Student Behavior

03 November 2021
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Key Indicators

What are some of the most common key indicators of suboptimal brain function in the classroom?

  • Difficulty focusing
  • Hard to sit still and/or fidgeting
  • Dysregulated emotions

Why do some students move around more than others?

The answer is simply that they’re not moving around enough. If we go a little deeper, it is evident that the issue starts in the vestibular (balance) system. Students are going into school with bodies that are unprepared to learn. Stay with us here! The development of a strong balance system requires movement, in all directions, for hours at a time. The issue is that children nowadays have very restricted movement, due to a host of reasons, one of which is too much screen time. And so, on the carpet at reading time, it is next to impossible for them to sit still because their bodies need movement! Movement turns the brain on, so what’s happening if a student doesn’t get enough movement? Learning loss.

What is the solution?

Movement! Incorporate more movement exercises into the classroom, especially balancing movements. For example, have students balance on their left leg for as long as they can, then on their right leg. If this is too easy, have them close their eyes. If they notice it is harder to balance on one leg compared to the other, have them practice on that leg more.

Learning Disabilities

How can students with ADHD be supported better?

  • Positive feedback
  • Provide movement breaks
  • Seat students with ADHD away from windows and the door to reduce distractions. Seat them by the teacher’s desk.
  • Modify teaching practices (e.g., split bigger projects into sections & assign a deadline for each section; do the most difficult work early in the school day).
  • Help improve the student’s executive functioning using brain activation exercises.

Learn more about ADHD in this article.

What is happening in the brain of a student with ADHD?

Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is classified as a neurodevelopmental disorder as research has found differences in the brains of individuals with ADHD and those without it. These differences are in both structural and functional connectivity. According to one review, the most consistent abnormalities seen have been in areas of the basal ganglia, prefrontal cortex (PFC), and corpus callosum. The basal ganglia mainly play a role in movement control, but are also involved in executive functioning and emotions. Executive functions are complex and higher-level skills such as planning, inhibition, and decision-making. The PFC is also responsible for executive functioning. The corpus callosum refers to the bundle of fibers connecting the left and right halves of the brain, thereby allowing the two to communicate with each other. Research on the brain of individuals with ADHD has also found a reduction in the volume of the whole brain and the grey matter compared to the brains of typically-developing individuals. Grey matter comprises all parts of a neuron except the axon.

Source 1: Albajara Sáenz, A., Villemonteix, T., & Massat, I. (2019). Structural and functional neuroimaging in attention‐deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology, 61(4), 399-405.

Source 2: Konrad, K., & Eickhoff, S. B. (2010). Is the ADHD brain wired differently? A review on structural and functional connectivity in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Human Brain Mapping, 31(6), 904-916.

emotional stability, how to learn better, how to increase focus

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