As an adult who has managed ADD/ADHD without any medication since 13 years old, I usually have an enormous amount of patience with students with short attention spans. I can relate to feeling overwhelmed by having to process an abundance of information; however, I know that an active mind can be harnessed once a student learns to filter information and comprehend each step in the learning process. Through my experience, I notice that whether diagnosed with ADD/ADHD or not, most students lose interest in long lectures that require them to just listen or watch someone else. With this in mind, I prefer to first show my students how to work through their subject/problem, and then I allow them to work/interact while I walk them through.
My experience with teaching came shortly after obtaining my Bachelor of Architecture degree and before entering into my profession. Immediately after college I relocated to the island of Bermuda, where I was a long-term substitute teacher at the middle school level. With college curriculum still fresh on my mind, I was able to teach a handful of subjects such as IT/Computer Studies, Art, English, Spanish, Math, Science and Physical Education. Thereafter I moved into my profession and, once I grasped the process of how things worked myself, I was the individual responsible for training incoming Interns and 'shadow students'. When projects slowed down and a shift in profession was necessary, I found my transition back into teaching to be familiar grounds. This time around, I teetered between teaching classes and acting as a paraprofessional, personal tutor for 1-3 students requiring learning support.
Overall, my method of teaching any student is in an approachable manner. When presenting any subject I try to make references to everyday examples in the student's life that the subject material can be seen or related to. With this approach, I find that I'm less likely to lose my student's attention/understanding because they have some familiarity with what's being discussed. I usually try to keep lectures short; however, I love to be thorough and address every detail; the two together usually keep my lessons balanced... Please notice that I said "usually".
I first begin lessons by assessing my student's level of understanding in order to pinpoint any delicate areas. I prefer to use a step by step method when teaching/learning for my students because this reveals at what point comprehension is efficient versus deficient. Thereafter I address the point(s) of deficiency and move through the subject material at the student's pace. I give either the same example or multiple examples, until my student has the confidence to approach the material without my input. The repetition strengthens the weak points and reinforces the strong points. I usually oversee my student's progress as they're working through each problem/assignment to ensure that they understand what they're doing, and that they reached the proper resolution/answer using the correct process. If there be a case where there are multiple ways to find a resolution/answer, then I usually explain the multiple approaches and ask the student what they are most comfortable/confident with. If I sense that the student is confused by different methods, then I will likely continue with what is familiar to them.
The quirky 'trainee architect/artist' in me sometimes relies on jazzy jingles, patterns or sketches to commit things to memory. I'm aware of the three main learning styles (Auditory, Visual and Kinesthetic), so if any student requires an unorthodox/creative approach to learning, then I can cater to that also. But I must be honest and say that I cannot free-style rap; however, I can write a decent poem/jingle or draw a picture to make lessons interesting and memorable.
In closing, I love learning... which leads to my love for teaching... but most of all, I absolutely love seeing the moment when a student truly grasps what it is that they're learning, and watching their anxiety about the subject turn into comfort with it.
Knowledge is power! Education is key!
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