that a teacher has in the decision to prescribe medication can be significant. According to Vereb
and DiPerna (2004):
When children exhibit behavior problems in school, teachers often are the first to
recognize and recommend that they receive comprehensive assessment. Beyond this
initial recommendation, teachers play a key role in classification decisions in that their
observations and reports typically are used in diagnosis and treatment determination. (p.
While a teacher’s records and observations are an important piece of assisting the ADHD child
in obtaining medication, a teacher’s role in the prescribing of medication for students with
ADHD is somewhat limited to anecdotal notes about the student concerned. The question is then
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asked: Is this the area where a teacher will be able to have the most positive effect on students
with ADHD? According to Evans, Schulz, and Sadler (2008):
The most frequently used treatment for ADHD is stimulant therapy; however, this
treatment does not relieve some ADHD related impairments (Hoza et al., 2005), appears
ineffective in reducing behavioral symptoms in up to 30% of cases (Spencer et al., 1996),
and is rejected or abandoned by a significant proportion of youth and caregivers. (p. 50)
Obviously, stimulants alone do not offer a complete answer. Reid, Trout, and Schartz (2005)
argue, ―although the use of medication for the treatment of symptoms for ADHD has a
documented record of effectiveness (MTA Cooperative Group, 1999), it is not recommended in
isolation‖ (p. 362). Kirkpatrick (2005) suggests ―Medication often can help a multimodal
(combination) treatment program be more effective‖ (p. 21). As medication alone does not
appear to be the solution to controlling behavior problems, educators must next examine the
effects they can have on behavior modification.
When isolating behavior modification as a study for treatment of ADHD, numerous
behavior strategies are presented in the literature. The questions educators must ask themselves
are: Which behavior modification strategy will be most beneficial for this particular student in
this particular classroom? Do I have the proper training and resources to implement this strategy?
Nowacek and Mamlin (2007) assert, ―Although children with ADHD experience significant
academic and behavioral difficulties, research suggests that the majority of classroom teachers
lack knowledge of what constitutes appropriate interventions and modifications (Parker, 1992)‖
(p. 28). Further, pediatricians describe the lack of collaboration with the educational system to
be a barrier to effective management of children with ADHD (Foy & Earls, 2005). ―The process
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depends, at its core, on the mutual interest of school personnel and community health care
providers in improving the care of children with ADHD‖ (Foy & Earls, 2005, p. 98).
―Self-regulation describes a number of methods used by students to manage, monitor,
record, and/or assess their behavior or academic achievement‖ (Reid, Trout, & Schartz, 2005, p.
362). Self-monitoring, or Cognitive-behavior management, is a behavioral modification strategy
which gives children with ADHD the tools they need to monitor their own behavior, relieving
teachers of some of the responsibility of constant monitoring of the ADHD child. Self-
monitoring is a skill that is lacking in ADHD children. Reid, Trout, and Schartz (2005) state:
Recently, Strayhorn (2002) argued that there is a need to develop systematic programs to
enable self-regulated behavior among children with ADHD. This is consistent with recent
theoretical work in ADHD that has begun to conceptualize ADHD as a deficit in self-
regulated behavior (Barkley, 1997). (p.362)
As children need to be conscious of their own poor choices in order to increase instances of
appropriate behavior, the teacher can serve as an important tool in providing the ADHD child
with strategies for self-management. Keeping a log and having the child record the number of
times spent off-task can help a child realize how often he is veering from established instruction
(Crum, 2004). Recently, KidTools, a software system, was designed and developed with
assistance from the U.S. Department of Education to provide another strategy for meeting the
needs of children with behavior problems (Miller, Fitzgerald, Koury, Mitchem, & Hollingsead,
2007). KidsTools provides behavioral, academic, and social benefits for the students who work
with it. According to Miller et al. (2007), ―through the research-based intervention strategies and
corresponding templates, children were empowered to gain control over problem behaviors‖ (p.
18). Teaching the ADHD child to recognize his own poor behavior and take control of managing
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it will equip him with a valuable life skill. ―Cognitive behavior management provides students
with strategies to manage their own behavior, thereby giving them more independence‖ (Crum,
2004, p. 308).
―Results of studies have indicated that positive reinforcement is an effective behavioral
intervention (DuPaul & Eckert, 1998; Fiore, Becker, & Nero, 1993; Fabiano & Pelham, 2003)‖
(Nowacek & Mamlin, 2007. P. 29). Students who consistently have behavior problems are often
experiencing feelings of negativity and negative reinforcement from their teachers. While this
may be a natural reaction from teachers to ADHD students and their frequent bouts of inattention
and impulsivity, these students respond more effectively to teachers who use positive
reinforcement and kindness, letting the students know that they are important people in their
classroom. According to Farmer, Goforth, Hives, Aaron, Jackson, and Sgammato (2006):
This does not mean that teachers should ignore the challenging behavior of their students.
On the contrary, teachers should provide appropriate, consistent, and meaningful
consequences in a positive manner that say ―adults aren’t going to let you engage in this
behavior because we care and because you are worth the time that it takes to teach you
how to do it right.‖
Teachers should be sure to communicate clearly and respectfully to all students in her classroom,
providing positive guidance and support. This is especially important for the ADHD child, as
―students with challenging behavior tend to view behavior intervention in a negative manner‖
(Farmer et al., 2006, p. 42). Using positive reinforcement and praising the behaviors that are
being done well can go a long way in building the self-esteem of students with ADHD and all
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Behavioral contracts are another behavior modification method that has had some success
with ADHD students. These contracts can list desired behaviors that the student is expected to
have in the classroom. Examples to list on the behavior contract may include such things as
finishing schoolwork on time, asking permission to get out of the seat, not calling out during
class, working without disturbing others, and bringing homework in as scheduled. According to
Behavioral contracts are extremely helpful in disrupting a vicious cycle of negative
behavior that begets negative attention that begets negative behavior. The idea is to create
a way to turn the situation around and make it more positive, build up the self-esteem of
an acting-out child, and teach that child how to get positive attention. (p. 6)
Not only can behavior contracts work at school and be reinforced by teachers, the contracts are
also a tool which can be used at home to assist the parents with behavior modification.
Time-outs can be an effective behavior modification strategy when the teacher
understands the behavioral principles behind the concept of time-out (Ryan, Sanders,
Katsiyannis, & Yell, 2007). Many teachers do not understand how to use time-outs effectively
and end up making a bad situation worse. Time-outs can be abused and over-used by teachers
when attempting to rectify classroom behavior.
Time-out (TO) is a behavior management technique used by over 70% of teachers of
students with emotional and behavioral disorders (Zabel, 1986). Costenbader and
Reading-Brown (1995) reported that students with emotional/behavioral disorders in a
separate special education facility spent, on average, 23 hours in exclusionary TO (i.e.,
isolation room) over a single school year. (Grskovic, Hall, Montgomery, Vargas, Zentall,
& Belfiore, 2004, p. 25)
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Many types of time-outs can be used by teachers in classroom management. These
include in-seat time-out, or planned ignoring, withdrawal of materials that are causing distraction
in a child, moving a child to another location in the classroom away from other children, and
removing the child from the classroom (Ryan et al., 2007). For time-out to work, instruction
must be interesting enough to hold the attention of the ADHD child, so that time-out is less
appealing than classroom lessons. According to Ryan et al., ―Typical pitfalls include classroom
environments that are insufficiently reinforcing to the students and time-out procedures that lose
their punishing qualities and take on reinforcing qualities for both the student and teacher‖ (p.
Structure is suggested as a beneficial form of behavior modification for the child with
ADHD. Establishing routines and set places for the child to lay his backpack and supplies can be
crucial to the stability of the child. ―These children, in particular, need a stable, daily routine and
clear organization in the home as well as at school‖ (Kirkpatrick, 2005, p.23). Cook (2005)
states, ―the ADHD or disruptive child responds best to a very structured classroom setting in
which rules and expectations are clear, predictable, and known in advance‖ (p. 5). Additional
suggestions for helping the ADHD child to succeed in the classroom are seating him or her close
to the teacher, providing one-on-one instruction, and giving short directions for assignments that
the child is required to repeat.
The classroom environment has also been noted to have an effect on the behavior of
students with ADHD. Killu, Weber, Derby, and Barretto, (2006) declare, ―Along similar lines,
the literature has shown that the identification of environmental correlates of problem behavior
leads to the development of more successful behavioral interventions (e.g., Dunlap et al., 1993)‖
(p. 199). The importance of an organized classroom environment cannot be underestimated. ―By
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analyzing the classroom, teachers can make themselves more organized and more responsible so
that they can encounter fewer disappointments (Heward & Wood, 2003)‖ (Bloh & Axelrod,
2008, p. 52). Teachers employing effective classroom management strategies and creating a
stimulating learning environment assist in the behavior management process of the child with
Cook (2005) proposes that teachers become familiar with the triggers that lead to
disruptions and anger in the child with ADHD. ―Problem behaviors are likely to increase when
educators lack training in effective strategies and technology used to deal with problem
behavior‖ (Killu, Weber, Derby, Barretto, 2006, p. 200). ―Kids who are at risk for having
problems with inappropriate and explosive expression of anger include those with ADHD
because they are impulsive and often don't think before they react‖ (Cook, 2005, p.3). Anger
management training and how children can recognize their symptoms of anger is suggested as an
effective behavior modification approach. The impulsiveness of ADHD children can lead to
outbursts of anger. Training from the teacher and other school staff on how to control their anger
will be helpful to the students. Encouraging a child to use his or her words instead of lashing out
in anger is a way that teachers can assist the ADHD child. Another way is to have anger
management classes held during the time of a preferable activity forcing the angry child to miss
out on something he enjoys (Farmer et al., 2006). During the anger management classes, the
children will practice how to behave and how to control their anger. ―The application of
consequences for problem behavior should be viewed as an opportunity to teach and reinforce
new competencies‖ (Farmer et al., 2006, p. 43).
Kirkpatrick (2005) suggests that the best behavior modification strategies are the ones
that work through a group of people and draw the parents in as part of the team. ―Generally, best
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results occur when a team approach is used with parents/family, school personnel and therapists
or physicians working together‖ (Kirkpatrick, 2005, p.23). Making parents active participants in
the classroom success of their child will help to ensure that everyone involved with the ADHD
child is on the same page and willing to work together to do what’s best for the child. The
concept of parent involvement is reinforced by Chang, Chang, and Shih (2007) who state,
―During the therapeutic process, the degree of cooperation between teachers and parents
determines the degree of improvement to the children’s problematic behaviors (Connor, 2002)‖
(p. 148). Evans et al. (2008) advocate parent training to improve behaviors occurring at home.
Regular parent attendance for the training sessions is vital. ―Attendance and engagement are
critical variables in the success of parent training, as studies have shown that the degree with
which parents implement the procedures as instructed affects the benefits to the child (Hinshaw
et al., 2000)‖ (Evans et al., 2008, p. 52).
Finally, literature suggests that a teacher’s willingness to implement behavior strategies is
what will make the strategies effective. ―Effectively teaching students with ADHD often requires
the use of a variety of interventions in the classroom. Researchers (e.g., Eckert & Hintze, 2000)
have suggested that teachers' acceptability of various treatments may influence their willingness
to utilize them‖ (Vereb & DiPerna, 2004, p. 427). If the teacher is opposed to a certain strategy,
she will be resistant to its introduction in her classroom. Allowing the ADHD child special
privileges when he behaves appropriately may be something a teacher is opposed to based on the
fact that the other children in her classroom behave appropriately most of the time and do not
receive rewards for their behavior. If a reward system is suggested by other school personnel, the
teacher may not be willing to provide the rewards the system requires, and the ADHD child will
have nonexistent means of regulating his behavior. The teacher is the expert when it comes to
Behavior Management 24
knowing what is best for her classroom and a variety of behavioral interventions should be
presented to her in order for her to choose the most effective strategy.
A number of factors contribute to the teachers’ inability to effectively implement
behavior management strategies for children with ADHD who are disrupting classroom
instruction at Matthews Elementary School. First, many teachers lack a basic understanding of
ADHD and what the disorder entails. Experienced educators, by virtue of necessity, must learn
to successfully accommodate students with ADHD. Accommodating, and even appreciating, the
ADHD learner requires knowledge of the symptoms, tendencies, likely causes, potential pitfalls,
and recommended methods of working with the diagnosed students. With increased knowledge
comes understanding, respect, patience, compassion, and higher levels of success in the
Second, students may be treated with stimulants for their ADHD, yet they are not self-
monitoring or practicing cognitive behavior management skills that would enable them to
succeed in class. Students can be more successful in school if they understand what appropriate
behaviors are. Teachers can help contribute to the student’s self-regulation by requiring the
student to keep a behavior log. This encourages the promotion of positive behavior and the
recognition and management of negative behavior. The student can learn to determine what
causes him to lose control, giving him the confidence and tools to practice self-regulation and
seek help where necessary.
Third, teachers may lack the knowledge of appropriate interventions and modifications
for children suffering with ADHD. More effectual classroom management strategies will enable
teachers to create an environment that is more conducive to learning and student enrichment.
Behavior Management 25
Students with ADHD can act out in frustration or anger. As a result the teacher may experience
increased stress, irritation, and discouragement which affect her ability to properly manage the
classroom. While experiencing high levels of frustration, the teacher may miss out on
opportunities to use positive reinforcement, possibly contributing to the escalation of the
students’ poor behavior. Organization, well-established routines, and consistency in the
classroom can help to soothe the children with ADHD, which will contribute to an overall
positive environment for all students. Teachers may incorrectly utilize time-outs, thus making
them ineffective or counter-productive. An investment of time and resources would better serve
the teacher working with children with ADHD, as there may be a number of behavioral and
environmental modifications that would better serve the integrated classroom and produce more
Next, the amount of teaching experience that a teacher possesses may be a determining
factor in how successfully she balances the management of student behavior with instruction. A
new teacher who is inexperienced with general classroom management may feel overwhelmed
by the presence of ADHD learners. Typical strategies for maintaining order and encouraging
hard work and cooperation may not work with students who have ADHD, leaving the teacher
with feelings of frustration and failure.
A lack of special education courses and training may hinder the progress that a teacher
can make while interacting with and accommodating ADHD learners. Support from the school’s
special education team may be required for the teacher to develop successful behavior
management and modification strategies for her classroom. The teacher’s relationship with the
special education staff may present problems as well if power struggles or conflicting opinions
on best practices exist.
Behavior Management 26
Because ADHD frequently coexists with other problems such as learning disabilities,
Oppositional Disorder, and depression, teachers should be familiar with conditions that can
impede a student’s success at school (Cook, 2005). A child’s difficulties with academic skills,
anger management, social skills, and regulation of emotions will be compounded by ADHD. If
a teacher is lacking basic knowledge of learning disabilities and other childhood and adolescent
psychological issues, effectively managing the resulting behavior may be even more
Finally, there may not be sufficient collaboration on part of the parents, family, school
personnel and physicians or psychiatrists. Consistency at home and school can help to reinforce
the positive behaviors of students with ADHD. If the teacher and the family can be on the same
page, they can better isolate problems and work together towards creating a haven for the
students with ADHD. Having a child or student with this disorder can clearly be a frustrating and
trying experience for parents and teachers. Communication on the part of doctors, caregivers and
teachers will better serve all parties involved and will lessen the stress that a student with ADHD
experiences. This in turn will correlate positively with a decreased amount of tension and
suffering for all the classroom participants.
Behavior Management 27
Chapter Three: Outcomes and Evaluation
Goals and Expectations
The goal of this study is that teachers will receive training on staff development days and in their
classrooms that will allow them to implement effective behavior management strategies with their
students. A teacher who is well-informed about ADHD and the challenges present with children
diagnosed with ADHD will be more successful at executing systems designed to create a calm and
productive learning environment. ADHD learners will flourish under the guidance and instruction of a
teacher who has learned to accommodate their needs as well as those of the other students.
The importance of the teacher cannot be underestimated in the life of the ADHD child. According
to Corkum, McKinnon, and Mullane (2005):
While parents are the primary managers of their children’s environments and behavior, teachers
also play a very significant role in the lives of school-aged children. The quality of a teacher-
student relationship can have far-reaching consequences for a child with ADHD, either positively
or negatively (Barkley, 1998; Pffifner & Barkley, 1998; Power, Hess, & Bennett, 1995). (p.33)
As the teacher attends classes and participates in training exercises she will become familiar with new
classroom management strategies. Her level of confidence will increase as ADHD learners respond to the
behavior modification techniques that are implemented and conditions begin to improve. The classroom
will become a calm and productive work environment as students grow accustomed to the new routine
Teachers will be trained to work collaboratively with the parents of the ADHD child. In a study
done by Corkum, McKinnon and Mullane (2005), the results ―provide compelling preliminary evidence
that involving the classroom teachers of children whose parents participate in an ADHD parent training
group provides additional benefits to these children in terms of a greater reduction in ADHD behaviors
across settings‖ (p.45).
Behavior Management 28
After the new systems for managing the behavior of the students with ADHD and working
collaboratively with the parents have been put into action, the areas of improvement will be considered.
The teacher will achieve four specific outcomes by becoming a more effective classroom
(1) Disruptions to classroom instruction will decrease by 75%. Students with ADHD will better
manage impulsivity, work without disturbing classmates, and improve methods of organization and time
(2) Seventy-one percent, or five out of seven students with ADHD will receive passing grades on daily
quizzes, worksheets, homework, and tests. The students with ADHD will become more productive by
working with increased accuracy and completing assignments on time.
(3) Benchmark test scores for all students will increase in Class A and become more in line with the
control group. The scores will have improved for the ADHD learners as well as the other students in the
class due to the alteration of the classroom environment and policies.
(4) Seventy-one percent, or five out of seven students with ADHD will receive passing grades in the
subjects of language arts, social studies, math, and science. Overall, ADHD student grades will improve
as a result of better classroom management and behavior modification systems.
Measurement of Outcomes
Each predicted outcome of the action research study is observable and measurable. As ADHD
students learn to better manage impulsivity and distractions in the classroom decrease, several methods of
measurement will be utilized to evaluate the results.
First, by keeping a detailed daily log of behavior clip moves, the teacher will be able to
track the number of disruptions in the classroom (see Appendix B). Dedication to this process
will yield an accurate measurement of how many times instruction is interrupted each day by
students with ADHD who are impulsive and off-task. Color-coding the log will give additional
Behavior Management 29
insight into what types of disruption interfered with the learning process. The teacher will be able
to use this information to improve behavior modification strategies. For example, if a student
routinely calls out or interrupts the teacher, then that behavior will warrant further regulation.
By comparing this daily log with records kept previously, the researcher will be able measure the
difference in the number of daily interruptions due to behavior.
Second, teachers will keep track of individual grades in a grade book and will compare
homework, class work, and test and quiz averages with like grades from the previous marking
period. By comparing apples to apples, the teacher will be able to determine whether or not the
improvement in conduct and work habits had a positive effect on completion of work and scores.
A spreadsheet that displays the ADHD students’ scores will provide a simple, easy to read
format for the comparison (see Appendix C).
Next, student performances on benchmark tests that are given at the end of each nine
weeks marking period will be compared to check for improvement among children with and
without ADHD. For instance, students will be given a school system issued math benchmark test
that covers the material taught in class during the first nine weeks of school. After a new
behavior management system has been implemented in the classroom, the students will take the
math benchmark test for the second nine weeks. The spreadsheet shown in Appendix C can be
used to compare the scores.
Lastly, report card grades in language arts, math, science, and social studies will be
compared. ADHD students’ grades from the first nine weeks will be put side by side with grades
from the second nine weeks in order to determine if an improvement has been made as a result of
the implementation of new behavior management and modification techniques. Again, the
spreadsheet in Appendix C will be helpful with making grade comparisons.
Behavior Management 30
Analysis of Results
The results of this study will be evaluated using quantitative methods. In order to gain
comparative data, the projected outcomes from Class A will be measured against the control
group by comparing grades on assignments, homework, tests and quizzes, benchmark tests, and
report cards. By doing this, the researcher will determine whether or not Class A, whose teacher
received additional training in classroom management and behavior modification strategies, will
outperform the control class. Additionally, Z-scores will be calculated in order to analyze the
results of the benchmark tests for Class A and the control group. Further comparisons of the two
groups will be made through the use of these scores. A correlation coefficient will be calculated
to determine whether or not the teacher’s training is having an impact on the behavior of the
The behavior logs in Class A and in the control class will be consulted to find out the
number of disruptions that occur during instruction each day. Comparisons will be made in order
to determine if Class A is experiencing less frequent student outbursts as a result of the teacher’s
training classes and determination to establish order and create a productive learning
Behavior Management 31
Chapter Four: Solution Strategy
Statement of Problem
The problem, as indicated in this study, is that due to the lack of time and training,
elementary school teachers are not using effective behavior management strategies for children
with ADHD who frequently disrupt classroom instruction.
―Although children with ADHD experience significant academic and behavioral
difficulties, research suggests that the majority of classroom teachers lack knowledge of what
constitutes appropriate interventions and modifications (Parker, 1992)‖ (Nowacek & Mamlin,
2007, p. 28). The aims of this study were to uncover any correlation between teacher training of
behavior modification methods and improved classroom management, and to assess which
behavior modification methods provided successful means of reducing problem behavior in the
Research has shown that teachers who have had past experience teaching children with
ADHD are more likely to be knowledgeable in regard to this condition. Kos, Richdale, and
Jackson (2004) state ―exposure to children with ADHD in the classroom is an important factor in
teachers’ knowledge about ADHD, but that general teaching experience alone does not aid in
increasing teachers’ actual knowledge of the disorder‖(p. 524). Further, training for teachers
regarding ADHD is most beneficial when teachers get experience working with an ADHD
student. Kos et al. (2004) agree that ―additional training (e.g., workshops or seminars)
specifically aimed at increasing the ADHD knowledge of primary-school teachers is useful, but
also should include exposure to students with ADHD‖ (p. 525). Administration should be aware
Behavior Management 32
that teachers who have successfully worked with ADHD students may have the experience
necessary to handle the ADHD student in future classrooms. Kos, Richdale, and Hay (2006) state
―professional development of teachers is fundamental to increasing knowledge‖ (p. 152).
Exposing inexperienced teachers to children with ADHD should only be attempted after training,
preparations, and observations of classrooms with solid behavior modifications in place have
occurred. Not only do teachers need to be trained in the symptoms and handling of Attention
Deficit Hyperactivity disorder, but training also needs to be directed towards the fact that ADHD
may very well be accompanied by other disorders.
Increasing teachers’ insights into the current debates over best practice in the
management of ADHD includes developing their awareness of the pervasiveness of
comorbid conditions. They certainly will be aware of the reading problems common in
young people with ADHD, but may be less aware of the high rate of anxiety disorders
among these children (Kos, Richdale & Hay, 2006, p. 157).
Providing training on staff development days or even in the classroom will help teachers take
control of their classrooms and get a better handle on disruptive behavior.
A method which provides promise for improving the behavior of the student with ADHD
is through external reinforcement. This can come in the way of a token economy which provides
rewards for appropriate behavior. In a token economy, the ADHD student might receive chips or
points at different intervals throughout the school day that he can redeem for rewards or prizes
when he has earned a certain number. According to Cook (2005), ―Behavioral psychology
research shows that the most effective type of reward is intermittent positive reinforcement.
This means that a target behavior is most likely to increase when rewards are given periodically,
on an intermittent basis‖ (p. 7). Studies have debated whether or not the rewards for ADHD
Behavior Management 33
children must be immediate or will have the same impact if delayed. According to Michel,
Kerns, and Mateer (2005), the timing of the reward may not be the critical factor, ―however,
there was an intriguing suggestion that the potential for reinforcement changed the underlying
mechanisms of task performance in children with and without ADHD‖ (p. 301). As the child’s
behavior progresses, he will move from receiving material rewards to earning special privileges
or activities, and finally to a behavior contract where his behavior will continue to be monitored
through an occasional revisiting of the contract (Evans, Schultz, and Sadler, 2008).
Positive reinforcement can occur through teacher praise of the student. Ryan, Sanders,
Katsiyannis, and Yell (2007) state:
Research indicates that classes in which the teacher has a strongly positive reinforcement
ratio often have fewer behavior problems (Sugai & Horner, 2002). When teachers use a
5-to-l ratio of positive to negative comments, the classroom will have a more reinforcing
atmosphere—an atmosphere from which students will not want to be removed. (p. 63)
The use of a Daily Behavior Report Card (DBRC) is an effective behavior modification
strategy, of particular value with the collaboration of parents and teachers. A home system can
be developed that will complement the DBRC, reinforcing the behavior that was seen in school.
If the child behaves poorly during the school day, the result will be lost privileges at home. If the
child behaves well during the school day, extra privileges can be granted, supporting the good
behavior the child displayed at school that day.
Research on the effectiveness of DBRCs appears promising, especially when DBRCs are
used in conjunction with an existing home token economy with response cost procedures
(Davies & McLaughlin, 1989; Kelley & Mc-Cain, 1995). Indeed, DBRCs are widely
used in schools, are adaptable to many situations, and are an acceptable strategy for most
Behavior Management 34
teachers (Chafouleas, Riley-Tillman, & Sassu, 2006). (Evans, Schultz, & Sadler, 2008, p.
Self-regulation, also known as cognitive-behavior management, is a behavior
modification strategy which leads to the child taking control of his own behavior. Feedback is
critical to the success of the self-regulation strategy so that the child understands immediately
what acceptable and unacceptable behaviors entail. ―Self-regulation theory has long recognized
the importance of a feedback cycle in which individuals systematically self-assess and self-
evaluate their behavior (Pintrich, 2000; Zimmerman, 2000)‖ (Reid, Trout, & Schartz, 2005, p.
362). While teachers may invest more time in the short-term, the effects of self-regulation will
pay off long-term.
Self-regulation involves the completion of logs for on-task behavior by the student. A
daily log is kept by the student to assess his ongoing behavior. A student can record a summary
of his afternoon or morning behavior on a weekly log. As the child becomes witness to the
amount of times he is veering off task, the hope is that he will self-correct his behavior.
―Cognitive behavior management is a valuable tool for helping students reach their academic and
social potentials by providing teachers with strategies and information on how to support student
needs‖ (Crum, 2004, p. 308).
Software has also been developed to help with self-regulation. A program called
―KidTools‖ promotes the use of self-regulation strategies among children with behavior
problems. Teachers have recognized the benefits of this type of software. According to Miller,
Fitzgerald, Koury, Mitchem, and Hollingsead (2007):
Most teachers who implemented strategies from the EPSS [Electronic Performance
Support Systems] reported positive changes in the behavior of their students (Miller et
Behavior Management 35
al., 2004). Teachers stated that using the software slowed the children down and helped
them think before acting‖ (p. 17).
Time-outs can be a valuable means of behavior modification if not used excessively.
Training should be given to teachers in regard to employing an effective time-out strategy. First,
teachers must provide an enriching classroom experience to keep the attention of the ADHD
student. By doing this, the child will believe that he is missing out when he is removed from
instruction. ―The combination of effective training in the effective use of time-out procedures
and an established policy on its use in classrooms will help ensure that time-outs are used safely
and effectively in reducing inappropriate behaviors‖( Ryan, Sanders, Katsiyannis, & Yell, 2007,
―Good communication with parents and psychological preparation are the most critical
keys to the success of substantial behavioral improvement among hyperactive children‖ (Chang,
Chang, & Shih, 2007, p. 147). The importance of parent involvement in the behavior of the
ADHD student cannot be underestimated. Teachers should reach out to parents to gain their
support. Parents should be encouraged to attend training sessions and cooperate with teachers in
attempting to reduce poor behaviors. Literature supports the theory that parent involvement is
crucial in reigning in the behavior of the ADHD child.
ADHD can be improved through proper use of medicine and the application of
psychological therapy. During the therapeutic process, the degree of cooperation between
teachers and parents determines the degree of improvement to the children’s problematic
behaviors (Connor, 2002). (Chang et al., 2007, p. 148)
Working hand in hand with the parent will serve to strengthen relations and improve cooperation
between the parent and the child’s behavior at school.
Behavior Management 36
Selected Solutions/Calendar Plan
To improve the teacher’s ability to manage the students with and without ADHD in the
classroom, the teachers will attend a training class at the local community college focused on
implementing behavioral interventions with children in elementary school. The training is a 40-
hour course taken in the evenings for a four week period.
The first step is educating the teachers about how to identify students with ADHD. The
beginning of the training course will focus on identifying symptoms. The symptoms of ADHD
can be broken down into three categories; inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity. The Center
for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC, n.d.) gives the following information regarding
Six or more of the following symptoms of inattention have been present for at least 6
months to a point that is disruptive and inappropriate for developmental level; often does
not give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in schoolwork, work, or
other activities; often has trouble keeping attention on tasks or play activities; often does
not seem to listen when spoken to directly; often does not follow instructions and fails to
finish schoolwork, chores, or duties in the workplace (not due to oppositional behavior or
failure to understand instructions); often has trouble organizing activities; often avoids,
dislikes, or does not want to do things that take a lot of mental effort for a long period of
time (such as schoolwork or homework); often loses things needed for tasks and activities
(e.g. toys, school assignments, pencils, books, or tools); is often easily distracted; is often
forgetful in daily activities. (para. 3)
The CDC (n.d.) lists the following as symptoms of hyperactivity:
Behavior Management 37
Often fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in seat; often gets up from seat when
remaining in seat is expected; often runs about or climbs; often has trouble playing or
enjoying leisure activities quietly; is often quot;on the goquot;; often talks excessively. (¶ 4)
According to the CDC (n.d.), a student having difficulty controlling impulsivity ―often
blurts out answers before questions have been finished; often has trouble waiting one's turn;
often interrupts or intrudes on others‖ (¶5).
After learning how to identify students with ADHD, the training will move onto teaching
behavior modification techniques and how to measure the student’s behavior. Techniques
involving setting limits, establishing clear consequences for actions, and using positive
reinforcement will be taught. The training will show teachers how to set up routine and structure
within the classroom. Since children with ADHD have shorter attention spans, teachers will be
taught how to break lessons down into smaller achievable tasks. According to Cook (2005):
Teachers can also assist children with ADHD by dividing their worksheets into sections
and reducing their amounts of homework. Math problems and written assignments
especially may prove extremely difficult and time-consuming for children with ADHD,
and reducing the quantity of these types of tasks is recommended. (p.8)
Teachers will be taught to identify the signs of target behaviors. Target behaviors are
behaviors which the teacher either wants to decrease or eliminate, such as not touching the other
students and keeping their hands to themselves. When the behaviors have been identified, the
teacher will talk with the student about the behavior and let them know a clear consequence,
such as time out, which has been a successful strategy in reducing undesirable behaviors.
When teachers encounter student problem behaviors that need to be decreased, they may
need to use behavior reduction procedures such as timeout….From a behaviorist
Behavior Management 38
perspective, timeout is defined as a behavior reduction procedure or form of punishment
in which students are denied access to all opportunities for reinforcement, contingent
upon their displaying inappropriate behavior (Alberto & Troutman, 2006). (Ryan,
Sanders, Katsiyannis, & Yell, 2007, p. 60)
The training will also teach how successfully to use a reward system for positive
behavior. Adding a reward such as praise or a sticker for positive behavior witnessed is one way
of implementing a reward system. ―Common techniques used with preadolescent children
include behavioral systems such as token economies, whereby desired behaviors (e.g., getting
ready for school on time) are rewarded with tangible tokens, such as stars, stickers, or poker
chips‖ (Evans, Schultz, & Sadler, 2008, p. 50). Being consistent with any form of behavior
modification techniques is important to be successful.
In closing the training class, the instructor will focus on instructing the teacher on how to
discuss the student’s behavior with his or her parents. The teachers will learn that when they
meet with the parents, they should discuss both the positive and the disruptive behavior the
student shows in the classroom. The techniques used in the classroom should be discussed with
the parents. An open discussion is necessary with the parent to set up the same techniques used
in the classroom to be used in the home environment. At the conference, strategies can be
discussed with the parents such as the use of a daily behavior report card (Evans et al., 2008).
On the daily report card, the student’s behavior will be rated by the teacher. Rewards and
privileges according to the teacher’s rating can be established by the parents. ―Given the need for
strong school-home communication, DBRC effectiveness can be limited if either parents or
teachers fail to implement the procedures and communicate with each other consistently‖ (Evans
Behavior Management 39
et al., p. 51). Being consistent with the techniques used in the classroom and at home will ensure
Training and support techniques will also be given to the teacher from the school
psychologist. The teachers will meet once a week for four weeks for one hour at a time. Prior to
the meeting, the teacher will fill out a form discussing behavior techniques they have previously
used in the classroom and specific skills they would like to see improved. Based on the needs of
the teacher after reviewing the form, the school psychologist will develop the scope of the
meeting. Some of the topics the school psychologist may discuss are how to establish classroom
rules and enforce them, how to organize the classroom, the use of timers, the type and amount of
work given, how to use positive reinforcement, how to use redirection and reprimands, how to
use time outs and how to use reinforcers. In follow-up meetings the teacher will discuss what
worked well in their classroom and what did not work well. The school psychologist will review
with the teacher areas which need improvement. He will also visit the teacher’s classrooms on a
regular basis to ascertain if overall behavior is improving or the teacher is in need of further
training and assistance. See Appendix D for a sample calendar.
Students with ADHD are sometimes unaware of the disruptions their behavior causes in
the classroom; therefore, self-management strategies with peer-mediated interventions will be
taught to the students. Self-management strategies assist students with ADHD to develop self-
evaluation skills which will aid them in building social skills needed throughout life
(Christensen, Young, and Marchant, 2004). According to Plumer (2007), using peers for
intervention has had a positive impact and demonstrates success in promoting social skills for
children with ADHD. Peer attention is more reinforcing than teacher attention to an ADHD
student. The peer-mediated interventions shift responsibility for behavior from teacher to
Behavior Management 40
student, enabling teachers to devote more time to teaching. Using peers is cost-effective since it
minimizes the amount of time a teacher needs to work with the ADHD student. Since teachers
are not always aware of a student’s behavior, using peers increases the possibility of intervening
at the point of the actual performance and it decreases the focus that ADHD students bring when
asking for assistance from adults for their problems (Plumer, 2007).
The first step in the intervention program is selecting peer partners from the class who
have a good attendance record, are average in academic performance, maintain positive
interactions with others, follow directions, and with whom the students are comfortable and trust.
The teachers will make the final selection because of the personal knowledge of the students.
The goal of the peer partner strategy is to decrease the amount of negative social interactions that
the ADHD student has throughout the day and to assist the student in reaching the weekly goal.
This will require the peer partner to spend as much time as possible with the ADHD student
which may not be acceptable to some parents. Permission to participate in the study will be
requested from the parents of all participants before implementation.
The second step of intervention involves training all participating students to self-
monitor, to identify alternative social skills, and to give reinforcement for positive and negative
behaviors (Christensen et al., 2004). Involving all students in the training will ensure everyone
knows how the process works and what is expected. The students will be trained outside of the
classroom by the school psychologist for one hour each day for a week. Peer partners will be
given instructions on what to say when the ADHD student is observed performing positive or
negative behavior. The students will be advised to meet the first thing in the morning to discuss
issues from the day before and to decide on a plan for the present day. During the training the
Behavior Management 41
students will be instructed to speak to the teacher anytime help is needed. Once the training is
completed the strategies will be implemented in the classroom.
The self-monitoring strategies will be used to train the students to supervise their own
behavior, effectively giving the teacher opportunities to instruct and work with other students.
The teachers and peer partners will be given a timer to signal time intervals (Christensen et al.,
2004). To begin with, the peer partner will receive a signal every 3 minutes to give the ADHD
student a sticker as a reward for positive behavior. If there was an incident of negative behavior
during the three minutes, a sticker will be removed immediately and the peer partner will start
the timer to begin the 3 minute interval again. In addition to having the sticker removed the
ADHD student will be given a form referred to as a ―think sheet‖ on which to write the negative
behavior performed and why (see Appendix E). At the end of the week the stickers will be
totaled and if 300 stickers or more have been received during the week the student will select a
prize from the treasure chest. If the teacher observed that the peer partners performed their duties
the partners will also receive a prize from the treasure chest as a reward.
Every 15 minutes the teacher will give feedback and praise to the ADHD student as a
form of reinforcement (Christensen et al., 2004). As a method of self-monitoring, if during the
15 minute intervals the student realizes he is not on task, the student will be trained to ask for
help. If help is needed, the student will raise his hand and the peer partner will respond by
answering the question or assisting with the task (Plumer, 2007). If no help is required, the
student will instruct himself to stay on task through self-talk. The student may take a break by
going to the restroom or water fountain to get a drink of water but must immediately return to the
Behavior Management 42
The teacher will meet with all students once a week to see how the process is working
and if any adjustments in efforts need to be made. The time intervals will be increased weekly if
the ADHD student is making progress. See Appendix F for a sample of the student schedule
The calendar plan will cover six weeks of training and the implementation of the peer
partner’s strategy. Training will involve one hour before school starts each morning for six
weeks, and an additional hour on Fridays after school for five weeks. The training will discuss
methods of behavior modification as well as the peer partner’s strategies.
On Monday, a letter of permission will be sent home to the parents of students selected as
peer partners as well as the student with ADHD (see Appendix G). Upon collection of the
permission slips, peer partners will be chosen on Friday of the first week.
Formal behavior modification training will begin for teachers. The training will be held
before school starts from 8:00 to 9:00 a.m. The teachers will also have the opportunity to spend
an hour each day with the school psychologist to make sure they are on the right track with the
strategies that they have learned.
During week two, the teachers will be trained to identify alternative social skills and how
to use both positive and negative reinforcement correctly. Expectations for peer partners will be
stressed during Tuesday’s training. Learning to use the timer correctly and at the proper intervals
will be the focus of Wednesday’s meeting. On Thursday, training for an appraisal system will be
held. Friday will close the training with discussion between the faculty and training staff. An
opportunity for questions and answers will also be given.
Behavior Management 43
Behavior modification training during week three will focus on time-out and how proper
usage of time-out can improve behavior.
Monday of week three provides the commencement for the peer partners to begin their
work together. On each of the following days, the peer partners will meet in the morning to
discuss the previous day’s behavior and ways that it might be improved. The behavior will have
been monitored at three-minute intervals, where a sticker is given for positive behavior or taken
for negative behavior. Teachers will provide feedback and praise every 15 minutes. Think sheets
will be sent home each night which allows the children to address problems with negative
behavior in a note to their parents. On Friday afternoon, the teacher will meet with each child
who has 300 stickers and allow them to select a prize for good behavior.
During week four, teachers will be trained in stimulant medication which can be
prescribed for ADHD students and how the medication can affect student behavior. The training
will also focus on the benefits that the combination of behavioral techniques and stimulant
The peer partner process will continue as in week three with peer partners meeting each
morning to discuss previous day’s behavior, think sheets continuing to be filled out, and teachers
giving feedback. As each week progresses, the teacher will also begin to assess student behavior
to see if intervals can be adjusted and the students can go longer intervals before reinforcement
occurs. The teacher will continue to meet with the students at the end of each week who have
achieved set goals for good behavior and allow them to choose a prize as their reward.
Behavior Management 44
In week five, the focus of training will be on self-monitoring and how the use of such
strategies can move the ADHD child towards independence. The peer partner process will
continue through weeks five and six as will the teacher’s assessment of student behavior.
Finally, in week six, the teachers will be given instruction in how to talk to parents with
children of ADHD and strategies that will help the parent and teacher become a unified force in
the child’s academic life.
Behavior Management 45
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Comparison of Average Number of Disruptions Logged in Per
Day between Class A and Control Class
Number of Daily Disruptions Logged
Class A Control Class
Comparison of Grade Point Average (GPA)
Between Class A and Control Class
2.8 2.8 2.8
1.8 1.85 1.65
0.5 Control Class
Behavior Management 52
Comparison of Class A's Grade Point Average (GPA)
Between 2nd and 3rd Grade
3.5 3.05 3.05 2.95 2.85
2.5 2.1 2
Class A 2nd Grade
Class A 3rd Grade